chapter  XII
14 Pages

The Planning of Future Action

In the discussion of forward markets and of indicative planning in the previous chapter of this part, we have so far ignored some of the basic problems which will confront the individual decision-maker. We have spoken of systems of contingency markets, of conditional forward markets, and of comprehensive indicative planning, as if each private decision-maker would have little or no difficulty in deciding what his future programme of purchase and sales should be along each possible environmental path provided only that (i) he knew by means of the contingency prices, of the conditional forward prices, or of the future prices revealed by the indicative plan what market conditions he must assume to be associated with each environmental time-path and (ii) was free to make his own subjective estimate of the probability of each environmental time-path. In other words, we have assumed away the difficulties which any individual private decision-maker might find in making up his mind how much to buy or sell forward of each good and service at each point of time in the future conditional forward markets, once he knows the conditional forward prices quoted in the market. Similarly, in the case of the formation of an indicative plan we have assumed away the difficulties which a private decision-maker might find in reporting to the governmental planners how much of each good and service he would expect to buy and sell at each future point of time along each environmental time-path on the assumption that the course of future market prices along each path would be that which was indicated by the planners.