The author is QUB Political Science Hons graduate and has written extensively on the conflict in Ireland.
A Command Economy
TJ O'Connor's 'Introduction To A Command Economy' pamphlet is a well presented and educational introduction to central planning and Marxist economics. The author successfully manages to present the fairly dry discipline of Marxist economics in a manner that is readable and understandable to the non-academic. TJ O'Connor is prominent in the USA in the Connollyite left-wing Irish liberation tradition.
The Command Economy's introduction section gives an overview of the benefits of a planned economy:
"A central planner can achieve an economy that is more efficient, more just and with faster growth than the free market with the correct information and computation"
Without going into the various competing interpretations and internecine sub-views of the Soviet system within wider Marxism-Leninism, the author simplifies the subject for the reader by pointing out that that the Command Economy has been the only real alternative to the Capitalist economic system:
"An important and defining feature of the USSR that has often been neglected in favour of political critiques and sectarian point-scoring, is the command economy that it operated on. This remains the only alternative economic model to the market to be practiced on a large-scale and for much of its history was remarkably effective"
The Benefits of The Planned Economy
TJ O'Connor in the third section of 'The Planned Economy' accurately specifies examples of a state-controlled economy's multiple benefits using the Cuban, the Peoples Republic of China, and the former USSR. Included in this section is a quote from Che Guevara's speech to the Inter-American Economic and Social Council in 1961. Guevara outlined the immediate benefits from the nationalization of the economy as the starting point in building a Socialist society in Cuba, where previously it had been the international brothel of imperialism:
"In all these areas we carried out a revolution, and we also carried out a true revolution in education, culture, and health care. This year illiteracy will be eliminated in Cuba."
Quite clearly, the command economy addresses human need in a way that would be impossible in a free market economy. In essence, the command economy utilizing the current advances in technology has more chance of succeeding now than previously.
The Command Economy Will Succeed in The Future
One needs only look to the socialist Peoples Republic of China which now has the most dynamic and largest economy on the planet.
TJ O'Connor's final section in The Planned Economy acknowledges the limitations of previous attempts at implementing a Socialist economy in the likes of the USSR where circumstances beyond their control frustrated their success. The stark choices faced by the USSR following the unsuccessful Socialist revolutions elsewhere, the zero option of 'Socialism in one country', and the massive economic leap that the fledgling Socialist state had to make from Feudalism are explored. The author makes the final point that a planned economy in this era, harnessing all the resources of previous Capitalist production can and will succeed.
The Planned Economy by TJ O'Connor is available to read in its entirety on Google Documents and is an excellent and educational introduction to the dynamics of Socialist economics.
The Workings Of The Command Economy Under Constant Attack from Without
The author then analyses the workings of the command economy and its flaws, notably inadequate politicization and information. Concrete examples of logistical flaws in the production of commodities within the Soviet system and how they, therefore, had great difficulties attempting to develop high tech industries, are given in a highly readable, understandable manner. With examples of central planning difficulties that effected both Cuba and the USSR:
"The biggest failure of the command economy has been in farming. Even after largely phasing out small peasant plots, and collectivizing much of Soviet agriculture, the economy continued to depend on those small private plots for much of the country's food. This was partly because of the ham-handed and crude way collectivization was implemented from above, also because the peasants who were the most successful tended to often (but not always, of course) resist collectivization, and also because the infrastructure to deliver goods to market often lagged behind.."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Liam A Ryan