Wednesday, June 15, 2016
  Coulda hada Gosbank

Oddly hopeful dream this morning. Sort of followed Dmitri Orlov, sort of paralleled Russia's collapse and rebuild. It was in the not-too-distant future, after our collapse and rebuild. We were driving a car produced by local factories that were able to function because the federal regulatory structure and Free Trade and the stock market no longer existed. The car was small and simple, returning to the simple side of the '50s in some ways. Resembled the original Rambler or Crosley.



There's no reason why small or mid-size factories can't build cars or computers or anything. We did it before, we could do it again, if the pressures of globalism were pulled out. Globalism concentrates all activity in one type of work and one city. Graybill's Law.

We could do it again, after the federal monster collapses. It just takes a determination to equalize usefulness among people and among cities. Yeah, from each according to his abilities. American "socialists" like Freestuff Sanders always focus on the second part of the sentence, but the first half is the real core and purpose of socialism. Putting it another way, socialism works where it emphasizes the ability side of the equation, fails where it emphasizes the need side.

The Soviet system (after Stalin died!) accomplished it through central planning by Gosbank and Stroybank. Capital was allocated to keep local industries and local farms running, to create relatively appropriate jobs for all types of people. Each business was expected to operate at a profit, to generate surplus value. The state depended on a percentage of this profit for its tax, so it was motivated by profit. Needless to say, there was no stock market, no derivatives, no HFT, no LBO, no CEO bonuses for killing entire companies. CEOs were rewarded for maximizing jobs.

We had the kernel of Gosbank in the TVA and BPA. Both were expected to operate at a profit (and still do!) and both were expected to allocate their power to create industries and farms. Their Gosbankiness was destroyed by EPA Terrorist Army, but they still exist.

We could do it again. Will we? I doubt it.


= = = = =

Tech sidenote: The dream car was simple and small, but not crude. The interior looked and felt sort of like a Simca Aronde, with a crisp and precise column shift. If you're aiming for max simplicity you don't want a column shift. More parts and labor to build, harder to maintain, less reliable. But this local factory wasn't going for max simple, it was focusing on max SKILL. The column shift was a point of pride for the workers, who had perfected a normally faulty mechanism. HUMAN CAPITAL IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CAPITAL.

Footnote on 'from each': The second part of the sentence as usually quoted is flat wrong. Here's the relevant passage from the 1977 Soviet Constitution:
The state exercises control over the measure of labour and of consumption in accordance with the principle of socialism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work". It fixes the rate of taxation on taxable income.

Socially useful work and its results determine a person's status in society. By combining material and moral incentives and encouraging innovation and a creative attitude to work, the state helps transform labour into the prime vital need of every Soviet citizen.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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