How To Make Adjustments?

It seems a common point of criticism towards the model is some variation of “how would adjustments be made as the year goes on?” It seems quite easy to detect when there are deviations from the original plan by simply analyzing how many products have been picked up from the distribution center, and then comparing that to the planned supply.

However, things become more difficult when we need to coordinate an increase of supply for a certain product. Councils will need to negotiate with one another to receive user rights for additional inputs such as natural resources or intermediete goods.

I have two questions regarding this:

  1. What would one of these negotiations look like? I think it would be beneficial to lay out an example scenario to help people get a clearer picture.

  2. How could we use technology to make this process less painful? Something I really like about the annual planning procedure is that everyone submits proposals and the IFB simply analyzes that data and lets people revise. It would be nice if revisions worked in a similar way so we’re not having in person meetings between different councils or federations.

I’m imagining something like this:

  • A computer system detects a shortage for a particular product and signals the relevant worker councils responsible for making the product.

  • Each workplace that was signaled then has an opportunity to submit a proposal that basically says “we commit to producing x more of these products if we can get access to these inputs”.

  • If an input they require is an intermediete good, the computer system will signal the worker councils responsible for it so they can submit revision proposals too.

  • Once all relevant workplaces have had a chance to submit revision proposals, all federations will take a vote on which proposals should be approved to meet the demand increase. This is similar to how everyone has the right to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to production and consumption proposals during the annual planning procedure.

I’m sure I’m missing some details here, but the flow of this feels pretty good to me. What are your thoughts?

Hi Michael

What you’ve described seems reasonable to me. My thinking is that some sort of ongoing monitoring is needed and that the IFB would be employed year round to facilitate this process.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with our local BBQ propane gas retailer. All he does is fill tanks. He once remarked that if we had a warm spring he sold more propane gas because of a longer BBQing season. Our supply/demand intel would likely come from such sources. Depending on the type of spring other locations are having, there could be readjustments made as to managing supply in various locations. Reallocations could be made elsewhere.

In addition to a computer system monitoring shortages and surpluses, anticipating them with good intel from people good at this sort of thing would be useful.

People in business are good at this sort of thing. Encouraging entrepreneurialism in a Parecon would be vital to its success. Satisfaction for a job well done as well as praise from the community would be the reward.

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Yes, I agree this is a job for the IFB, but maybe they would need a new name since none of this has to do with “facilitating iterations” like in the main procedure haha.

I think estimating shortages could be done entirely by computers, but maybe that’s the programmer in me talking. If we keep track of each person’s consumption plan and monitor what they pick up, we can easily tell when they deviate from the plan. If there won’t be enough supply to meet the remaining consumption that’s planned, the alert could be sent. There are other ways to do this too like you mentioned.

I also agree that encouraging entrepreneurs is important. This is slightly off topic, but I think a big selling point here is that everyone is on equal ground to start their own workplace. The only prerequisite is they need to be approved for inputs via the annual planning procedure, and also request access to a building depending on how that’s set up (or if they even need one). There’s no concept of raising enough startup capital, begging rich people for money etc. That’s a really nice feature I think!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!