By Martin Cave
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Additional info for Alternative Approaches to Economic Planning
The most obvious reason, first, was faltering economic performance. A second reason related to the gradual shift from so-called extensive to intensive growth processes. Third, the increasing complexity of economic activity became harder to regulate effectively by means of the traditional planning tools; in particular, there was increasing emphasis on the need to promote faster technological progress. Fourth, the inefficiencies of the traditional system itself became more apparent, especially in Eastern Europe where central planning was still rather young.
This organisational reform was accompanied by the announcement of impending change in the enterprise-level incentive system. In 1962 Professor Liberman had opened up a period of debate about enterprise incentives by publishing some proposals favouring the use of profit indicators instead of the more traditional gross output indicators. He also favoured a general reduction in the number of compulsory plan indicators which enterprises should receive, as well as some widening of their autonomy. Although it was widely recognised that the traditional system of indicators had many defects (as we discuss in the last section of this chapter and in Chapter 9), Liberman's suggestions were initially received without enthusiasm.
The most important and detailed plan is the annual plan, often broken down into quarters. This plan sets out targets for all aspects of enterprise behaviour in great detail, and it is legally binding. Failure to implement the plan puts the enterprise director at risk of criminal sanction, though in practice such measures are taken only in extreme cases. The remainder of this section outlines the process of compiling the annual plan, and the next section focuses upon plan implementation at the enterprise level.
Alternative Approaches to Economic Planning by Martin Cave