Friday, June 25, 2010

Socialist Production: The Concept of the Corporation Chapter 2

Here is the question. Are there forms of production that are capitalist and other forms that are socialist? The answer is probably yes, if you look at the national economic scale.

Does the answer to that question change if you look within a company? In particular, can certain products be only manufactured only by a process that must be considered socialist? Must automobiles be a capitalist product? How about computers? How about software?

Here is the real issue. If decentralization represents modern free enterprise, are there some products that require such a tightly managed, step by step production process that they cannot be produced by a decentralized organization? Is our commitment to free enterprise measured by the amount of parallelism in our production processes?

This probably a moot point but it does suggest one of the boundaries between engineering and political economy, between Taylor and Drucker. “The importance of the question whether decentralization is absolutely more efficient than centralization does not lie, primarily, in its application to business management,” Drucker concludes. “It is actually the question whether a socialist economy can be as efficient economically as a free-enterprise economy.” (p122)

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