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According to many authors, one still unsolved query is why the broad consensus for the values and culture of the left has broken down. As far as I can see, the answer is that even after the collapse of the Soviet model of society the left held on to the idea of socialism as founded on centralised planning rather than on democratic firm management. The current crisis of the left is caused also by the globalisation of the economy, i.e. by the fact that the political and economic agendas are dictated by supranational oligarchies which are capable of controlling the media, influencing the opinions of electors and the general public and forcing the left into a corner. As a result, the left is seriously ill and must gain an awareness that idle protest leads nowhere. Moreover, statism is on the wane because of its inability to steer the economy and offer satisfactory welfare in a globalised world and because historical experience has taught us that it tends to generate inefficiency and corruption. This conclusion is effectively summed up in the concept of the death of the State and its organisational structure. One of the founding assumptions of this book, therefore, is that the establishment of a system of democratic firms is the precondition for reducing State intervention in the economy and enabling the State to perform its ultimate function, that is to say serving the public interest. Those who think of socialism as a system of self-managed firms are called upon to emphasise the view that, contrary to capitalism, a self-management system is not a system which prioritises the interests of one class over those of another. What is more important, however, is that a system of labour-managed firms has many other advantages (with respect to capitalism), which suggest that it is a very beautiful economic system. The book discusses such advantages.
The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown
Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson
The games of markets including entrepreneur-driven economic development have always taken place on an arena of the combined material and non-material infrastructure. The infrastructure thus constitutes the arena; it is public capital that facilitates and constrains the rapid “games” of buying and selling that economic agents play. Agents perceive the arena as stable because its evolution is so much slower than that of markets for goods and services. Synergetic theory is well equipped to handle such multiple timescales. Its application to economic phenomena enables us to show that competitive equilibrium theory requires prior specification of the infrastructural arena, which consists of public knowledge, space-bridging networks and institutions. Synergetic theory can also help us avoid the pitfalls of conventional macroeconomic theory. In this chapter, we demonstrate how macroeconomic equilibrium depends on the infrastructure. We claim that all goods are durable and are thus instances of capital. This means that historical trajectories, current outcomes, uncertain expectations and changes in spatial accessibility all influence the growth and fluctuations in the value of capital goods. Dynamic non-linear interactions between scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs affect investments. New technological or design ideas spread most easily among spatially proximate firms within communication and transport networks. Such network effects shape processes of spatial clustering, agglomeration and urbanization. Based on causal and various econometric considerations, it has been common for economists to resort to difference equation in their modeling strategies. But if we include dynamic interactions within a system of difference equations—so as to accommodate realistic causal assumptions—it will often result in complex models with chaotic outcomes. However, there are ways out of chaos in economic modeling. The first is to focus on continuous dynamic synergetic models, which implies a careful separation of variables and dynamic processes according to their relevant timescales as well as the collectiveness of their impacts.