I'd like to discuss a bit on how train services would work in a socialist society with a decentralized and participatory economics and social planning. I hope to show just how it is possible to generate train schedules and other functions without central planning or a central authority. It begins with a question made by a advocate of central planning..
If you don't believe in a centally planned economy, how would train timetables be drawn up? I mean, you can't have decentralised train services can you? Someone has to have the authority to plan the way that a nation's train service operates.
I think you have a misconception of what it means to be decentralized and the absence of authority.
Here's what Bakunin had to say,
|Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer.|
|I bow before the authority of special men because it is imposed upon me by my own reason. I am conscious of my inability to grasp, in all its details and positive developments, any very large portion of human knowledge.|
-God and the State (1876)
The train federation, which consists of delegates from various train stations will adjust to each other through a system of requests and proposals. These proposals not only have to be ratified by the train federation, but also by the communities that it directly effects. This is obviously because any changes in the timetables may have a ripple effect. If you want to change the schedule for the train heading from Newark to Irvington, this will effect the schedule for the train heading from Orange to Cherry Hill and so on. Which may cause an inconvenience to workers.
So what would need to happen is community councils and regional meetings of the delegates of the communities, need to develop their plans for transportation (as well as other consumptions), and likewise, train station councils and federation would need to put forward their initial proposals terms of what they propose to do. Again, through a democratic and participatory process of proposals, requests, rejections, amendments, a time table that benefits the majority of people will be developed.
Through these proposals and by analyzing the data, facilitators note how there is a increase in the percentage of people who need to travel to Cherry Hill to Newark at a specific time range and a decrease of a need to travel to Cherry Hill to Passaic. Once the effects are examined and ratified by all parties, the new timetables are updated to adjust to these changes.
Again, this is just my conception of how decentralized planning of timetables will take place. Others may have other options and that's fine. This is just an abstract framework.