Joakim Book Jönsson is in his second year of study towards a Joint Honours Degree in Economics and Economic & Social History at the University of Glasgow. He has previously attended the Mises University as well as the Liberty Fund symposium organised by the Austrian Economics Centre.
This paper ventures briefly into the famous Socialist Calculation Debate during the 1920s and 1930s between what become known as the Austrian School of Economics and various proponents of market socialism. It describes the standard account of how the debate unfolded, and the Austrian re-interpretation of this that led to its revival during the 1980s and 1990s, in order to examine the socialist responses and engagement with the problems of central planning originally raised by Mises. Five distinct socialist positions are investigated and put to the test of whether they actually engaged with the Misesian challenge. Two positions are concluded to have done so, but both are ultimately dismissed as not sufficient to dethrone the Austrian criticism of central planning.
Keywords: Socialist Calculation Debate – Central Planning – Labour Theory of Value – Money Prices – Subjectivism – Austrian School
Looking at the calculational debate and its revival in the last fifth of the 20th century, Joakim Book Jönsson provides a detailed excursion into modern history of economic ideas. Of those works revitalizing the calculational debate, the author identifies the work of Cottrell and Cockshott to be the most challenging one. Jönsson’s essay is not only interesting to those having historical concerns, but also to those who see future criticism of Austrian positions looming on the horizon.
A very stimulating essay.
On behalf of the jury,
Prof. Dr. Hardy Bouillon
Academic Advisory Board of the Hayek Institut