Someone please define "free market".
I was taught in Economics that at best, the "market" was an abstraction. The supply and demand mythology of Classical and Neo-Classical Economics are such a gross misrepresentation of reality that they can only be viewed as marginally helpful abstractions.
There is no such thing as a "free-market economy".
"Command and control" is an incendiary propaganda term for Communist economies. When a Capitalist Fascist is considered "a strong leader", a Communist, who is good at getting people to work together, "rules with an iron-fist".
The trouble, with what you have read about other systems, Dan, is that you have been reading Capitalist propoganda. Had, a fair and balanced viewpoint been presented then the propaganda term, "command and control" would have been replaced by what it really was, is, and really could be in the absence of Capitalist imperialist militaristic hegemony and propaganda, "plan and implement".
Now, I know that many, if not most, people on this Community Development Banking list are well intentioned and motivated to do good. Others are Capitalist opportunists. Some may actually believe the brainwashing that they got from second rate Economists, Economics teachers, and Economics texts prepping the good lemmings for Business School. Have any of you ever read texts on Comparative Economic Systems written before what you so presumptively thought was the extinction of cooperative communitarianism, socialism, communism?
We are in the belly of a monster, Capitalism. That is my point. More troublesome, perhaps, is that monster is in your bellies and your brains.
To put this all in perspective, the following letter written to a well intentioned soul who wanted to start a "Bank for the Common Good" should clarify the point(s) that I am trying to make:
Response to Bank of Common Good
Thanks for the note. I have been aware of your project for many months, now.
The Common Good Banks and the Peoples' Equity Union, with neighborhood "branches", regional planning boards, and a worldwide policy committee, have a very similar mission and goals.
We both seem to want an economic democracy that deals directly with social and environmental injustices.
First of all, let me point out, that a "Bank" by definition, is owned by investors who expect a profit and make decisions based on that expectation. If the financial institution were owned by depositors, and democratically controlled (at least in theory) then it would be a credit union. We already have plenty of those (I belong to one), but they are irrelevant with respect to issues like equity, sustainability, lack of humanity, lack of social justice, pollution, health care, education, communications, etc.
Please read my essay, "Reforming Financial Systems" (on this blog), about the problems associated with the use of credit, and with the Capitalist Financial system as a whole. Then read other related essays, "A Double Payer System...", and "Transitioning to an Equity Union".
I am absolutely convinced that a Socialist Financial system (exactly what the Peoples' Equity Union would be) coupled with an Ecological Economic Planning function cannot co-exist with the current Capitalist system of Finance. We must transition, we must all cooperate during the transition, not compete.
In Capitalist competition models, we have what Economists call "externalities". Externalities are social and environmental costs that the Capitalists ignore. If they are dealt with at all, they are usually left for Governments to attend to, to clean up, to pay for. Or, they are subject to expensive and usually ineffective regulation policies, programs, and processes.
Because Capitalist Financial and Business organizations eschew externalities, a Bank for the Common Good, so-called Responsible Investing Firms, and the like would be at a huge disadvantage, because they absorb (pay for) the costs associated with omitting and/or relieving social and environmental costs. Therefore, although these ideas are great with respect to their intentions, they will be sure to fail.
The only solution, I see, is a socialist evolution. That is what I am proposing with the Peoples' Equity Union. Please read more (on the blog - the entire blog is relevant) and let me know if you feel comfortable spreading the word. It's is still too early to form a Board of Directors, but I welcome you, your inner circle, and any and all that you have interested in your project, to take a very close look at mine.
Thanks for writing, and feel free to give me a call at (541) 343-3808, if you care to discuss.
With much love and care,