Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Hiány és támogatott fejlesztés: Tendenciák az építőanyag-ipar irányításának történetében (1950—1975)

Gács, János (1976): Hiány és támogatott fejlesztés: Tendenciák az építőanyag-ipar irányításának történetében (1950—1975). Published in: Közgazdasági Szemle , Vol. XXIII, No. 1976. No. 9 (September 1976): pp. 1043-1060.

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The author discusses the interrelations between the shortages of building materials in Hungary and the way central control of the building materials industry is carried out. A survey of the history of the latter shows that the development of the industry by central planners was always closely related to the actual supply situation — considering the characteristics of the industry, in fact, too closely. The author illustrates the interrelations observed—both in a quantified form and in a graph— with the help of two indicators, the first showing the shortage and the second central efforts for development. The article then seeks to answer the following questions: What is the reason for the fact that, although central control always wanted to secure adequate supply for the long run, the equilibrium between the production of and the demand for building materials time and again became upset for longer periods. Why does it seem that the major development waves of the building materials industry were generated merely by actual supply problems, and not by a weighing up of the long-term development of demand? Frequent unexpected changes in demand are realities in this branch of industry; this is demonstrated by several examples. The control of the branch, as an integral part of the national economic planning system, relies on the strongly determinative role of the medium-term national plan and thus it assumes that the fluctuations in demand observed in the past will not occur in the future. In the course of a medium-term plan period there is only limited possibility for adaptation to sudden changes in demand, since the overwhelming part of the investment funds necessary for the expansion of capacities is allocated among the branches at the beginning of the period. Thus, the task of adaptation devolves on the medium term plans formulated every five years. Experience has shown that in most cases medium term planning was characterized by the acceptance, and mechanical projection of short-term tendencies. This planning and control system reckons in the short-term with a high safety —much higher than actually necessary—and thus, from among the various methods of adaptation to unexpected changes in demand, it gives an emphatic role to the expansion of fixed assets carried out in a centralized industrial organization. On the other hand, it does not pay sufficient attention to the application of flexibly changeable technologies that would help establishing reserve capacities.

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