Seminar - Is it feasible to plan the economy? The socialist calculation debate – Jan Philipp Dapprich
21.10.2022 - 10.02.2023
Friday, 4-6 p.m., Room 3.06.S25
Socialists have long suggested that public institutions should directly plan the economy without markets, money or the private ownership of the means of production. In practice this has proven very difficult. Arguments put forward in the socialist calculation debate could explain why this was the case. From the 1920s onward, economists of the Austrian school have argued that without market prices, rational economic calculation becomes impossible. Socialists have offered a variety of responses. Market socialists have suggested that market mechanisms could be integrated into a socialist economy, while Cybersocialists argue that computers could replace the market as an outdated mechanism for economic calculation. In the seminar we will consider theoretical contributions on both side of the debate and discuss what the role of public institutions in planning the economy should be.
We will read selected early and recent contributions to the socialist calculation debate, starting with Mises’ 1920 article Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (https://mises.org/library/economic-calculation-socialist-commonwealth) which is seen as the starting point for the socialist calculation debate. A full reading list will be provided in class.