Unequal Partners, Thomas Balogh. Two Volumes. Blackwells. 35/each. 253 pp, 296 pp.
Planning for Progress, Thomas Balogh. Fabian Pamphlet, 4/6, 48 pp.
Thomas Balogh’s Unequal Partners is a two-volume work reprinting essays, reviews, and articles spanning a period of over 30 years from the 1930s to the present day. Introductory passages in each volume—one devoted to “the theoretical framework”, the other entitled “historical episodes”—along with the short postscripts appended to each subsection of articles, serve to outline the development of Balogh’s thought from an uneasy neoclassical orthodoxy to his present socialist, if highly individual, position.
The politico-economic view which emerges from these volumes forms a background against which Balogh’s Fabian pamphlet Planning for Progress can be seen as a positive effort to indicate the prerequisites for a Labour Government which would have a genuine chance of implementing a step towards socialism.
The dominant theme of Unequal Partners is what might be called the Biblical Law of Capitalism—“to him that hath shall be given”: inequalities in economic strength and growth under a regime of unmodified capitalism, far from being inevitably evanescent, tend on the contrary to be cumulative and self-sustaining. A secondary theme, evidently to be explored in greater detail in a forthcomimg book, is the superiority of planned economies over those which are characterized by “decentralized decision-making”—a superiority derived essentially from that interdependence of economic decisions which passes unrecognized in institutional arrangements, and is inadequately provided for in the pricing systems of economies where decentralized decision-making is dominant.