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Re: Gosplan - another argument against OFF

> Most people in the advanced capitalist countries think that
> centrally-planned state-dominated economies are hopelessly > 
inefficient. And, as far as I'm concerned, they are right.

This is the prevailing view however I feel that the developments in IT 
make it more possible to do central planning (but this would 
weaken the argument). IT has been a major reason for the growing 
market share of mammoth companies and the sqeezing of smaller 
companies.  Iraq does not of course have the IT infrastructure 

> But the OFF programme, with its demand that the government of Iraq orders
> *everything* necessary for the functioning of the economy through one
> central point, is the enforced creation of a centrally-planned economy on a
> grand scale, one which is being asked to provide basic needs for around 20
> million people. Nobody - least of all the FCO for whom the 'free maket' has
> been basic orthodoxy for decades - should be surprised, then, that it is not
> working. Or rather, that it is working, but only very badly, and in way that
> is subject to intermittent interruptions through organisational and
> insitutional failure. Like Gosplan - but with fewer initial advantages, and
> very little black market to oil the wheels. 

One classic example in the USSR was a whole load of unusable 
tanks because not enough ball bearings had been planned for. One 
important category in Iraq is the 'medicine hoarded by SH in 
warehouses'. As has been made clear by the UN this has 
happened because of essential items not having been delivered 
(on hold).

> But above and beyond the Ba'athists' deliberate attempts
> to manipulate aid

The UN have generally strongly praised the distribution systems in 
> So, can we use the slogan '661 committee = Gosplan', or is it too obscure?
I can't remember what it was!

> I think that we ought to use the above argument on UK and US representatives,
> for whom it may well have some resonance. Can anyody spot any holes in it,
> before I wheel it out for public consumption? Even little ones?

A good idea. There is also the fact that it strengthens the regime's 
standing and influence within the country as well as having almost 
destroyed the private sector - which the Iraqi government had 
intended to greatly bolster (pre-sanctions).

Mark Parkinson

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