Following a short presentation of the striking deficiencies of plan instructions and ‘financial regulation’ — the formal means of control of today's socialist centrally planned economies — we state that in actual fact these are not the basic means of control in these systems.
The basic means of control is mobilization. Historically, this method originated from the declared unity of society. People — first of all economic managers — have to identify themselves with the objectives declared by the authorities. Moreover, the deficiencies of the formal means of control perpetuate the basic task assigned to mobilization.
Campaigns are a specific kind of mobilization, meant for the implementation of new national economic objectives or tasks that have become newly important. Although mobilization facilitates the functioning of the economic system, we also have to underline two kinds of its negative consequences. First, mobilization oversimplifies the economic problems, ‘tasks’ which in reality are tremedously complex. To be sure, some tasks can be implemented with its help, but certainly at high costs. Second, the never-ending repetition of the prevailing (campaign) slogans and the fact that they cannot be really contradicted weakens the capacity of central planners to forecast the future.