What central planning is and what it is not
The idea of central planning is getting a very bad rap in this community. Of course there is an obvious selection bias involved. The people here are looking for ways to invest money that was earned under the (supposedly) free market, and most have a vested interest in the current system. Also when you have a vested interest it makes you think everybody who's praising the system is smart and everybody who is less sanguine must be stupid. This in only natural.
But I think there is also some genuine misunderstanding that results from propaganda exacerbated by lack of critical thinking skills. It is such a pity that we don't have critical thinking lessons in school. If we did, maybe it would be easier for us to see through the rhetorical tricks used by our free market fundamentalists. Or maybe not. (Let us all think critically. Repeat after me: we must always challenge the accepted viewpoint. Is that clear? Is there anyone in this room who does not want to challenge the accepted viewpoint? Get out of the room now!)
Central planning doesn't work, we are told, because the economy is such a complex system, it defies any attempt to plan it. Well, the complexity is part real but it's also part myth. A car is a very complex system if you look at its internals. Yet many people can drive it successfully without a Ph.D and even without a particularly high IQ.
If Toyota designed its cars for professional scientists only, it would be bankrupt from the first minute of its existence. If central planning required bureaucrats to have a stellar IQ, it would be doomed from day 1. Luckily, it is not necessary in either case. A system can be tricky as hell, but running that system does not need have to be difficult.
What does it take to become a stock market genius? There are two answers. The complex answer is to remember the current and previous prices of all 10,000 stocks, know every chart, read every news article and follow all earning reports for all your stocks. The simple answer is not to buy companies with PE of 50 and negative free cash flows. And guess what? The simple answer will work well enough in most cases. It will very likely work better that complicated market-beating strategies employed by the pros.
A man of average intelligence could easily prevent the financial crisis simply by checking the ambitions of men of high intelligence at AIG and Lehman who "knew" they could leverage themselves 30 to 1 because they were so intelligent they couldn't possibly fail. By the same token, you don't have to be a genius to run a planned economy. Sticking to simple common sense and avoiding obvious blunders will be more than enough.