New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 7: Final Considerations
This final chapter will begin with an analysis of the contributions of three theorists – Durbin, Dickinson and Lerner – who, in line with the approach Lange defined with his “classic model”, also attempted to formulate a “competitive” solution to the problem of socialist economic calculation. We shall particularly focus on the innovations these authors sought to introduce, with respect to Lange’s model, and whether or not they were able to comprehend and answer the challenge originally issued by Mises. We shall conclude that “market socialism” amounts to an essentially contradictory and hopeless attempt to achieve an absurd goal, to “square the circle”. This view is also held by a group of socialist theorists who, led by Maurice Dobb, have always pointed to the conflict between traditional socialism and the competitive model, and in fact, a secondary debate emerged, strictly in the socialist camp, between supporters and critics of market socialism. The chapter will conclude with a few final thoughts on the true meaning of the impossibility of socialism and the contributions of Austrian theorists. 1 OTHER MARKET SOCIALISM THEORISTS A large portion of the last chapter was devoted to a careful analysis of Oskar Lange’s proposals. Generally speaking, they are the most commonly cited and considered by the secondary sources which, thus far nearly always in a biased, erroneous manner, have described and commented on the controversy over socialist economic calculation. At the same time, the other market socialism theorists, more often than not, simply repeat Lange’s original arguments, though they...
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