When people mourn Allende today, it’s worth stressing that a big reason to mourn is what really terrified the American Empire, beyond his manifest good: Cybersyn. I’m not especially in favour of strong command and control economies. But Cybersyn was a big breakthrough which might have permitted a centralized socialist economy to hold its own efficiently and responsively. This could not be permitted, so the USA took him out in a coup.

What would Cybersyn have looked like in 2019?


@Shufei Cybersyn was not centralized, it facilitated autonomous organization between factories with the main control room only acting as a high-level support system for problems which couldn't be resolved normally factory to factory (the lower levels organize themselves and only send requests to central if overwhelmed and unable to resolve issues with other factories). It is crucial to understand that the factories would be autonomous and decision-making made from below with only troubleshooting from the top (no overrides) because that's what scared the shit out of the U.S.

@thufie Wow, ok, then I’m even more impressed. Thank you for that clarification! I’ve not read as much about Cybersyn as I’d like, and what I have made it sound like Allende had fine control from the economic situation room. Can you please recommend a good primer for learning the political, economic, and technical nuts and bolts of the system, both as implemented and yet planned expansions?

@Shufei well the Cybersyn (Cyber Syndicalism btw) Wikipedia page has a good high-level summary. If you want more details about cybernetics you can start with Stafford Beer's Designing Freedom. ada.evergreen.edu/~arunc/texts
I've heard that a good account of the project itself is in the book Cybernetic Revolutionaries, but I haven't looked at that.

@thufie Thanks, that’s about where I should look, ha, Wikipedia. Well, I retract my ill informed asterisk regarding command and control. I didn’t know they were integrating infotech feedbacks to syndicalist control at such a date and with such sophistication.

Wow, that really must have scared the pants off people in Washington. What Chile might have become had it been allowed to flourish a few decades...

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