More modern approach with more success is mechanism design (reverse game theory). Design games that yield results even when you know very little about the players.
The Nobel Prize: What is mechanism design and why does it matter for policy-making? https://voxeu.org/article/nobel-prize-what-mechanism-design-...
>Mechanism design theory is a major breakthrough in the modern economic analysis of institutions and markets. It revolutionalised the way economists think about optimal institutions and regulation when governments don't “know it all.” It has had a major impact on current policy-making and will continue to do so in the future.
No, but the Weapons Director Console incorporated an ashtray and cigarette lighter on the left side.
> In fact, factory managers ended up routing around the central command center and teletype process by calling up other factory managers and working out potential supply issues.
That's by design. The idea was to run the whole economy like what we'd call agile now. Horizontal communication was a huge part in contrast to the Soviet socialist experiments and the central control was more about figuring out cross unit issues sort of like a Scrum of Scrums.
It was exactly that embracing of horizontal communication in a socialist economy that had the CIA scared. Their own communications talked about not being able to tolerate a "successful socialist experiment".
Also a big problem with a system like this, in the 20th century socialist states, is that the input data would have been complete bullshit. That was one of the issues the soviet gosplan ran up against during the final days. Everyone was lying about their production numbers so the data was useless, whether in a fancy computer system or not.
IMO so much of the positives can be attributed to the CIA stopping their policy of "make their economy scream".
Morales cut ties in response to Israeli actions in Gaza, cutting Israel off from Bolivia's lithium deposits. And now one of the first things the new government has done is reestablish ties, even before getting a lot of their interim government together.
Yes, a coup, a dictatorship and tens of thousands tortured and executed, haha.
The whole TFA screams of facile dismissal and cheap comic shots (people smoked on airplanes at the times and well into the 80s even in the US, so there is nothing to strike as funny about having ashtrays on the chairs in everybody that wasn't born yesterday and only remembers a world after the smoking ban/decline).
Yes, it was just a fancy control room inspired by sci-fi and wanting to look futuristic, no, they didn't think they were running the Enterprise.
And their failures were more largely attributed to foreign influence, blatant sabotage and sponsored subversion, and diplomatic pressure, than their economics approach or the design of the room. They might have failed economically too, but not for being communist. They were just more socialist than it was acceptable / allowed for a Banana Republic in Latin America at the time (or now). Similar measures in sovereign countries in Europe wouldn't bat an eye...
On the flip side, I'm not sure how much I agree with its premise and conclusion. Sure, it's easy to mock technocommunism historically if you ignore the elephant in the room that is China. While not in the same category as old Soviet and LatAm attempts, all of the quaintly endearing anachronism fades away. What is to be made of China with respect to such a perspective?
China has destroyed some of their environment, trading off building up industry for pollution. This also happened in former Soviet countries.
So just like the west with stagnant wages and pension systems in free fall, while healthcare, education, housing, student debt, etc rises?
When you live in a country where any negative expression will get you killed, arrested, etc. You quickly only hear the positive voices.
The Chinese were made poor by the Communist party and only rescued by moving away from the doctrine to something else.
The air pollution currently in China is pretty bad, but air pollution goes away pretty quickly after you turn off the coal plants, and oversized promises to pensioners seems like a pretty easy obligation to amend when you have total control over the state.
If making good on pension promises was easy, the CCP would have done it by now.
While I know we’re treading into “No True Scotsman” territory here, I don’t think it’s controversial (not the least among historians) to say from the Deng era on, the Chinese communist project was supplanted and replaced with a State
But I don’t think they really believe their bullshit, I’m sure they’re 100% aware TINA is just rhetorical crap used to push their divestiture of the commons
Pretty presumptuous, considering how it was never really put into practice before Allende was murdered and Pinochet's brutal regime was installed by the CIA.
Reminds me of a quote:
“The boys of Capital, they also chortle in their martinis about the death of socialism. The word has been banned from polite conversation. And they hope that no one will notice that every socialist experiment of any significance in the twentieth century – without exception – has either been crushed, overthrown, or invaded, or corrupted, perverted, subverted, or destabilized, or otherwise had life made impossible for it, by the United States. Not one socialist government or movement – from the Russian Revolution to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, from Communist China to the FMLN in Salvador – not one was permitted to rise or fall solely on its own merits; not one was left secure enough to drop its guard against the all-powerful enemy abroad and freely and fully relax control at home.
It’s as if the Wright brothers’ first experiments with flying machines all failed because the automobile interests sabotaged each test flight. And then the good and god-fearing folk of the world looked upon this, took notice of the consequences, nodded their collective heads wisely, and intoned solemnly:
Man shall never fly.” – William Blum
One day some Spanish anarchists built a functioning helicopter. Upon seeing it fly, the Wright brothers immediately teamed up with the auto industry and shot up everyone in the testing facility. Then the Wright brothers intoned:
Not invented here.
That was found crossed out in one of William Blum's manuscripts with these words written in red ink: "too inside baseball."
I didn't state it was.
My answer is for popular conspiracy theory about CIA as the main reason for socialism's failures.
Nevertheless, "promise of Latin American" is a little bit too rosy description for the gov't which ended with hyperinflation through printing money.
Much of the armed forces and the civilian populace hated Allende and his policies. Pinochet was an opportunist who jumped on the bandwagon when it was already in motion. The CIA had it easy. In South Vietnam, under more adverse conditions, the CIA failed miserably.
No, actually, he was quite popular:
>Between 1970 and 1973, the Unidad Popular (Popular Unity)—the coalition of parties backing Allende—actually increased its vote, a growing popularity which in itself casts some doubt on the widely spread tales of economic disaster wrought by the government. In the last significant election, a fierce electoral battle for Congress in March 1973, the Unidad Popular increased its share of the vote to 44 percent. The rest of the vote was split among the several other parties, which at that time functioned freely and openly in the Chilean tradition. The 800,000 who greeted the President on September 4 constituted nearly one-tenth of the national population, the largest political rally ever held in Chile.
It was the upper classes that hated him, the people who had been getting fat off the people for the past several decades and stood the most to lose from his presidency.
And it's a lot easier for your propaganda to take when your troops aren't committing massacres in the country like in Vietnam.
Pretty clear what your views are.
this is some real mask-off shit.
China tried centrally planned economy. It resulted in tens of millions of death in the great famines of the 50s and 60s.
Planned economy where a strong state and a market economy coexist, on the other hand, is a model that had success in many places. Not only China, but post-war France or South Korea had state plans but also economic freedoms.
My opinion is that there was absolutely no way in the 70s and probably just the glimpse of a chance nowadays to have the processing power and the amount of information to manage all the details of a national economy.
The emergent markets take care of all the information that can't be in the supercomputer of the central planning: that Bob's potatoes are tastier than Alice's. That Charles is more serious in his plumbing work than Yoshiko. You absolutely need an emergent system at that level.
It is true, however, that on a national scale emergent systems can have bad behaviors. It all hinges on individual, local decisions. A policy can't really emerge. That's where you have a state to step in.
South Korea, for instance, decided that it needed a steel industry, because it wanted to make warships. Market forces thought it made no sense to make steelworks so the government forced it.
France decided to go nuclear on public funds because it anticipated the Algerian oil would become harder to get for geological and political reasons, but the market thought oil was cheap enough!
And China is interesting today. I wish we looked further than its (obvious) authoritarianism and were able to look critically at its economic system. It is an oddity as it proposes a solution to blend communism and capitalism.
In capitalism, the idea is that you can get dividends from your investments in a company and that you can buy and sell shares. That's 100% possible in China. In communism, the idea is that the means of production belong to the people. And, in China, the end owner of most big companies and of the biggest holding structures in the country is the state. Now to call it successful communist you have to believe that the Chinese government is representative of the will of the people, which I do not. But I also think that the system they implemented would world equally well if China was a democracy.
Really, we need to consider the Chinese economic system separately from its political system. Use capitalism for the local day-to-day individual decisions and state-planned economy for the long-term global strategies. The invisible hand won't handle an energy transition or plan for a 20 year overhaul of the electric grid.
This means that cybernetics (the study of "circular loops in causation") is the minimum formalism for economics.
Consciousness was referenced above. One thing commonly associated with consciousness, at least in humans, is a theory of mind. We model the actors all around us on the assumption that they each have their own mind, and that by modeling their mind we can predict their actions and intentions given enough situational context.
Mind you, theory of mind might not be a prerequisite for consciousness and maybe it's even possible to have theory of mind without consciousness, but the point is that machines acting in environments that are affected by other actors are going to develop models for those actors naturally as they're pushed to become more proficient in their role. Keep pushing them to become more proficient at anything involving multiple actors and it's plausible that the machine's model for a given actor will itself contain predictions for that actor's models of the other actors -- i.e. self-referential models. That Go AI could probably predict the opponent's action multiple turns down the road, which includes predicting its own response to each move, for example.
I think the more significant difference between modeling a Go opponent and modeling an economy is not self-referential models, but probably just the number and depth of connections. In the progression of training machines to play games, we've gotten good at single-player games like Mario, then two-player games like Chess or Go, and now some work is going into multiplayer games like Starcraft. Each of these represents a slightly "larger" closed environment.
Contrast this to a frictionless economy, where each actor's actions have sweeping effects across the globe. Usually tiny effects, but they reach far through the interconnections. Unlike these games, the approach of starting by modeling a small, closed economy and then scaling that up to larger economies isn't nearly as feasible. There really aren't any "independent" economies today to study. The best you could do is point to a mostly-isolated state like North Korea, but even that's a huge thing to model on its own and the data for doing that isn't accessible. I think the bigger issue with modeling economies isn't the self-referential models -- those are relevant in other areas that machines are already becoming proficient at -- but the scale and the fact that any on-ramp to help deal with that scale incrementally is not obvious.
> I don't see that these self-referential models are so exclusive to modeling economics.
Each of the OP's examples are non-adversarial.
> reach consciousness with computers, go to Mars, design our genes, achieve immortality, colonize the universe, find the "god's particle",
There's no opponent (according to modern scientific rational materialism) in any of those endeavors.
If you were to develop a working model of economics it would behoove your opponents to alter their behavior in ways that invalidated your model.
We can and do model the economy regularly. Financial corporations don't hire all of those highly paid analysts for laughs.
Building a model always involves decisions about what approximations you make, what entities you consider, and so forth. There’s a lot of flexibility when you build your model.
As a result, the recommendations of the model tend to match the biases of the people making the model; and if they don’t, they’ll keep trying til they do. Left wing economists wind up building models that recommend left wing policies, while right-wing economists build models that recommend right-wing policies, and we are none the wiser.
But I don't get what the example you give has to do with making socialism (worker control of corporations) more workable. The major problems of socialism have always seemed to be 2:
1 - how to transition from current society to a socialist one without violent revolution, which usually ends in dictatorships, instead of the radical democracy of socialism.
2 - how to maintain a socialist project in a capitalist world usually focused on destroying it, often with military power.
I don't see how a wonder robot would help with either of these problems. Or, I'm wondering what do you mean by socialism and what problems do you perceive that version of socialism to have that could be fixed by a UBI robot?
And modern socialism (whether what the US calls as such in the nordic countries or France, or what they have in China) is also a whole lotta of capitalism, so there's that too.
For example,when only 300k/yr physicians can give you access to medicine, it's not capitalism.
That's not socialism; the robots are not collectively owned. Each household owns its own.
"This time will be different" crowd hadn't been compelling. Human nature hadn't changed.
The democracy I'm talking about is inside corporations. Corporations in capitalism are extremely autocratic entities, while in socialism they would be democratically organized. Worker-owned enterprises would still compete on the free market.
This is actually rather similar to the form of democracy we have in our governing system, where you get to choose between two bundles of policies you do not like, and i'd say we need to make our governing democracy more similar to our economic democracy instead!
An extension where the more money you have, the more influence you get.
Unless it's 1 person, 1 vote, it's not democracy.
Let's say every person has one vote And there are thousands and thousands of elections going on every day. Most of the people are not interested in most of elections, so they ignore elections because it is not possible to follow everything. Which means we end up with 1 person 0 votes most of the time. Now to improve the situation we can agree to collaborate i'll vote the way you want for the issue you care and you'll help me in return. Money is simply a way to make this kind of collaboration easier. Saying that any kind of cooperation should be banned doesn't help anyone, and leads to a stalemate in the case when there are many issues to vote on. In fact if our governments were real democracies where votes could decide real policies instead of picking someone who is going to lie for the next 4 years, we would have a system very similar to money to help us to deal with the large amount of issues to vote on.
The first half is pretty much uncontroversial, and would work under capitalism too. The problematic part is the second half which resets the board, giving the same voting power to qualified and unqualified worker, and removing the incentive to work well.
Would the system you describe be the same as capitalism, with the exception that workers are prohibited from selling their voting rights to anyone else?
There is one major difference from capitalism though, that would have broad repercussions: workers do not get paid a wage, they directly get the profits of the company (not in equal amounts, but by some democratically voted scheme specific to each company). This would lead to vastly more equality in society. It world probably also have a huge impact on international economic relations.
There are many forms of socialism, but what in describing is one of the oldest, and it is the one preferred by Noam Chomsky, the most influential leftist thinker in the world.
Of course the downside of the alternative was that it allowed for a centralizing of power in generals. Proto-generalismo problems ensue.
Which I believe highlights the irony of "equality" and "accessibility" being in opposition. Effectively the fetishized "means of production tied to labor" means by implication everyone is required to own all of their capital for production. Otherwise they cannot start. There are more barriers to entry and the lowest are even more disenfranchised. That is before the organizational logistical problems of supply chains and industrialization let alone what comes after it. It brings to mind the old form letter joke about "your proposed solution for spam won't work".
I don't oppose trying to find a better system, and laud attempts but that doesn't seem workable.
In the kind of socialist society I describe, you would win a livelihood by either finding a co-op which values your skills, or by trying to start your own co-op, probably by borrowing money together with others from some institution similar to a bank. Everyone participating in the co-op you helped start would probably take on not just the profits, but also some amount of liability for the loan.
Now, this change alone would greatly reduce the concentration of wealth, and so, hopefully, may free enough money to avoid the need for everyone to find a place to work or die of starvation. Still, even if that doesn't directly happen, the same mechanisms that apply today would still apply - a state-funded safety net, anti-discrimination laws, state programs encouraging employment of unemployed workers, education programs etc. I don't see why the bar to finding a place to work would be any higher if companies were owned by their workers instead of being owned by capitalists.
Thinking about this logically though, the only kind of contract that it might help to ban would be selling your labor for money, similarly to how we don't allow you to sell your person (indenturement/slavery) or sexual favors (prostitution) today. This would probably include such contracts between companies as well, encouraging actual exchange of goods and services instead of direct outsourcing.
Still, even these types of contracts wouldn't have to be necessarily banned, it may be enough in principle to encourage Worker-owned enterprises, and protect them from hostile actions against them by other corporations. Of course, how we would get from where we are today to the state where most corporations are owned by their workers is the most difficult question, and capitalists will not go down without at least a political fight.
> similarly to how we don't allow you to sell your person (indenturement/slavery)
I rather like how libertarianism deals with this kind of contracts, it allows to sign any contract, but doesn't allow the buyer to apply aggressive force, to enforce the contract when seller changes his mind, that way the contract naturally changes from slavery to employment agreement.
> protect them from hostile actions against them by other corporations
Are there any hostile actions from which only some people deserve to be protected?
> capitalists will not go down without at least a political fight
i am not a capitalist, but i will side with them because knowing history of my country i can see that everything good i have is in large part thanks to them, and it's better to work with them to bring everyone up, instead of trying to bring them down.
> that way the contract naturally changes from slavery to employment agreement.
Pure Libertarianism is at least as much an idealistic system as socialism is. I don't think these kinds of clever tricks and relying entirely on markets can produce the desired outcomes, at least not as efficiently as regulations can. Examples in history of the standards many businesses held even for things such as food and medicine before explicit regulations and inspections were mandated would seem to agree with me.
>Are there any hostile actions from which only some people deserve to be protected?
No, and I wasn't suggesting there should be. Worker-owned co-ops would not even have the power to attack capitalist corporations, but the reverse would definitely happen. Big corporations try to destroy any competition they have by default, and they would certainly focus their efforts against a competitor controlled by a lower class.
> and it's better to work with them to bring everyone up, instead of trying to bring them down.
Capitalism by definition seeks to bring investors up, and no more than that. Any raising of the rest of the population is entirely accidental, and sometimes explicitly discouraged (for example, no capitalists would like to see growing prosperity among Chinese factory workers, since it would directly eat into their profits).
Do note that European/US-style capitalism is definitely preferrable to USSR or Chinese style planned, centralized state capitalism, and even that is in turn preferrable to serfdom or slavery-based economies.
Also, please keep ideological flamebait like "whoever circle jerks neoliberal ideas the best" far away from this site, regardless of which ideologies you support or abhor.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21675764.
Arguing that the Nobel Prize award process is fundamentally flawed and biased in favor of the mainstream might be valid (I don't have the knowledge to know the answer), but it's not what the comment I replied to was doing.
Naw, IMO the reputability of a prize owes to whole lot more than just shared selection principles. I was just linking to some work in which others question the reputation of the prize as well.
> The Committee members are elected for a period of three years from among the members of the Academy. In assessing the qualifications of the candidates, the Committee is assisted by specially appointed expert advisers
ie. the committee makes election decisions for themselves, while delegating a bit to advisers that they appoint.
In most of the other fields, this is what you want. A physics group shouldn't have to agree with the literature members wrt who is on the physics committee. This breaks down for economics though because the whole prize was originally envisioned as a propaganda campaign for a specific branch of economics, so the process means it stays that way.
Looks like different people to me.