Planning is widely perceived as an approach to economic life that both subordinates decisions about production and distribution to a supposedly objective Science and as an illegitimate subjection of economic laws to a commanding political Will. This article excavates two key phases in the Soviet experiment with a planned economy, namely, the New Economic Policy under Lenin and the Stalinist institution of the five-year plan, to explore the way in which planning could be thought of as directly incorporating a dimension of social and class conflict. This archaeological reconstruction of an antagonistic politics of planning is contrasted with the disavowed elements of planning within contemporary business logistics as well as with efforts within critical Marxist theory after 1968 to push against the depoliticizing dimensions of the plan.
Planning for Conflict
Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory and co-director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (2017, 2nd ed) and Cartographies of the Absolute (2015, with Jeff Kinkle). He edits The Italian List for Seagull Books and sits on the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.
Matteo Mandarini, Alberto Toscano; Planning for Conflict. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2020; 119 (1): 11–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8007629
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