Plan and Market   Marx and Mechanism


Oldrich Kyn

Marx and the Mechanism
Functioning of a Socialist Economy

Paper presented at the Belgrade conference celebrating one hundred years anniversary of publication of the first volume of 'Das Kapital'.

(Published in OECONOMICA, VOL. III No. 1, Prague 1968, page 39)


At present [1968] Czechoslovakia is taking the first serious steps in the implementation of the new system of control of the national economy. We are thus joining the growing number of those socialist countries, which have been attempting to reform their economies. All of these reforms to a greater or lesser degree stress the decentralization of economic control and to some degree also resumption of the role of market. But unlike the other countries we are aiming at a much more consistent resurrection of the market mechanism that would include competition, entrepreneurship, free pricing according to market supply and demand etc. In this context the critical problem of compatibility of central planning with the function of market emerges. With the exception of Yugoslavia this problem has been sidestepped until recently. Many economists in the socialist countries denied even a possibility of "coexistence" of plan and market.

For this reason extensive economic discussions were a necessary precondition for practical implementation of economic reforms. In some extent these discussions continue to this day. In these discussions some of the concepts and propositions of our economic theory were revised, a number of dogmatic principles were rejected end certain new ideas concerning the functioning of the socialist economy are being developed. In this process the following important question is quite naturally posed: To what extent are our new ideas about the functioning of a socialist economy in accord with Marx's theory? Marx did not think that the market would exist under socialism or communism and he considered rational conscious control of the economy and planning to be the antithesis of the spontaneous activity of the market.












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