Talk:Planned economy

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Just out of curiosity[edit]

What is the difference between communism and a "command economy"?

~Random wiki user

There've been a few examples of command economies in states that weren't actually communist, usually involving the Arab nationalists or resource based economies. For instance, Nasser's Egypt, Saddam's Iraq, and the modern Saudi Arabian economy. And, of course, the US and UK economies in WWII were basically planned (wartime being where planned economies really tend to shine). There are also examples of states ruled by Communist parties where the economy is largely unplanned (China, for instance, all though many would argue that it's not really Communism anymore), and there are theoretical forms of Communism that are neither planned nor free market (although of course they've never been put into practice). Communism also has wider implications, being about a total restructuring of society, whereas a planned economy is narrowly focused on the utilitarian economic aspects. (talk) 19:14, 12 October 2015 (UTC)


Brief notes on advantages and disadvantages of the following economic systems. Market Economy, Command Economy, Mixed Economy.

Also, whomever iswriting this up should make a stub for palace economies. I have no Idea where to even look for such a thing.
~ender 2003-09-10 03:07:MST

Command and Planned Economy definitions[edit]

I got out my econ notes from a while back, if someone wants to rewrite the article with these definitions assuming they get no objections, go ahead:

There are two different ways to catergorize an economy into two.

Little Regulation Heavy Regulation


Low Government Expenditure High Government Expenditure

Heavy regulation AND high government expenditure are command economies, heavily regulated economies are planned (price wages enforced by the Nazis for example (although I didn't mean the example to be so extreme)), little regulation is decentralized, low government expenditure is capitalist, high government expenditure is socialist, and free market is both low government expenditure and little regulation.

Note that these are very subjective, and are not as simple as saying "Above 50% government expenditure as a portion of the GDP is socialist," because France has above 50% government expenditure as a portion of GDP and some people refer to it as Capitalist and some as Socialist. Similarly the argument goes for little and heavy regulation, some may say that the U.S. is decentralized while others are extreme enough to say it's a planned economy, the difference in opinion comes from the subjectivity of the two terms (I, for example, say that the U.S. is a planned economy because I'm pissed off and opposed to the regulations on power companies; but that's my opinion). China considers itself Socialist, while many other consider it Capitalist. Some consider the Soviet Union Capitalist because of it's Black Market activities. And so on.

In other words:

Little Regulation AND low government expenditure=Free Market Economy

Little Regulation=Decentralized Heavy Regulation=Planned


Low Government Expenditure=Capitalist High Government Expenditure=Socialist

High government Expenditure AND heavy Regulation=Command Economy

Oh! And a mixed economy is any economy that is thought of as a mix between socialist and Capitalist, technically this is all countries, but it is also a subjective factor (Subjective in that the percentiles aren't really placed, it's not like below 10% government expenditure is Capitlist, from 10-90 is mixed, and Socialist is >90).

If no one else ends up objecting to this, I'll change the article according to this, and that poor stub of a Command Economy article.fephisto 13:07, December 5, 2005

Possible mix up?[edit]

Something about this paragraph doesn't seem quite right:

A command economy is an economic system in which government decisions are made by central state economic managers who determine what sorts of goods and services to produce and how they are to be priced and allocated, and may include state ownership of the means of production. Since most known command economies rely on plans implemented by the way of command, they have become widely known as planned economies.

Shouldn't the bold terms be switched around, as this article is named "planned economy?" I interchanged them, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Fephisto 16:04, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Planned economy working example[edit]

Cadr, if you can't give an example of a working planned economy, your last rv is not really a POV fixing revert, I am afraid. The planned economies known examples so far are corruption friendly and create a secondary market, just as Lussmu wrote. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus 16:09, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To say that planned economies "don't work" is historically false. In reality, most of the world's planned economies stopped working around the year 1980 - but they had worked very well for many decades before that. And some planned economies had greater achievements than any market economy ever had (for example, the Soviet economy in the 1930s achieved the highest growth rate of any economy in history; planned economies resulted in extremely fast industrializations, and many scientific and technological "firsts" - such as the first artificial sattelite, the first man in space, etc). Furthermore, it is wrong to consider the Soviet system as the model of a planned economy. The Soviet Union had a certain kind of a planned economy, but many different kinds are also possible. After all, there are many different methods of planning. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 14:25, 24 Nov 2004

On behalf of the public?[edit]

Yeah, right... But lets just assume for a moment you were right. It would still be POV. Please review Wikipedia:NPOV tutorial. [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 13:16, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I suggest you check the meaning of the phrase "on behalf of". It doesn't necessarely mean "for the benefit of" (although that is a possible meaning). I used it with the meaning of as an agent of. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 14:25, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No matter how you look at it, it implies a positive intent. That is unnacceptably POV, esp. when so very many people (I would argue most people) feel that it is done on solely behalf of the ruling party, and to the clear detriment of the unfortunate lower classes. [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 14:44, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
They may feel that way about Soviet-style systems, but this article discusses the concept of a planned economy in general. At any rate, since this little phrase seems to mean so much to you, I will look for a more NPOV synonym. (oh, and for the record, the unfortunate lower classes of Russia and Eastern Europe were much better off before 1991 than today - but we've been over this already) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 15:05, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Whose agents" is irrelevant to the notion. In known real examples they act as agents of state, who claim to be an agent of "working people", not the whole "public". You may as well have a planned economy in a banana monarchy; the definition doesn't preclude that. 16:41, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Nevertheless, the fact that most planners are (or at least claim to be) agents of the people must be mentioned. I'll add "sometimes" in there. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:46, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"On behalf of the public" has no relation to "planned economy". Planning may be done on behalf of monarch or dictator. It is only coincidental that in known planned economy they acted allegedly on behalf of "working people". Mikkalai 19:13, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What has an economy other than a state?[edit]


[[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 12:11, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, any sort of human society has an economy. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 11:11, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I suppose so, but doesn't every human society also have a state? [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 14:10, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You must be kidding. Communist society is supposed to be stateless, for starters. Also, my family has an economy, can you believe this? (Although I admit this is mostly my wife's efforts.) User:mikkalai 18:23, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Suppsed to be" is nothing but propanda exposed for what it is. And you and your wife are members of a state, yes? [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 19:20, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Does the planet earth as such, or "all of human society thereon" have an economy? an economy misguidedly segmented, but still AN economy in the same sense that a state has one?

More generally, does an economy have to be "had"? In Aristotelean terms, is it a property attached to a substance, or is it itself a substance? The difference between the terms "society" and "economy" isn't a difference in what they describe, but in how it might be studied. Both words simply name the fact of human interaction -- a sociologist studies it on one set of principles, an economist on another (and you might say that a politician or political scientist/philosopher on a third set, hence the term "state"). --Christofurio 13:27, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)

The simple exchange of two goods by two neanderthalers would be considered an economic exchange. An economy is simply the sum of all these exchanges. As such, it cannot be "owned". Luis rib 13:01, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
An economy is the sum of the values of all goods and services 'made' in an economy, not 'exchanged'. Fephisto 21:42, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the internet never forgets what I said. Fephisto (talk) 12:38, 10 October 2014 (UTC)


The definition is tautology. Also, it is wrong. In Soviet Union economic decisions were made by Party, based on political goals and economic information. Gosplan did nothing but implement Party's decisions in detail. Of course, you may call the Soviet Communist Party the "planners", but again, this is circular logic. User:mikkalai 18:35, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC) (smth wrong. I cannot login normally)

Participatory economics[edit]

Is this generally considered to be a form of planned economy? If so, this would contradict the statement that planned economies always involve central planning by the state.

Also, it says somewhere that orthodox Marxists believe that state planning is essential to Socialism. Presumably, this can only be true if Socialism is being used in the sense of the intermediate system which exists before the state is abolished and Communism is achieved. Maybe this should be clarified in the article.

Any thoughts? Cadr 09:30, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You're right, not all planned economies are necessarily planned by the state. Statism is a planned economy specifically planned by the state, whereas a planned economy encompasses all economies that are centrally planned...or can it include economies that are decentrally planned but which are not market economies? Good question. RJII 13:56, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

If you break down Marxism into forms of economies then it would be market economy (capitalism), planned economy (socialism), and participatory economy (communism). Planned economy in Marxism does not mean that a small group of people take care of all the economic decisions in the nation, actually that would be capitalism, since the capitalists are less than 1% of the population and thus would be a small group. In the Marxist sence a planned economy is when the workers control production and distribution in the state through communes and assemblies. So technically the economy is planned by the "state", but it's not overcentralized as it was in the soviet union, nor is it despotic. (Demigod Ron 17:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC))

Market vs. mixed economy[edit]

I agree that China is nowadays a mixed economy, but in other Communist states the transition did not go via a lengthy mixed econmy phase as in the Chinese case. All the Eastern European countries are market economies nowadays (except Belarus, and Ukraine to some extent). Therefore, it's not correct to change the name of the paragraph from 'market' to 'mixed'. The aim of the transition is to achieve a market economy, not a mixed economy. Therefore, a mixed economy may be part of a transition phase, but is certainly not the end goal of it. Luis rib 15:28, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. I adjusted my changes. Though, who's to say that China's aim is to relenquish any more centralized control than it has. RJII 15:32, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
True. We can't be sure if China's aim is a full market economy. The trend in the nineties has been towards more economic freedom, though. Yet it is hard to see how the Communist party could maintain its ideology while allowing full market economy. Therefore, China may be an atypical example of a transition from central planning to mixed/market economy (though Vietnam and Laos (?) seem to have chosen the Chinese way as well). What I miss in this paragraph is Eastern Europe. In a sense, their transition was quite successful as well, since they managed to move to full market economy without falling into Russian-styla chaos. The example of Estonia is particularly startling. Luis rib 16:01, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
As of 2005, the PRC is as much a market economy as the United States is, and in distinguishing between command economy and market economy, it's clearly a market economy. It's true that large segments of the economy are state owned, but the state does not control resource allocation via administrative orders.
As far as maintaining ideology. See the article on Chinese economic reform. Roadrunner 22:51, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"The European Union’s June 28 decision not to give China market economy status, however, was a blow to China’s desire to end its treatment within the World Trade Organization as a non-market economy in dumping and subsidy cases." [1] This is part of the reason the [[Index of Economic Freedom gives China only a 3.46, which is nowhere near the 1.85 of the United States or the 1.35 of Hong Kong. Uncle Ed 02:39, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

As far as I know, a true full market economy means no government expenditure, in this sense technically all governments are mixed economies (including those that say they are 100% socialist, simply because of black market activity, no matter how small). The true difference comes from saying how much of a market economy (approxiamately) a country has, because the term "mixed economy" is so broad. fephisto 12:33, 3 November 2005

A mixed economy can be more or less marketised in a number of ways. The point is that mixed is definitionally not entirely planned. A further consideration must be that state funded bodies can be "marketised", an example of which can be seen in current reforms to the National Health Service in the UK. Should the comment on mixed being planned not reflect this? 19:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


I miss some discussion of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and the state monopoly on foreign commerce of the Byzantine Empire (until broken by the Italian maritime republics). Aren't those planned economies? -- 15:42, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Who actually invented planned economy[edit]

Moved the following from the article to here:

[User:|]] 22:07, 16 September 2005 (UTC)I wanted to know who actually invented or came up with the idea do planned economy. If i can find that. That will be great.

--S.K. 01:47, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

A more useful question would be 'who applies the term and to what'. Almost every country has some degree of economic planning but only a handful are considered 'planned economies'. The state pretty much runs the economy in much of the gulf but nobody would call Saudi Arabia a planned economy.
Historically central planning has been a tool used by economically backwards countries in an attempt to industrialize rapidly or on occasion to recover from a major war. --Gorgonzilla 23:45, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

A planned economy isn't defined by who does the planning[edit]

This article, I believe, is wrong to say that a planned economy "is an economic system in which government decisions are made by central state economic managers." Parecon for instance is a planned economy but it is neither centralised nor planned by government or managers. What makes a planned economy a planned economy is that it is planned ahead of time. I've changed the intro to what I believe is a more appropriate summary. Christiaan 00:32, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Un-merge needed[edit]

A planned economy and a command economy are not exactly the same thing. Even Marxists concede this point.

Very often, “command economy” is equated with “Planned Economy”, but this is a broader concept. [2]

The element of top-down control is the key difference between the two.

The idea that top-down direction or government "planning" can ensure sufficient production and distribution is an economic theory -- not a doctrine that Wikipedia should endorse. We need to say which economists assert the excellence command or planned economies. But we should also add criticism from economists who assert that a market economy does (or can do) a better job.

NPOV should forbid us contributors from merely praising our favorite system. Uncle Ed 02:45, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

This is absolutely ridiculous. I do not know of ANY Western economies that do not utilise some forms of both direct and indicative planning, and it's time that people here stop thinking that planned economies are solely Soviet-style command economies!!! Hauser 0148, 14 November 2005 (NZEST)

I agree there are big differences. De-merge!!! -- max rspct leave a message 21:09, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The U.S. is not a planned (command) economy. RJII 21:20, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I also agree there are big differences between command and planned economies, I pointed this out on the top of this discussion page! Planned economies used price floors, ceilings, and fixings. Command economies and state contolled companies entirely. Command economies necesarrily need planned economies, but not the converse! My econ teachers have given the example of the Nazis (sorry, I didn't mean to appease Godwin's Law) as more Planned Economy, and the Soviets as a typical Command Economy. Un-merge! Fephisto 04:39, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
No one uses the term "planned economy" to refer to a market economy with floors, ceilings, and fixings. At least no scholar that I know of. The term "planned economy" is always used to refer to an economy owned and managed by the state. Keep the merge! -- Nikodemos 05:23, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
No one uses the term "planned economy" to refer to that?! I've talked with three economics professors who refer to it EXACTLY as that! A great example of a planned economy=Nazis, a great example of command economy=Soviets. Fephisto 18:52, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Substantial changes[edit]

I've edited the article to do several things:

  1. Remove a lot of material that relates solely to command economies
  2. Insert practical examples of planning (Russia, India, Japan)
  3. Generally trim some clutter.

Hopefully these edits are helpful. The Land 11:13, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

  • I've also amended Command Economy to roughly the same ends. I know I've cut a lot of material while doing this, but I felt it was largely inappropriate or badly-ordered. If you can reinsert it please do so. The Land 14:53, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Problem with article[edit]

I haven't got enough time to action this myself, but there is a problem with this article. The title is "Planned economy" but it almost exclusively discusses centrally planned economies. I think either it needs to be split up into two articles: "Planned economy" and "Command economy" or that this division needs to be more obvious within the article. Christiaan 07:49, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Ah, I see there is already a new Command economy article (I think more material could be moved to that article). In that case I think we need to make a clearer division between centrally planned and planned. They are very different types of economies.Christiaan 07:54, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I totally agree: Not the same. For those interested see War economy and military Keynesianism -- max rspct leave a message 21:29, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

That intro is better --max rspct leave a message 21:34, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes they are the same. A planned economy is one that is, well, planned by some central authority. -- Nikodemos (f.k.a. Mihnea) 06:55, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
A centrally planned economy is centrally planned. A planned economy is just planned. Christiaan 01:11, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

If command economy means elimination of market and property ala Stalinist states, the Third Reich economy cannot be labelled as being that. -- max rspct leave a message 20:29, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

To say that "A planned economy is one that is, well, planned by some central authority" directly implies that a centralized minority group has executive powers over the formulation and implementation strategy of the social plan. There are, of course, notable examples of models and practices of planning where executive functions and authority are distributed in a largely decentralized manner.[3] BernardL 18:30, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

There is another, deeper problem with the article: it spends far more time discussing possible advantages and disadvantages of a planned economy, when the term itself needs further exploration and delineation. How much planning makes an economy planned? Chancellors and Finance ministers across the globe make planning decieions, but it's not clear to readers that most countries would be considered planned economies. Furthermore, there's no exploration of participation within a planned economy, for example, by utilising popular feedback under the broader framework of a state medium. The only hint of this sort of discussion is tucked away within "Planned economies and socialism".--Nema Fakei 12:48, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

They're not the same. As Christiaan said "A centrally planned economy is centrally planned. A planned economy is just planned." The key is where the economy is planned, centrally or decentrally. Centrally planned economies seem to fail often, since the planners are too far from the action. However decentralized economic planning would be more efficient than even the hallowed "free" market. The article should be split into "Planned Economy" and "Centrally Planned Economy" (or even better ("Command Economy") then a third article should be made comparing and constrasting the two forms. This will probably be very time consuming and I dont expect that anyone will actually do it anytime soon. (Demigod Ron 17:57, 24 July 2007 (UTC))

History of Frankfurt Stock Exchange[edit]

I got this of the FSE website : "Wars, stocks, the economic miracle: 20th century

The internationally oriented Frankfurt Stock Exchange was very hard hit by World War I and its consequences. Foreign shares and bonds were sold by German investors out of fear of instrumentalization by the opposing states; freed up capital was invested mostly in government bonds. By the end of the war, all foreign securities had disappeared from German exchange lists, as a result of which especially Frankfurt lost its standing as an international stock exchange. By the end of the war, the international contacts of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange had been destroyed. Stock market transactions only began restabilizing during the twenties.

However, the world economic crisis followed in 1930, with its disastrous effect on the economy. Huge volumes of assets fell victim to inflation. The German stock exchanges even had to be closed temporarily in 1931.

With the Nazi takeover in 1933, overall economic policy was incorporated into the general government and war policy. Stock exchange supervision was taken away from the states and made the domain of the central government, with the number of stock exchanges reduced from 21 to 9. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange incorporated the Mannheim Stock Exchange in 1935, with the merged institution called henceforth the Rhine-Main Stock Exchange. Although the Frankfurt Stock Exchange continued to function as a "domestic stock exchange", in fact it no longer fulfilled an important function. Nazi economic controls hindered the development of the free market, and with it stock market trading as well. By and large, potential capital assets were only supposed to benefit the war economy and could no longer be invested in larger bonds or shares. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange building was badly damaged during an allied air raid in 1944. Stock exchange meetings could therefore only be held in the cellar rooms of the building.

Following the collapse of the Nazi regime in 1945, the exchange remained initially closed for half a year. Nevertheless, it was already reopened in September 1945 as one of the first German stock exchanges.

It was only following the currency reform of 1948 and the growing consolidation of the German economy that the Frankfurt Stock Exchange gradually recovered its old significance. Beginning in 1956, the purchase of foreign securities was again permitted in Germany. Frankfurt could accordingly return to its tradition of international business, again occupying the top position in Germany. The stock exchanges played an important role as capital intermediaries for the country's postwar reconstruction. Through their activity, they were also decisively involved in the subsequent "economic miracle" and the achievement of a top world economic position by the Federal Republic of Germany."

So it seems the war economy took over. -- max rspct leave a message 20:29, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Cut from Economy of the German Democratic Republic[edit]

The following material was cut from Economy of the German Democratic Republic, but belongs probably here, as it is a general discussion of planned economies. Feel free to use it here. Sandstein 20:49, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Advocates of CPEs considered this organizational form to have important advantages. First, the government could harness the economy to serve the political and economic objectives of the leadership. Consumer demand, for example, could be restrained in favor of greater investment in basic industry or channeled into desired patterns, such as reliance on public transportation, like trains and trams, rather than on private automobiles.

Second, CPEs could maximize the continuous utilization of all available resources. Under CPEs, neither unemployment nor idle plants should have existed beyond minimal levels, and the economy should have developed in a stable manner, unimpeded by inflation or recession. Third, CPEs could serve social rather than individual ends; under such a system, the leadership could distribute rewards, whether wages or perquisites, according to the concept of "social value" of the service performed, not according to supply and demand on an open market.

Critics of CPEs identified several characteristic problems. First, given the complexities of economic processes, the plan must be a simplification of reality. Individuals and producing units can be given directives or targets, but in carrying out the plan they may select courses of action that conflict with the overall interests of society as determined by the planners. Such courses of action might include, for example, ignoring quality standards, producing an improper product mix, or using resources wastefully. Second, critics contended that CPEs have build-in obstacles to innovation and efficiency in production; managers of producing units, frequently having limited discretionary authority, see as their first priority a strict fulfillment of the plan targets rather than, for example, development of new techniques or diversification of products. Third, the system of allocating goods and services in CPEs was thought to be inefficient.

Most of the total mix of products was distributed according to the plan, with the aid of a rationing mechanism known as the System of Material Balances. But since no one could predict perfectly the actual needs of each producing unit, some units received too many goods and others too few. The managers with surpluses were hesitant to admit they had them, for CPEs were typically "taut," that is, they carried low inventories and reserves. Managers preferred to hoard whatever they had and then to make informal trades when they were in need and could find someone else whose requirements complemented their own.

Finally, detractors argued that in CPEs prices did not reflect the value of available resources, goods, or services. In market economies, prices, which are based on cost and utility considerations, permit the determination of value, even if imperfectly. In CPEs, prices were determined administratively, and the criteria the state used to establish them were sometimes unrelated to costs. Prices often varied significantly from the actual social or economic value of the products for which they had been set and were not a valid basis for comparing the relative value of two or more products to society, and this lead to what has been termed a shortage economy.

East German economists and planners were well aware of the alleged strengths and weaknesses of their system of planned economy. They contended that Western critics overstated the disadvantages and that in any case these problems were not inherent in the system itself. They directed their efforts toward preserving the fundamental framework of the system while introducing modifications that could address the problems just noted.

Massive state intervention[edit]

"Eastern became the first major airline to make a profit without taxpayer subsidy and continued to hold this enviable position for many years. World War II found Eastern Airlines in a position of stability that permitted it to go "all out" in assisting the war effort. Half of the fleet of 40 airplanes was turned over to the Armed Forces by V.J. Day and approximately 1,200 employees had been furloughed to enter military service. Eastern's Military Transport Division manned by EAL crews in Air Transport uniforms, operated from Miami to San Juan and Trinidad. It was later extended to South America and across the Atlantic to Africa by way of Ascension Island." - from [4]. Any comments? -- max rspct leave a message 02:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC)


I removed the use of the phrase Stalinist countries as examples of planned economies, since it is misleading word. The Soviet Union in 1956 refuited Stalin and "Stalinism" but still maintained a planned economy. Also the word "stalinism" is used only by pro-stalinists in a positive sense as in "Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism" or used by anti-soviet union"ists" in a negative sense, to make it different from Leninism or Marxism. Using stalinism which isn't a objective word doesn't belong in this article.

No Stalinism is an objective word and it is indeed different from Leninism and Marxism. (Demigod Ron 18:01, 24 July 2007 (UTC))

Actually Ron, Stalinism is not a objective word. While the implementation or not of Stalinism is objective, the "true" definition of Stalinism isn't. Which carried on into defining it's implementation. (talk) 03:17, 14 July 2010 (UTC) Sutter Cane

This proposed definition[edit]

"A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions about the production, allocation and consumption of goods and services is planned ahead of time, in either a centralized or decentralized fashion." Reading this definition, it seems that it would apply to just about any economic system.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 18:42, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

You're right. It's a ridiculous statement. Working Poor 19:12, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I have changed it to say "A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions about the production, allocation and consumption of goods and services are planned ahead of time by a single agency." -- Nikodemos 22:00, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Still makes little sense. Planned "ahead of time"? What does that mean? Planning is always done "ahead of time." That's what makes it planning. Can you plan retroactively? I don't think so. And why deleting my referenced info that North Korea and Cuba are planned economies? Economizer 02:40, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I apologize for deleting your referenced info (I simply did not see it - this is the danger of reversion...). However, you have also deleted previously existing referenced info through your revert. I have now edited the article to contain all references, both yours and the previously existing ones. I've also edited the definition to remove the phrase "ahead of time", though I insist on keeping "a single agency" as opposed to "the state", because, in principle, a planned economy doesn't have to be planned by the state. -- Nikodemos 03:05, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
If a "single agency" is telling businesses what to do, then that "single agency" is a state. That's what makes something a state. A state is institution that forces people to do things instead of letting them make their own decisions. You also took out objections to central planning when the government forces investment in certain drugs, which is always based on political pull, scheming, and collusion between business and government, instead of business responding to free market consumer demand. Economizer 03:20, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
The boundaries of the state are not well defined; is a public company part of the state, or is it a separate entity controlled by the state? The state could subcontract economic planning; or, in a society run by participatory economics or direct democracy, it may simply be difficult to determine who is or isn't part of the state. Thus "agency" is a better term, because it includes everything. As for the motives of state action (in your case, "political pull, scheming, and collusion between business and government"), they are a matter of your personal POV and do not belong in an encyclopedic article.
Note, by the way, that there is no one "telling business what to do" in a planned economy. Private business doesn't exist in such an economy (and therefore it cannot collude with anyone). -- Nikodemos 03:41, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Not true. Private business does exist in a planned economy. It's not necessary that a planned economy is all state-owned enterprises, such as in pure classic socialism. A planned economy can be all private business. What makes it a planned economy is that the state is making the production and distribution decisions instead of private enterprise being allowed to make those decisions themselves. Just as the article says, "In a centrally-planned economy, the planners decide what should be produced and direct enterprises to produce those goods." They are still private in the sense that they recieve in income from the sale of their goods. The income doesn't go to the government, except for income tax. It's just that they're not allowed to be completely autonomous, as they would be in a market economy. Economizer 03:50, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Are you sure you're not confusing this with a mixed economy? If a "private" business cannot make any decisions about its own economic activity, how is it private? Even the most corrupt businessman doesn't want the government telling him what to do (he wants to tell the government what it should do). Also, while I like the fact that you sourced your argument, could you possibly find a way to cut down on the length of your direct quote or otherwise summarize it? It is considered bad form to have paragraph-long quotes - if we have a long quote from one author, then another editor could claim the right to insert an equally long quote from another author, and then a third, and so on... you see the problem. -- Nikodemos 04:37, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
P.S. Just wanted to say you're doing a good job so far, and I'm glad we're working together on this and passed the stage of reverting. :) -- Nikodemos 04:48, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
You're making the same argument that some free market economists make. If the state is telling you how to price your goods, then how can you really be "private"? They say you might as well call the enterprise state owned because you don't have full rights over your own property. That's why some economists like to call the Nazi planned economy a socialist economy even though the enterprises were nominally private. So I agree that it's fuzzy. But, the point it they are not "considered" private enterprises in a planned economy, unless you're talking about a classic socialist economy. The "enterprises" are not considered to be state owned. I'll see if I can cut down my quote. Economizer 04:52, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
It depends on how much the state is telling you what to do, of course. The state could give you some directives but allow you to act independently otherwise, as long as you operate within certain boundaries. This is what a mixed economy does (and what the Nazis did - but of course the only reason anyone cares what the Nazis did with their economy is because they want to exploit the public knee-jerk reaction that Nazi=bad, so if you could prove that the Nazis used X policy, then X policy must be evil). For example, a price floor or a price ceiling is only partial state control; full state control (and planning) is when you have a fixed price that you cannot deviate from.
Anyway, at the very least you must accept the fact that there is a certain subset of planned economies which do not have private business of any kind. Therefore, any statements about business collusion may, at most, apply to some planned economies; certainly not all. -- Nikodemos 05:08, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
That may be a good thing to mention in the article actually. A planned economy is not necessarily a classic socialist economy. Regardless, "some" central planning can take place in an otherwise capitalist economy even if the the economy as a whole is not a "centrally planned economy." Economizer 05:02, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Already covered. See the section on planned economies and socialism. It basically says that a planned economy does not necessarily have to be socialist, and not all socialists support planned economies. -- Nikodemos 05:08, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Conflation of planned economies and taxation[edit]

The second paragraph of "Objections to centrally planned economies and central planning" reads as follows:

Some who oppose planned economies argue that some central planning is justified. In particular, it is possible to create unprofitable but socially useful goods within the context of a market economy. For example, one could produce a new drug by having the government collect taxes and then spend the money for the social good. On the other hand, opponents of such central planning say that "absent the data about priorities conveyed through price signals created by freely acting individuals, [it is questionable] whether determinations about what is socially important can even be made at all." Opponents do not dispute that that something useful can be produced if money is expropriated from private businesses and individuals, but their complaint is that "it’s far from certain that those monies could not have been spent better" if individuals were allowed to spend and invest as they wished according to their own wants. We can see things of value being produced by the state taxing and using those funds to undertake projects which are believed to be social goods, but we cannot we cannot see what social goods have not been produced due to wealth taken out of the hands of those who would have invested and spent their money in other ways according to their own goals. These opponents of central planning argue that the only way to determine what society actually wants is by allowing private enterprise to use their resources in competing to meet the needs of consumers, rather those taking resources away and allowing government to direct investment without responding to market signals. According to Tibor R. Machan, "Without a market in which allocations can be made in obedience to the law of supply and demand, it is difficult or impossible to funnel resources with respect to actual human preferences and goals.

While all these statements can individually be interpreted in certain ways such that they are technically true, the gist of this paragraph is that planned economies involve taxation: essentially narrowing the debate to state-capitalism against laissez-faire-capitalism. It is not made clear that the problems of mixed economies are not necessarily the problems of command economies and vice versa. While state-capitalism may be within the remit of the article, we need to make clear what we're talking about at any given moment. Therefore, I popose we split the section into subsections: Objections to primarily planned economies and Objections to planning within a mixed economy. Any objections? --Nema Fakei 12:13, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Any objections to planning within a mixed economy should go into the mixed economy article. -- Nikodemos 22:45, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
But what is objected about it is central planning. If you put it "central planning" in Wikipedia it directs to this article. Economizer 00:02, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, any objection to centrally planned economies are the same objections to central planning. The part of the article you're talking about is just as much as objection to centrally planned economies as it is to central planning itself. Maybe just change the title of the section to "Objections to central planning." Economizer 00:02, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

One sided view?[edit]

I think this article has a strongly one sided view on the nature of a planned economy, namely that of a centrally bureaucratically one. That there also is such a thing as a democratically planned economy is completely omitted. And yes, we already have an article about participatory economy, but that has some differences. And the sentence "While the term planned economy usually refers to centrally-planned economies, it may also be used to refer to decentralized systems of planning such as participatory economics." doesn't quite cover it imho. I think there should be a clear difference between bureaucratically (i.e.: the stalinist model) and democratically planned economy. What do others think about this?
Q-collective 03:03, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

If you want to get technical, laissez-faire capitalism is also a planned economy but the planning is done decentrally by private enterprise instead of by the state. All economies are planned, technically. But "planned economy" typically refers to a state-planned economy and that's what this article should be about. Improper Bostonian 04:01, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Scope of definition[edit]

I think the title is overly broad. We are actually describing the central planning imposed by socialist states. The idea of a "planned economy" as superset of this, has not been clarified.

Perhaps this is because the term "command economy" has a bad reputation, and the word "planned" sounds neutral or positive?

I'd like to move the article back to Command economy and focus it on the way Communist countries have regulated their economies. If someone can write a more general article which includes other types of planning, so much the better. --Uncle Ed 14:39, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, what other types of planned economies do you have in mind? Luis rib 15:08, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

command vs. planned yet again, please unmerge[edit]

Planned economy: an economic system in which the government controls and regulates production, distribution, prices, etc. [5]

Command economy: n economic system in which activity is controlled by a central authority and the means of production are publicly owned [6]

Command economies are a subset of planned economies. A command economy is necessarily a planned economy, but not vis a vis. I have friends who agree with me on this, and three professors. I mentioned this in the previous topic asking to unmerge the articles. A good example of command economy: USSR and the Five-year plans. A good example of just planned economy: Nazi Germany and the Four-Year_Plan. Although, yes, I agree that the terms are vague, but it's like liberal and conservative in its scope as to what it falls under, yet has specifics meanings between themselves.

If I don't receive any objections by the end of next week, I'll go ahead and at least restart the command economy article. Fephisto 02:36, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Isn't a "central authority" by definition a government? Instantiayion 13:14, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
It can be any agency, at any level. For example, kibbutz might not be a sovereign government, but it might have a central authority which directs its economic operations.
There are also "degrees" of control over the economy. Some economic planning may simply be guidelines. Other plans might require compliance with various stipulations. For example, Japan has a lot of planning in its economy, although not so much as a Soviet-style "command economy".
The differences in terms reflects the difference between the English words plan and command. In a command economy, there are usually severe restrictions on who can start a business and how large it can be. And typically, a black market emerges to evade onerous restrictions.
In a command economy, the central authority determines supply targets, manages factories and farms, sets prices. This may be "meant" to ensure fairness or efficiency, but Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said it never works. Hence, the "mixed economy" which tries to get the best of both worlds: using free market principles to at least get the "price signal" and to facilitate incentives for suppliers (including workers) - while also tinkering with various factors to ensure fairness and/or promote efficiency. --Uncle Ed 14:16, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
As I mentioned, it's vague, but it's not correct to say that command and planned economies are the exact same. Fephisto 15:04, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
"Planned economy" is definitely vague. But that leaves the question as to what the "planned economy" article would be about since "planned economy" almost always refers to a state-directed economy. Instantiayion 15:09, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I have an idea. How about just renaming this to "Command economy" since that's pretty much all it's about. Then just take out the couple lines that say a planned economy doesn't have to be centrally planned. Then make a "planned economy" disambiguation page with "Command economy" listed first. I guess a second choice in that list would be parecon.Instantiayion 15:19, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Note: You mean a planned economy doesn't have to have public means of ownership (the degree of public ownership, again, also vague).
Alright, looks like Ed is already doing something, but just to discuss it to death a little more. It seems as if there are three Options:
1)Split, have planned and command economies separate.
2)Have either a command or planned economies article with a specific section or planned or command economies respectively to detail the difference between the two.
3)As Instantiayion said, disambig page to detail the specifics of planned economies.
I would still go with 1, for the following reasons:
For 2: As far as my knowledge goes it's rather impractical, there would be a problem with all other wikipedia articles either linking to planned or command economies that would have to be redirected to instead the subsection, wouldn't it?
For 3: There are still specific details of what a planned economy is that are skimmed over. If you include parecon and command economies as the only subs, you're leaving out planned economical aspects that are found in almost every country in the world, and you leave out the all important definition. You might suggest to go ahead and have a little definition in the disambig page, but then you might as well create the full article with a "see also" tag to command economies and parecon. Fephisto 18:16, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
This split is not making sense. "Planned economy" nearly always refers to a state-planned economy (command economy). So this article would have to be nearly all about command economy. But then there is a command economy article now. I don't understand how this is supposed to work. Instantiayion 04:07, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Because the words have different meanings. It is incorrect to have planned and command economies as the same. If you don't understand this, please re-read my first response, the dictionary definitions, and please understand that one is a subset of the other. Fephisto 18:46, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
But are you sure they have different meanings? I think the term "planned economy" and "command economy" are interchangeable. They both mean an economy controlled by the state. The stuff in this article about planned economy referring to other things is, I think, wrong. The sources that are linked are not real sources. Take a look at them. The first one doesn't say that "planned economy" refers to anything but a centrally-planned economy. The second source is non-existent. The third source doesn't appear to be reputable but written by someone on the internet. How about this. Just delete those couple sentences in the intro that say "planned economy" can refer to something else. Then put a note at the top of the article saying "This article refers to what is otherwise known as "centrally-planned economy" and "command economy." For "Parecon" see that article. What do you think? Instantiayion 00:35, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I would be pleased to compromise at least if there's some mention to it somewhat like you're suggesting. So long as the expression 'command economy planned economy' is conveyed somewhere in the article. Fephisto 23:10, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
But it's rarely thought of as a subset. It's almost always used as a synonym. What do you think about my changes I just made? Instantiayion 00:40, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not rarely thought of like that, until now I haven't heard of them being interchangeable, I've given dictionary sources. Do you want me to start interviewing the economics professors I keep mentioning? If it's really interchangeable as you say, then to achieve NPOV I'd suggest mentioning both that they're interchangeable in some definitions and a strict subset in other definitions.
As for the other edits, I have no qualms about the other systems of economics you want to talk about, I don't really care about that, I'm just trying to edit a single fact correctly, so please let me make the single edit. I still believe that they /really/ should be unmerged, but either way the correct information can be placed into the article. Fephisto 04:51, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
There, I edited one little paragraph to mention this, and I'd be willing to compromise with at least this mention. If the example is too much, then delete that, so long as the main explanation of definitions stay. Fephisto 04:56, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok I think you may have something there, now that I see those definitions from the dictionary. That's a great distinction. I wasn't aware that the means of production had to be publicly owned to be a "command economy." If that's the case then it could make sense to have a separate "command economy" article. I'm going to look around for other sources to make sure. Hopefully it's not just that dictionary that has those definitions. Instantiayion 19:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Here are the definitions of the Unabridged version of the Webster dictionary: planned economy: "an economic system in which the elements of an economy (as labor, capital, and natural resources) are subject to government control and regulation designed to achieve the objectives of a comprehensive plan of economic development." Command economy: "an economic system in which activity is controlled by a central authority and the means of production are publicly owned" So, what you're saying is looking good. Instantiayion 19:48, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, I don't know why this didn't get across before, but this was the only distinction I wanted to make sure was noted. The edits you made look fine. Fephisto 03:25, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
My fault. I just didn't see it. Ok, looking around almost everyone uses planned economy and command economy as synonyms and many sources explicitly say they're synonyms. However, I found one source that says this: I found one source that says this: "Planned economy: An economic system in which the government, according to a preconceived plan, plays a primary role in directing economic resources for the purpose of deciding what to produce, how much, and possibly for whom. A planned economy may or may not be a command economy, depending on whether the government operates within a substantially authoritarian or a substantially democractic framework." This was in the Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Commerce. So it looks like to me there that it doesn't have to have state ownership of the means of production to be a command economy. Instantiayion 04:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

The question now is finding more sources to back these definitions up, correct? If this is the case, I'll need quite a bit of time as I'm quite busy to contact some actual people/books instead of websites to back up the definition of command subset planned, probably a month. Then according to the sources, it can be decided whether just the paragraph stays or a split should occur, is this O.K.? Fephisto 21:54, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Alright, so, officially, here are my small results:

Gary Stasko, my Econ Dmacc Prof. agrees with the definition I've given. Proof of this is pretty much class notes.

Joydeep Bhattacharya, probably more qualified (CV here:, said the following in a e-mail:

"as far as I know, there is [no difference]. A command economy is one controlled by a central authority (who sets prices and production targets etc.). A planned economy is exactly the same. Now, maybe it is the case that a command economy is the same as a 100% planned economy (no role for the market whatsoever) but a planned econom ymay just be partially planned and partially left to the market.

Hope this helps,


Also, most dictionaries that I've looked in libraries are more akin to state that command and planned economies are the same rather than the other way around. The actual mention of these topics in actual economics books, I have not seen.

Any opinions on where to go from here? Fephisto 20:16, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

It's a tough call. I suggest that we use specialized economics dictionaries and economics encylopedias or economics textbooks. I'm not sure that ordinary dictionaries would be that reliable. It may be that there is no consensus on whether they refer to the same thing or different things. I'll look for more definitions. Instantiayion 01:18, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
That "Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Commerce" makes a lot of sense though. It makes sense that the term "command economy" would be reserved for authoritarian regimes, so that a command economy would be a type of planned economy. But that seems to contradict the Webster dictionary definition. According to that definition the Nazi economy would not be a command economy but a planned economy simply because it was a private ownership economy. But that doens't seen to make sense. Hitler was the commander. I think the Webster dictionary is wrong. Instantiayion 01:32, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
We here of the New Deal in the U.S. as being a "planned economy" but I've never heard it called it "command economy." "Command economy" is only used in reference to authoritarian regimes. Instantiayion 01:35, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
What Bhattacharya makes sense too though ..that a command economy would have no markets, and a planned economy would have markets but planned ones. Instantiayion 01:39, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Command economy..."characterized by public (government) ownership of virtually all property Microeconomics: Principles, Problems, and Policies By Campbell Robertson McConnell, Stanley L. Brue ..well there's one that agrees with the Webster one. Instantiayion 01:51, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Seeing as how there are so many definitions, it might be the best to just keep the mention of these multiple definitions? Fephisto 12:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Maybe something like "Some define a command economy differently from a planned economy, but the distinctions between the two vary according to which source is referenced." And then list a few conflicting definitions in a footnote? Instantiayion 02:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good, try it out. Fephisto 14:24, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that there's any real difference between the two. "Command economy" is just a dysphemism for "planned economy" (asserting that the system is about nothing more than arbitrary commands). (talk) 19:18, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Yet some do make the distinction between the two, mainly in whether the government owns the means of production or not. Fephisto (talk) 18:07, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Centrally Commanded v. Centrally Planned v. Generically "Planned"[edit]

I must admit that I'm late to this debate but I think it has been framed incorrectly and so far conflate too many political and economic systems into "planned economy", which seems far too benign a term. There's a world of difference between "to command" and "to plan".

  • A command economy makes use of all the structures of the state to achieve the results of what it "plans" and "commands": legal, banking, taxation, police, military, commerce, labor, restrictions of private ownership, fixing commodity prices, tariffs, etc.
  • A planned-but-not-command economy has some restraint on state power so that private economic decision-making exists in a real sense, but is guided by some form of central planning directing some decisions.

Finally, free economies are "planned", that is by private economic agents. Unless there's been wide revision of economic texts in the last five years, "central" has to go along with the "plan" for this article title to make any sense. patsw 03:15, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

A free economy is not planned. Private economic agents don't plan the overall economy. They only plan their own activities. Rocket Socket 06:56, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Advantages / Disadvantages[edit]

I've been reading the article. I think the layout is wrong. Having an "advantages" section means that misleading and incorrect pro-planning points of view are given without balancing information. That section as it stands now is HIGHLY misleading.

I propose that the adv/dis sections are merged into a single section which covers, point by point, the major issues in economic planning, where each issue is properly covered.

Toby Douglass 17:03, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

The Advantages and Disadvantages headings are useful but there's a big chunk of text under each heading. It really needs more sub-headings and the sub-headings should at least partially correlate for quick comparison. A great many Wikipedia articles already use the Advantages / Disadvantages breakdown at the top level —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Perhaps there should be a link-off to a Criticisms of Planned Economies in the same way that most other articles link-off criticisms? Fephisto 17:47, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Whatsmore, there's little point discussing advantages and disadvantages if we don't talk about aims we want to achieve. Meeting collective objectives is a section which is a major disadvantage for me (and I believe for majority of people), as I believe that my well-being is far more important than mere existence of heave industries. Meeting collective objectives might be planned economy's advantage if the aim is for example producing enough tanks to defend the country in a war. In most cases the aim is at individual well-being and people don't wish to sacrifice. /tkadlubo —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

There is a lot of anti planned economy books out there which is are based on pro-"Free market" propaganda. This has made the disadvantage section 3 times bigger then the advantage section, with most of the references coming from right wing books. I think it should be balanced out by adding two new sections to advantages.

We should keep the three disadvantage sections and change the advantage section to the following.

1. Bigger project are easier for a plan economy as the have all their resources centralized. We see it today and in the past, that government with these type of model have an easier time bring in new infrastructure.

2. lower unemployment. It is noted that in 2012 in cuba unemployment is 3.8%, and in Laos 2009 it was 2.5%. These numbers from there own wiki pages with their own references.

3. Free healthcare, and other benefits. Cuba has been noted to have free healthcare and education for it citizens. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:12, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Hayek's Criticisms[edit]

This might go under the 'infringement on individual freedom' section, but I might as well throw it out there.

Hayek's book, The Road to Serfdom, which is typically pretty well-known (it made a few most-influential books lists) posits the argument, from what I understand it, that:

Once planning agencies start they will

  • Require autonomy from the legislative process to make decisions, leading to
  • A complex of individual plans between competing agencies, that will inevitably rise in
  • A dictator

Should I gather up the sources to at least have some mention of Hayek's work in here? Fephisto 13:15, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, theoretical support for the link between economic planning and dictatorship should go into 'infringement on individual freedom' subsection. Also note that there is a practical historic link as well, in the number of civilians killed by their own government (Communism has killed a lot), I don't have a handy reference right now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Alright, a sentence is at the end of the 'infringement on individual freedoms' section. I also added another note about the idea of the iron cage introduced earlier by Max Weber that fits in nicely. Fephisto 17:48, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Removed to talk, section does not meet wikipedia standards[edit]

I have removed the following to talk:

" ===Inefficient resource distribution — surplus and shortage===

Critics of planned economies argue that planners cannot detect consumer preferences, shortages, and surpluses with sufficient accuracy and therefore cannot efficiently co-ordinate production (in a market economy, a free price system is intended to serve this purpose). For example, during certain periods in the history of the Soviet Union, shortages were so common that one could wait hours in a queue to buy basic consumer products such as shoes or bread.[1] These shortages were due in part to the central planners deciding, for example, that making tractors was more important than making shoes at that time, or because the commands were not given to supply the shoe factory with the right amount of leather, or because the central planners had not given the shoe factories the incentive to produce the required quantity of shoes of the required quality. This difficulty was first noted by economist Ludwig von Mises, who called it the "economic calculation problem". Economist János Kornai developed this into a shortage economy theory (advocates could claim that shortages were not primarily caused by lack of supply).

There is also the problem of surpluses. Surpluses indicate a waste of labor and materials that could have been applied to more pressing needs of society. Critics of central planning say that a market economy prevents long-term surpluses because the operation of supply and demand causes the price to sink when supply begins exceeding demand, indicating to producers to stop production or face losses. This frees resources to be applied to satisfy short-term shortages of other commodities, as determined by their rising prices as demand begins exceeding supply. It is argued that this "invisible hand" prevents long-term shortages and surpluses and allows maximum efficiency in satisfying the wants of consumers. Critics argue that since in a planned economy prices are not allowed to float freely, there is no accurate mechanism to determine what is being produced in unnecessarily large amounts and what is being produced in insufficient amounts. They argue that efficiency is best achieved through a market economy where individual producers each make their own production decisions based on their own profit motive."

Reason: In the entire section there is just one reference and that reference is to a .doc format economics course wherein the author is not even clearly identified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BernardL (talkcontribs) 22:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Removed much of the article, after a long warning that there were no references[edit]

Perhaps it is a bold move, but I have removed most of the article because it has been completely lacking in references for a long time- thus it is totally unauthoritative. I have left the introduction intact because it is sourced and seems fairly npov. Editors can now feel free to build it up from scratch with reliable sources. Or if you disagree feel free to revert and I will not resist. But I think it is better like this, with much less disinformation. BernardL (talk) 23:01, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It wasn't completely lacking in references, and gradually new references were being added as well as better organisation of the material. Since neutral sources on this topic simply don't exist, it isn't all that easy. Well, maybe on second thoughts maybe Wikipedia isn't the best place for this sort of article. See if anyone bothers rebuilding it. ~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


A section about real-socialism (socialism of Central and Eastern European countries, that were the part of the Eastern block) is needed here. Kubura (talk) 14:05, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

It might make more sense to reference the relevant specific articles on those economies. e.g. Soviet economy. (talk) 10:55, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Problem with innovation/free markets/patents[edit]

In section: Lack of incentive for innovation The article suggests in a free market "inventors can reap huge benefits by patenting new technology". However there is a problem calling patents part of the free market.

From the article about Free markets on wikipedia: "The necessary components for the functioning of an idealized free market include.... ..... arguable patents"

I think it would be better to change the article to talk about the benefits on innovation without bringing the questionable topic of patents into it. ie: "inventors can reap huge benefits, by using innovation to improve or create a product, which would then be the best on the market and so can be sold at a high price" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Can patents exist under a planned economy? 10:53, 5 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The part about innovation no longer seems to be there. This makes the text "Robin Hahnel notes that, even if central planning overcame its inherent inhibitions of incentives and innovation" a bit of an orphan as it doesn't explain the inhibitions. I'm not an expert, but I think the problem with innovation in a planned economy is an essential flaw in the idea. Innovations are disruptive and unplannable by their very nature. I believe any planned economy inherently fails to innovate unless forced to compete like in a (cold) war. AdriaanRenting (talk) 22:56, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Rewrite needed[edit]

Vast tracts of this article are completely unreferenced, and as such amount to little more than the personal opinions of past editors. I believe a complete rewrite is needed, treating the subject of a planned economy from the perspective of the scholarly literature on comparative economic systems. -- Nikodemos (talk) 05:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

My edits[edit]

My edits constitute a expansion, not a rewrite. If you have objections to any specific edits, let's hear them.

The only edits to existing material include the removal of a fragment with statements like "Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement" (which are tangential to the subject of the article), and rephrasing of the statement that early-1930's economic policies of the Soviet Union resulted in a "significant decline in individual living standards", which was not only unsourced, but incorrect. --Itinerant1 (talk) 12:22, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

That is all very well, but some passages were deleted in your edit, regardless of whether we call it an expansion or a rewrite. I'm thinking about two sections in particular.
Nazi Germany did not have a true planned economy. Neither did the Japanese, but those managed to kill more civilians between 1930 and 1945 than Soviet Russia during 70 years of its existence. You can't really make an argument that all bloody murderers of the 20th century had centrally planned economies. Conversely, there are many examples of planned economies (e.g. Poland, Cuba) that did not require mass murders. So it's hard to see what kind of argument could be supported by the mention of these "megamurders". --Itinerant1 (talk) 20:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Is "The Road To Serfdom" primarily a critique of collectivism or of a central planned economy? Those are two different things. --Itinerant1 (talk) 20:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Corporations as centrally planned economies in miniature[edit]

The article raised this interesting point. Western economists studying the Soviet economy often regarded it as the world’s largest corporation. Seen from this point of view, the Soviet Union should have functioned adequately, assuming that the planners were well informed & competent. In a market economy, the economic planners are in private industry, & usually have good feedback on the effects of their planning. Feedback is the key, & poor feedback presumably explains the poor economic performance of the Soviet Union. DavidJErskine (talk) 12:19, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

consider that firms don't simply materialize as mega-corps, consider that being employed by a firm is voluntary and furthermore consider that socialist/communist regimes could not admit to being inadequate due to ideological reasons ("the superior economic system, by virtue of being scientific") while running a loss is something a firm won't like but certainly won't sweep under the carpet.
Consider that being employed by a firm, while judicially voluntary, is by no means economically voluntary, e.g. people (including children) working 12-15 hours per day on starvation wages (or sourcing chattel slavery e.g. child slaves in cocoa production), with inadequate precautionary measures, no 'benefits' etc. (whether during early industrial capitalism (circa 1800, before organised popular dissent compelled some welfare state measures: eight hour day, minimum wage etc.), or in the third world today.) Under the Russian totalitarian state-capitalist command economy (from circa 1917) economic growth was relatively successful and from circa 1930-1960 superior to United States growth as can be found in scholarship, and openly conceded in declassified US planning documents. Firms sometimes run at less than optimum short-term profits for strategic reasons, destroying competitors, breaking/deterring labour strikes etc. Notice that corporations frequently shift costs and risks onto sectors not party to transactions or decisions (usually socialised, and regressively so), for example, financial firms profiting by hiding risk in a 'negative-sum game' (in the terminology of game theory) leading to speculative bubbles, and, enormous and virtually unconditional public bailouts. It is estimated that forty percent of what is called world trade is intrafirm, ie violates market principles. Taking a firm's gross sales to be roughly the equivalent of a nation's GDP, 51 of the world's hunfdred largest economies are corporate command economies. Firms also engage in strategic alliances. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:03, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Equivalence of machinery and slave labor[edit]

Critics of centrally planned economies assert that people working for the State are not far removed from slaves. Any mechanized economy, planned or market, is a slave owning society because of the existence of machines. A backhoe does the work of, say, ten pick & shovel laborers, & the driver is the overseer of a mechanical slave. The more slaves the better, so long as the slaves are mechanical. It would seem that the Soviet economy was well placed to arrange large scale automation, & if such automation had happened, most Soviet citizens would, eventually, have moved up to the level of a leisured class. Accusations of slavery are unimportant if the slaves are mechanical. --DavidJErskine (talk) 12:45, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Customer is king, but who is the customer?[edit]

Economists sometimes declare that in a market economy the customer is king, that is millions of individual people, by their aggregate demand, allocate economic resources. That is individual people indirectly plan the economy. Seen this way, the state in a CPE can be seen as the customer for most, perhaps all, purchases, & so plans the economy by way of being a customer. I realise that individual people are still the end customers for food & clothes, but many other products, for example for defence, health & education, are bought by the state. Market economies also have state run defence, so the state is the customer for military products in a market economy, & so plans the defence sector. ---DavidJErskine (talk) 07:21, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Incidents of starvation in planned economies[edit]

It's unfathomable for me that an article about planned economies can contain no reference to the mass starvations in China, Communist Vietnam, Communist N. Korea and the SU. The wikipedia shouldn't be a place where revisionists of socialist/communist history have absolute free reign. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. Planned economy appears to the universal term. --rgpk (comment) 21:34, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Planned economyCommand economy — Planned economy is too vague and has led to users creating a new article out of disagreement with this article's title. An economic system whereby a highly centralized bureau or agency directs all economic activity is not a planned economy but rather a command economy. "Planned" can describe both a centralized and decentralized system. (talk) 22:57, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

That does not matter. The naming of this article is incorrect. Editors should strive to improve Wikipedia by properly naming articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I support a renaming of this article. It has been passionately argued for years. It is about time administrators hear this call. Please rename article to proper name "Command economy". 1 vote yea.~~FootnoteCitation12
  • Comment: It looks like this article addresses both publicly and privately planned economies. So command economy (the former) would not be inclusive enough would it? –CWenger (talk) 23:20, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Of course it would, because the article decentrally planned economy deals with that. This article is incredibly misguided. This must be changed. The votes seem to be in favor of it as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Support:In favor of a change. This article is very confusing and if it is not changed, I will no longer use Wikipedia, because I fail to believe Wikipedia is honest and accurate. (talk) 20:30, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose While "command economy" may represent a better use of English, the term that is almost universally applied here is "planned economy". --Bejnar (talk) 17:22, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Very confusing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The common name is planned economy, and it's a good topic and title in terms of WP:AT. There's a place to promote the theories and ideals that lead some to want this name changed, but it's not Wikipedia. Andrewa (talk) 02:44, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
    • PS By want this name changed I mean in general English usage, not just in Wikipedia. Language is a very powerful propaganda tool in that small changes in usage both indicate and, more important, produce large changes in public attitude. We're just a small part of the battle! The point being, this battle is simply not welcome here. Andrewa (talk) 19:17, 20 April 2011 (UTC)


Some Google searches for web, books and scholar:

  • Decentally planned economy: [7] [8] [9]
  • Planned economy: [10] [11] [12] (note these include the ones for decentrally planned economy but it's not a significant number)
  • Command economy: [13] [14] [15]

Interesting? I started these because I was interested in whether the decentalised planned economy article (an alleged content fork of this one, see above) is even an encyclopedic topic, but it appears to be so. Whether the current article there is NPOV is another question. While wanting to assume good faith it seems likely that there's at least a little POV in this topic area of Wikipedia at present. Andrewa (talk) 19:04, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Merger with Planisme[edit]

The Planisme article does not present a sufficient amount of information to stand on its own. As such, it should be merged here. Neelix (talk) 18:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Planisme now redirects here. However, I'm not sure it has properly been "merged", because this article doesn't mention planisme at all, nor its associated currents (Groupe X-Crise, neosocialism, etc.). --Delirium (talk) 15:52, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Is Lybia still a planned economy ?[edit]

It certainly was under Gaddafi, now economic reforms are planned, so I am not sure whether it should be still called a planned economy Diegoami (talk) 00:47, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

What is the difference between this page and Economic planning?[edit]

Just asking out of curiosity and wondering if they overlap. --JamesPoulson (talk) 11:44, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^