Overcentralization in Economic Administration: A Critical Analysis Based on Experience in Hungarian Light Industry

Overview


First published in 1959, Overcentralization in Economic Administration was the first book written by an East European and published in the West that openly criticized socialist central planning. Now reissued with a new preface, this book discusses issues that remain fundamental to any sound analysis of economic organization. Here Janos Kornai began a lifelong study of the economic organization of centrally planned economies. He identified several systemic failures of the centrally planned economy, and gave a ...
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Overview


First published in 1959, Overcentralization in Economic Administration was the first book written by an East European and published in the West that openly criticized socialist central planning. Now reissued with a new preface, this book discusses issues that remain fundamental to any sound analysis of economic organization. Here Janos Kornai began a lifelong study of the economic organization of centrally planned economies. He identified several systemic failures of the centrally planned economy, and gave a prescient account of weak economic performance and eventual disintegration. Kornai's aim was to observe the reality of the working socialist system, and to draw conclusions that were not distorted by the laws of Marxist political economy. He provided a thorough positive analysis of conditions, along with normative recommendations which influenced the Hungarian reform process, culminating in the economic changes of 1968. Kornai's argument for radical rather than partial change makes this book timely and interesting reading for those involved in the economics of transition taking place in Eastern Europe today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198287582
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/19/1994
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
I The System of Instructions 1
1 The plans laid down for enterprises 1
2 Plan index numbers 27
3 Other instructions regulating production 64
II Incentives for Top Managements 70
1 Financial incentives 71
2 Moral and political incentives 106
3 The role of supervision by the State and of punishments 109
III Some Useful and Harmful Tendencies which Result from the Joint Effects of Plan Instructions and Incentives 117
1 The upsurge of the quantity of production 118
2 The false 'order of importance' of tasks 121
3 Turning '100 per cent.' into a fetish 128
4 'Speculation within the framework of the plan' 132
5 Battles over loosening and tightening plans 133
6 The periodic unevenness of production 137
7 The conflict between 'today' and 'tomorrow' 139
IV Relationships between Enterprises. The Role of Enterprises as Buyers and Sellers 147
1 The relationship between light industry and domestic commerce 147
2 Problems in the field of materials supplies 162
3 The achievement of a proper balance between production and consumption. The fundamental causes of shortages 176
4 A 'model' of our economic mechanism 191
V Excessive Centralization as a Socio-Political Problem 199
1 The theoretical origins and social consequences of the proliferation of instructions 199
2 The expansion of the administrative machine 206
3 The issue of confidence in the managements of enterprises 210
4 Democracy at the factory level 212
VI Attempts to Develop Local Initiative and Autonomy for Enterprises 215
1 Excessive centralization is a coherent, unified mechanism 215
2 The rationalization measures of 1954 218
3 Some erroneous views 223
4 The most recent measures 233
Notes on the Book's Previous and Subsequent History 237
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