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Dobb, M. (1966). Recent economic changes in socialist countries. In Theory of Profit in Socialist Economy (pp. 37–56). New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.  
Added by: Dominique Meeùs 2012-08-04 10:52:29 Pop. 0%
      A numerical illustration of increased complexity is that when the Central Statistical Administration in 1959 drew up what is called an input-output matrix (or table) for main products, this covered 65 industrial sectors or branches and nearly 200 products ; but the official industrial nomenclature list of 1960 contained as many as 15,000 product groups. The “system of balances” [1] (which is crucial to planning methodology) operated before the war with some 400 to 500 items and today with something in the neighbourhood of 1,500 — and even these cover less than half of all output in value. This number of balances could scarcely be calculated and re-calculated in the time available without the aid of electronic computers. Similarly in Poland the number of products included in the system of balances is between 400 and 600. In the pre-war dozen years alone about 9,000 new large-scale Soviet industrial enterprises were put into operation. In the single year 1963 more than a thousand new large-scale industrial enterprises entered upon activity ; and in total the Soviet Union today has more than 200,000 State enterprises. In a country like Czechoslovakia the number of centrally approved planning targets by 1953 (though they were reduced later) had reached a total of 2,251, and the number of centrally allocated goods as many as 974. It is said to produce today all-told a million and a half types of output !

[1] A “balance” for a product consists of all the uses for it listed on the one side, and all the sources of supply of it on the other. Thus it can be thought of as an equation of supply and demand. Whenever a plan target is altered, all the relevant balances have to be recalculated and supplies or uses readjusted to secure a new “fit”. The repercussions of an initial change may be very extensive ; but the time-factor usually limits the area over which recalculation is possible.
Edelman, G. M., & Tononi, G. (2000). Comment la matière devient conscience J.-L. Fidel, Trans. Paris: Éditions Odile Jacob.  
Last edited by: Dominique Meeùs 2016-05-30 19:22:45 Pop. 0%
      Des études par enregistrement ont aussi démontré que l’activité de nombreux neurones des canaux sensoriels et moteurs peut être corrélée avec certains détails qui changent vite dans des informations sensorielles entrantes ou des informations motrices sortantes, mais qu’elle ne semble pas recouvrir une expérience consciente. Par exemple, les structures d’activité neuronale de la rétine et d’autres structures visuelles primaires sont prises dans un flux permanent et correspondent plus ou moins fidèlement aux détails temporels et spatiaux des informations visuelles entrantes, lesquelles changent sans cesse. Cependant, une scène visuelle consciente est nettement plus stable et elle a à voir avec des propriétés des objets qui sont invariantes quand la position ou l’illumination changent, propriétés qu’on reconnaît et manipule facilement. Par exemple, lorsque nous voyons un colibri battre des ailes, nous pouvons le reconnaître et le percevoir, qu’il se détache sur un fond de ciel ensoleillé ou de feuillage, qu’il soit loin ou proche, qu’il s’approche ou s’éloigne de nous. Surtout, la plupart des données montrent que, pendant chaque fixation visuelle, nous extrayons le sens ou l’essentiel d’une scène, plutôt que ses détails locaux innombrables et qui changent rapidement. Nous ne pouvons sûrement pas décrire la position précise de ses ailes pendant le vol de l’oiseau. En fait, nous sommes étonnamment aveugles aux variations ou inconscients des changements considérables qui affectent une scène visuelle pour autant que son sens ou son essence ne sont pas touchés. Lorsque nous lisons un texte, par exemple, nous ne prenons en général pas en compte la typographie à moins qu’elle ne nous semble exotique ou que la reconnaître réponde à un but précis. Les aspects les plus invariants d’une scène sont ceux qui apparaissent réellement importants et informatifs sur elle, et qui peuvent aider au contrôle et à la planification de l’action.
Liberman, E. G. (1971). Economic methods and the effectiveness of production A. Schultz & L. J. Kirsch, Trans. White Plains (N. Y.): International Arts and Sciences Press, inc.  
Last edited by: Dominique Meeùs 2012-02-21 14:39:50 Pop. 0%
      The economic reform in the USSR has confirmed the essential role of commodity-monetary relations in the system of planned economic management. On this basis, a more detailed examination should be made of a number of questions of principle and methods concerning the most effective means of using commodity-monetary relations in our economic practice.
     The historically determined level of development of socialist production and of the social nature of labor gives rise to the necessity of comparing the labor of every worker and every collective against the results of their labor. The value form of such comparison is due to the fact that the socioeconomic heterogeneity of labor has still not been completely surmounted. There is complex and simple labor, mental and physical labor, skilled and unskilled labor. The expenditures of labor of individual workers and collectives of workers may be higher or lower than the socially necessary expenditures of labor on a given type of use value.
     Since the measure of labor must be controlled, when activity in the form of the product of labor is exchanged, the need arises to observe equivalence and to equate the products of labor. The products of labor can be compared and exchanged by equating them to a third, particular product of labor — to money, the universal commodity equivalent.
     Soviet scholars differ in their explanations of the reasons underlying the existence of commodity-monetary relations in socialist society. Thus, some of them claim that the basic reason is the social heterogeneity of labor, while others believe the cause to lie in the necessity for offering material incentives for labor. In our opinion, these viewpoints are not contradictory. Material work incentives are necessary since it is essential to compare the measure of consumption against the measure of labor, and this in turn is connected with the social heterogeneity of labor.
     Similarly, debates as to whether socialist production can or cannot be called “planned commodity production” or only “production in which commodity-monetary relations are used” seem relatively fruitless. Since the specific point at issue is the planned production of goods and services, it is clear that spontaneous, market-type commodity production is not involved. Planned patterns [planomernost] are evidence of the directly social nature of production. The economic relations of people are not concealed by an imaginary mask of relationships between things, and hence commodity fetishism is overcome. Exchange value does not play the role of universal or sole regulator of proportions in the distribution of social labor. Therefore, the commodity nature is not a constituent feature in socialist production, but it is nevertheless an integral feature together with other essential characteristics.
     Highly developed socialist production is based on the profound social and technological division of labor. Specialization and cooperation are a guarantee of the transition to the highest forms of automated production. The division of labor means the organization of production in the form of numerous branches and enterprises. Since the means of production are owned by all the people, production in the USSR is unified, and hence it would be inconceivable to manage the economy without a single nationwide plan.
     But at the same time, our production system is being divided up into a number of operationally autonomous enterprises. It is impossible to monitor and compare expenditures on production against the results of production solely by calculating the labor of each individual employed. The output of modern production is not only the fruit of the efforts of individual workers but, in larger measure, the result of the efforts of the collective worker. It is also necessary to use value levers and such a special economic category as cost-accounting in assessing, stimulating, and consciously managing enterprises in general. The exchange of activity between enterprises is now in the form of the movement of goods.
      As we know, the economic reform was elaborated in a rather extensive, specific form. First, there was a substantial reduction in the range of obligatory plan indices communicated to enterprises on a centralized basis, a number of indices were replaced, and the new profitability index was introduced.
     Plan targets for the volume of output to be sold are being established for enterprises instead of the gross output index. This substitution is very substantial : it places production under the economic control of purchasers and creates prerequisites for the establishment of organic unity between planning and cost-accounting. The basic product-mix [nomenklatura] is also confirmed from above.
     In addition to other indices, profit and profitability calculated as the ratio of profit to fixed productive capital and to normed working capital have been established as indices for evaluating the effectiveness of the work of enterprises. Thus, yardsticks of effectiveness which, although they have existed in our country for a long time, have not played a large part in planning, to say nothing of the evaluation of the work of enterprises, have been brought into economic circulation.
     In our opinion, the plan should confront production with ultimate goals but should not directly regulate the means of their attainment within the enterprise, which would deprive the enterprise of the necessary maneuverability in finding optimal solutions for the fulfillment of plan targets.
     Although they retain their importance as accounting indices within the branch, such indices as the number of personnel, the average wage, labor productivity, and enterprise cost of production are not included in the number of obligatory indices that are confirmed for each enterprise.
     Even now, certain economists cannot see how such a very important index as labor productivity can be left outside the realm of obligatory centralized planning. But the reform in no way denies the fact that labor productivity is a most important index to the effectiveness of production. The task consists in monitoring the correspondence between the growth of wages (including bonuses from profits) and increases in labor productivity.
      Payments to the budget and allocations from the budget are established as obligatory plan targets. The volume of centralized capital investment is also confirmed, since this is absolutely necessary for securing the required proportions in the development of branches of production in keeping with centralized national economic plans. The basic targets pertaining to the installation of new equipment as well as the indices of material and technical supply are also planned. In discussing the indices of material and technical supply, it must be borne in mind that, in keeping with the decisions of the September (1965) Plenum of the Central Committee and the Twenty-Third Congress of the CPSU, there will be a gradual transition to the planned distribution of equipment, supplies, and semimanufactures through the wholesale trade system.
     Naturally, the restriction of the number of plan indices confirmed by higher-echelon organizations considerably expands the economic autonomy of enterprises. In no small measure, this autonomy is also promoted by the Statute on the Socialist State Production Enterprise, which extends and legislatively confirms many rights to enterprise heads.
     The September (1965) Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU outlined such a structure of the incentive system in order to arouse the enterprises’ interest in elaborating and fulfilling higher plan targets and in making fullest use of internal reserves and resources. This goal is realized through the unity of the system of planning and economic incentives for enterprise collectives, which serves to increase the country’s national income. In this instance, the interests of society and of enterprises are combined more harmoniously.
     The development of production is financed by centralized sources as well as by the enterprises’ own resources. It is important to emphasize that provision is made for the broader utilization of the internal resources of enterprises and economic organizations as well as of bank loans, instead of nonreturnable budget financing of capital investment.
     As a rule, the financing of capital investment and the augmentation of working capital at existing enterprises are done through the enterprise’s own financial resources and through Gosbank loans. This essentially alters the attitude of enterprises toward the reconstruction and expansion of production, requires the more thrifty and economically substantiated utilization of new equipment and production areas, and obliges management to give greater attention to increasing the effectiveness of capital investment.
     In order to increase the effectiveness of production, payments for fixed and working productive capital have been introduced. In the future, this type of payment may become an important source of national centralized net income and may, to a certain degree, replace other types of payments, including the turnover tax. This is specifically the method of exerting economic influence on production which basically must counteract the squandering and mismanagement of social productive capital.
     It is also important to note that normative payments for capital are established for a number of years so that a properly functioning enterprise will have a profit for offering incentives as well as for covering planned outlays. The more effective an enterprise’s operation, the more profit it receives and the larger the share of this profit (after fixed payments to the budget, payments for the use of capital, and loan interest payments) is left at the disposal of the enterprise.
     There are also a number of other important innovations that promote the strengthening of cost-accounting and the imparting to it of the nature of a real rather than a formal method of exerting economic influence on production. The role of the economic contract and the material liability of parties for its fulfillment are being strengthened, even to the point of providing for the complete compensation of losses to the injured party by the injuring party.
     Liability is being established both horizontally, i.e., between enterprises, and vertically. We allude here to the establishment of guarantees of material liability not only of enterprises to ministries and agencies but also the liability of these organs if they are responsible for losses incurred by the enterprises. The first step in this direction is the conversion of economic and production associations as well as main administrations of industrial ministries to cost-accounting.
     The strengthening of the cost-accounting of enterprises is also promoted by the better formulated system of using internal working capital. In the event that this capital is in short supply due to unsatisfactory management, the shortage should not be made up by the budget. An enterprise should apply for a bank loan, and the interest on this loan should be higher. The interest payment diminishes that part of the profit which is used to form the enterprise’s economic incentive fund. This means the realization of the urgent demand that sanctions affect the personal incomes of those responsible for the losses and that these losses not be automatically transferred to the government, as frequently was the case in earlier times. This kind of undefined responsibility was specifically one of the chief features in the formal nature of cost-accounting.
     Contractual relations between suppliers and purchasers play a basic part in strengthening cost-accounting and, simultaneously, in improving the planning process. At the same time, direct contractual relations are a way of making product-mix planning more specific. Naturally, direct relations make sense if they are backed up by sufficient legal and economic guarantees.
      The system of economic incentives makes provision for the formation of a special source of incentive payments above and beyond centrally established wage rates. The profit created at an enterprise is this source. It has been recognized that the amount of deductions paid from profits into the incentive fund depends on the fulfillment of the plan for increased sales or profits and on the profitability level contemplated in the annual plan (provided that the prescribed mix of key products stipulated in the plan is observed). In those instances when an increase in sales volume is not advisable, the size of the material incentive fund is determined as a function of increased profit.
     Three economic incentive funds are formed on this basis : the production development fund, the material incentive fund, and the fund for sociocultural measures and housing construction.
     The production development fund serves as a supplement to centralized sources of capital investment. It is formed through deductions from profits as well as through the use of a certain amount of the amortization deductions earmarked for the total renovation of fixed capital.
     The material incentive fund is created solely from profit. The size of the deductions from profits paid into the material incentive fund is determined according to norms depending on the increase in the sales volume (or the amount of profit) and the profitability level stipulated in the annual plan. Norms are established as percentages of the wage fund: for every percentage point of increase in sales volume in comparable prices (or amount of profit) stipulated in the plan for a given year as compared with the previous year ; for each percentage point of profitability stipulated in the annual plan.
     Norms are envisaged as stable for a number of years and are differentiated by branch (and, where necessary, by groups of enterprises within a branch). Limits on deductions paid into the material incentive fund are not established.
     Payments of an established amount are made to the material incentive fund when the enterprise fulfills the profit and sales plan for the product-mix stipulated in the plan. When an enterprise overfulfills the profit and sales plan, additional payments are made to the material incentive fund. When an enterprise fails to fulfill the profit and sales plan for the established product-mix, payments are made to the material incentive fund at a lower rate. The product-mix is assigned to enterprises by higher-echelon organs in the process of confirming the indices of the yearly plan, and, if it is not fulfilled, payments to the material incentive fund are reduced. Other restrictions on deductions to the material incentive fund are not established.
     The formation of the incentive fund is connected with the quality of planning at the enterprise. In order to eliminate, or at least diminish, the striving to conceal reserves in the elaboration of plans at enterprises so as to make these plans easier to fulfill, resources are paid in full into the incentive fund only if the production growth plan is fulfilled. But in the event the plan is overfulfilled, the rates are reduced by approximately 30 % for that part of the increase in output which represents overfulfillment. The idea is to make the deliberate lowering of plans disadvantageous, since the enterprise will thereby lose one-third of the incentive it would otherwise receive for the increase in sales which is overfulfillment.
     On the other hand, the plan should not be unduly high. Therefore, if the plan is not fulfilled, the incentive payment is also reduced by the same amount compared with the established normative rates. The procedure for reducing rates of payment for the overfulfilled and unfulfilled part of the plan concerns not only the increase in sales (or profits) but also incentives for the profitability level, and such incentive is established without discounts for the level of profitability actually attained on the basis of normative rates solely within the framework of the plan.
     The same methods have also been adopted for the formation of the third incentive fund, which is earmarked for sociocultural measures and housing construction.
     Of basic importance is the fact that enterprises are not regulated by strictly centralized instructions in the matter of distributing the incentive fund among production participants. Enterprises may elaborate one or another provision on the procedure for awarding incentives on the basis of standard recommended methods in accordance with the specifics of their production. The only point that has been established is that bonuses to workers under presently existing statutes will be awarded from the wage funds in the future as well. But in addition to this, workers may also be paid bonuses from the material incentive fund formed from profit. Furthermore, these bonuses may be paid under special provisions, for example, for improving the quality of production, for economizing on materials, for mastering new products or processes, as well as on a one-time basis for individual attainments on the job.
     The awarding of bonuses to managerial, engineering, and technical personnel and employees is also regulated by special provisions. In addition, certain sums in the incentive fund are reserved for one-time assistance. An important feature is that part of the material incentive fund is earmarked for rewards to personnel based on their performance for the year, depending on their length of service at a given enterprise.
Šik, O. (1965). (sans titre). World Marxist Review, 8(3), 17–19.  
Added by: Dominique Meeùs 2012-08-09 06:18:21 Pop. 0%
      Until recently the connection between planning and the market was incorrectly understood and the concept of market was applied to a socialist economy in a sort of shamefaced way. It was held, wrongly, that planned social co-ordination, planned management of production, was the absolute antipode of orientation on the market, of utilising market levers. Planning was assumed to be an attribute of socialism alone, and production for the market a feature solely of capitalism. These tenacious theoretical premises brought much harm; because of them a system of planning and management was adhered to which meant that production could not be adequately geared to its proper aim—that of satisfying the home and foreign market demand—and consumers could not exert any direct influence on the producers… Socialist planned production should consistently seek to satisfy the market demand, and sales of goods on the market should be the main criterion of the social usefulness of labour expended in the production process.
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