The method of production control applicable in a society of free and equal producers is a fundamentally different one. There also measurements pertaining to work processes and mechanisation of the labour process, such as production lines, will exist, but now these will be technical measures for achieving and implementing the best working methods, desired and applied by the workers themselves in their respective productive establishments. This is the case, because, behind these measures, there stands not the whip wielded by the central commanding authority, which is motivated by the aim of achieving the greatest possible surplus, but the autonomous interests of the workers themselves, who with every increase in the productivity of labour simultaneously increase the total stock of useful articles available for society as a whole, to which stock all workers have an equal right. And it is here that the tasks discharged by the establishment responsible for social regulation and control over production begin. The system of social book-keeping, which of course is the clearing-house for all incomings and outgoings of the separate productive establishments, must keep watch over the incoming and outgoing stream of products, to ensure that these correspond with the productivity norms which have been determined for each respective productive establishment. Since under communism there can be no economic secrets, and since accordingly the reports issued periodically by the office of social-bookkeeping make publicly known the production situation at each separate productive establishment, the question of control is thereby solved. It simply ceases to be a problem.
Which organisations are responsible to intervene in the case of failures of, or departures from, the established procedures, and which decide the measures to be applied in such cases, represents a question in its own right; it properly belongs in the sphere of technical-organisational methods.
THE SYSTEM OF CONTROL OVER PRODUCTION APPLICABLE IN A SOCIETY OF FREE AND EQUAL PRODUCERS IS THUS NOT DEPENDENT UPON SUBJECTIVE DECISIONS REACHED BY OFFICIALS AND AUTHORITIES, BUT IS MADE EFFECTIVE THROUGH THE PUBLIC REGISTRATION OF THE MOVEMENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGH, OR THE PROGRESS ACHIEVED BY, THE OBJECTIVE PRODUCTION PROCESS ITSELF; IN OTHER WORDS, PRODUCTION IS CONTROLLED BY REPRODUCTION
We will now attempt to show by means of a schematic representation the precise form which the system of accounting control will take. Let us consider to begin with a process of production based upon average social production time. We have come to understand the concrete realisation of this category as a horizontal coordination of similar productive establishments. If we number the separate productive establishments belonging to a particular production group as Factory 1, Factory 2, Factory 3 .. and so on, to Factory N, and take the total of their production = t, then the following sum gives their total productivity:
The average social production time per kilogram of product is thus:
Average Social Production Time = (Pt + Ct) + Lt divided by Xt Kg Product.
Even in those cases in which a single productive establishment produces a variety of products, these can be readily calculated by means of the production cost factor applicable to each such product.
Thus the unit of Average Social Production Time (ASPT) is valid as the unit measure of productivity, and the productivity factor applicable to each establishment is determined by the degree of deviation from the average production time (see Chapter 4). Much other data can also be derived from the above formula, such as, for instance, the average social usage of P, C and L, which in itself already permits a certain amount of leeway in the comparative evaluation of the accuracy of the separate productivity factors. In this respect, therefore, the production group has no need of a State controller or auditor, because the factors requiring to be investigated lie within the sphere of competence of the united producers themselves. The unit of Average Social Production Time thus proves to be in itself a perfectly capable instrument of control at the disposal of the production cooperative as a whole.
The question must now be asked as to whether or not, when a production cooperative is formed, the producers must inevitably lose their right of control over production; in other words, whether or not a centralised group authority must as a matter of course arrogate to itself all power over production. Without doubt dangers are lurking here, since at any given moment there remain powerful tendencies inherited from the capitalist mode of production making for the concentration of powers of control in a central authority. In the instance of the production cooperative, for instance, attempts will almost certainly be made to vest authority over the application of the accumulation fund in the hands of a central management body. Should this ever actually come about, the separate productive organisations would no longer have any decision-making authority. It is also possible that an attempt will be made to establish such a central authority for each production group, which would then dispose of the right to distribute the incoming production tasks amongst the various associated establishments, as well as to hold control over the final product. The indigenous factory or works organisations would then become no more than the executive organs of the central administration, which would mean that for them only the maintenance of the system of book-keeping internal to the establishment would remain as their sole necessary task. To what extent matters might come to this would depend upon the degree of insight and energy brought to bear by the producers themselves. Certain it is that no progress will be possible without a sharp struggle against these tendencies. Whatever fine-sounding slogans may be bandied about, independent administration and control remain the mandatory demand from which the free producers must on no account depart.
Thus the productive establishment appears as an independent unit which cements its relations with other productive establishments and consumer cooperatives. In this way the producers hold full responsibility in their hands, and the necessary leeway is given within which independent initiatives may move and breathe, and for the creative energies springing from the liberated working masses to enjoy full scope. The significance of the system of horizontal coordination is thus no more than a matter of accounting control which is necessary for determining Average Social Production Time and, in association with this, the degree of productivity of the separate productive establishments comprising the cooperative. However, matters must not be permitted to remain static at that stage of development, but a process of mutual technical interpenetration and interdependence must also come to be established. However important in itself this process may be, it must nevertheless remain subordinate to the decisive and principled demand for independent control. And this is a matter concerning which we can agree with Leichter in affirming: "At first glance one will assume that each separate productive establishment is more or less independent; a moment one looks a little more closely, however, one will recognise quite clearly the umbilical cord which joins each separate productive establishment ... with the rest of the economy." However, the universal, all-regulating bond which in reality unites "each separate productive establishment with the rest of the economy" is the formula for production and reproduction. It is this which places all industrial establishments on the same foundation; production for the purpose of securing the conditions necessary for the reproduction of the economy represents the common foundation uniting all productive establishments.