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The Alternative Austrian Economics

A Brief History

John E. King

For most economists, ‘Austrian economics’ refers to a distinct school of thought, originating with Mises and Hayek and characterised by a strong commitment to free-market liberalism. This innovative book explores an alternative Austrian tradition in economics. Demonstrating how the debate on the economics of socialism began in Austria long before the 1930s, it analyses the work and impact of many leading Austrian economists through a century of Austrian socialist economics.
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Chapter 5: The economics of socialism

John E. King


In chapter 5, on the economics of socialism, several distinctive Austrian visions of a post-capitalist future are compared. I contrast the alternative approaches to the economics of socialism taken in the first three decades of the twentieth century by Otto Neurath, who advocated a moneyless planned economy; Otto Bauer, who was strongly influenced by the ideas of the Guild Socialists in Britain; Karl Polanyi, who spent the 1920s in Vienna and was an early proponent of market socialism; and Otto Leichter, who argued that the labour theory of value could be used by future socialist planners. The chapter ends with two very different proposals, by Rudolf Goldscheid, who advocated a ‘state capitalist’ system, and by Walter Schiff, who mounted a vigorous (though not uncritical) defence of the central planning system that had recently been introduced in Stalin’s Russia.

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