Socialist Calculation: The Competitive ‘Solution’

“Socialist Calculation: The Competitive ‘Solution’.” Economica N.S. 7 (May 1940): 125–149.


“Two chapters in the discussion of the economics of socialism may now be regarded as closed. The first deals with the belief that socialism will dispense entirely with calculation in terms of value and will replace it with some sort of calculation in natura  based on units of energy or of some other physical magnitude. Although this view is not yet extinct and is still held by some scientists and engineers, it has been definitely abandoned by economists. The 2nd closed chapter deals with the proposal that values, instead of being left to be determined by competition, should be found by a process of calculations carried out by the planning authority, which would use the technique of mathematical economics. …

In the present article we shall be concerned mainly with a third stage in this discussion, for which the issue has now been clearly defined by the elaboration of proposals for a competitive socialism by Prof. Lange and Dr. Dickinson. Since, however, the significance of the results of the past discussions is not infrequently represented in a way which comes very near to an inversion of the truth, and as at least one of the two books to be discussed is not quite free from this tendency, a few further remarks on the real significance of the past developments seem not unnecessary.”

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