Monday, 16 September 2013
Paramathematical Theory II
- Poul Anderson, The Long Way Home (St Albans, Herts, 1975), p. 58.
Is this possible? I will:
(i) summarize an understanding of economics;
(ii) summarize Anderson's account of the Technate;
(iii) see whether (ii) is consistent with (i).
incessant competition forces firms to increase productivity by periodically reinvesting in newer, more expensive technology;
as investment increases, the rate of profit decreases;
when the rate is judged too low to justify large expenditure, investment stops;
economic slump with stockpiled goods, unemployed labor and bankrupted firms;
when a sufficiently high rate of profit has been restored, investment resumes but with bigger firms tending towards monopolies;
trade requires an infrastructure and laws, thus a state;
monopolies merge with the state (see Anderson's excellent sf political novel, Mirkheim).
(ii) The Technate:
Technon-owned industries fund the state;
individual members of the Ministerial class own farms, mines, factories and at least one restaurant;
Commoners work mainly in cities, some self-employed;
trades have uniformed guilds with long apprenticeships;
Ministers "'...encourage free enterprise...'" among Commoners (p. 64);
"The Technon gives the orders on how to balance population and production, so that the economy runs a smooth course.'" (p. 61)
I think: it is predictable that decreased rate of profit will cause cessation of investment and that investment will later resume with bigger firms but not when either of these events will occur. Unpredictable individual decisions and technological innovations affect when. Thus, encouraging free enterprise while ordering balanced production looks contradictory? And knowing that arrangements for production and distribution will work looks impossible? (I think.)