- << ROBIN:
you apparently recognise that socialism would not
entail a centrally planned economy. >>
No, I recognise that you (plural) are working on a
blueprint for a type of socialism without central
planning. (And further that this blueprint is the
central topic of discussion on this forum).
All these millions of final goods and resources have
millions of alternative uses. And this, I stress, is
the scenario facing a single person." >>
Really? A "SINGLE PERSON"? Can't you see that this
sounds like this "single person" [is the] the central
No, actually I'm damned if I can imagine how you
jumped to that conclusion. Central planning is
clearly something much on your mind in some strange
way. Like a cheesy tune you hear on the radio and
hate, but can't stop singing?
The problem here is you snipped (and so ignored) the
bit contrasting this consumer scenario with the vastly
greater challange facing a central planner, who would
need to simultaneously deal with all the millions of
scearios that each single consumer faced.
To put it simply once more, any given consumer needs
to know what the combination of trade-offs they face.
One steak or five burgers... one steak or a half a
cinema ticket ... two and a half burgers or one cinema
ticket .... etc etc etc. Ditto a producer. >>
the economic calculation argument is about how you
efficiently allocate resources, it is not really about
the consumption of final goods which is what you are
on about. >>
But before you allocate resources you need to know
what to allocate them for. If there is enough meat
resource for 100 steaks or 500 burgers, how do you
calculate how much to allocate for each? How are these
opportunity costs transmitted to the consumer to
enable him to make a rational and informed decision?
the mechanism for ensuring the efficient allocation of
resources without market prices in the light of thier
opportunity costs(i.e. calculation in kind, a self
regulating sysytetm of stock control and the
crucially, the law of the minimum) >>
Calculation in kind is precisely what causes the
combinatorial explosion of choices problem.
And it gives the consumer absolutely NO idea of
opportunity costs - how many burgers he would need to
sacrifice for each movie ticket, say. It seems to me
what your blueprint needs more than anything else, is
a practical alternative to this non-starter.
you introduce a further consideration which you
obviously believe will enormously complicate matters -
"any given consumer needs to know what the combination
of trade-offs they face. One steak or five burgers...
one steak or a half a cinema ticket"
Why in the first place do you assume that there needs
to be a" trade off"?
> ...Because resources are finite. If you use a given cow
> Why can you not have a steak and 5 burghers, one
> might ask, to which you would no doubt respond
> because there is simply not enough to go around.
to make steaks, you forgo the burgers. This is a
simple fact true in ANY economic system you care to
name or invent.
your whole argument is not really about the ECA; it is
about the inevitability of scarcity which requires
some system of rationing
What is rationing if not the allocation of scarce
Well.. scarcity is an artificial construct created and
maintained by capitalism. >>
No it isn't. Using a cow for steaks means you can't
use it for burgers IN ANY SYSTEM.
your whole argument is grounded on the presumption of
scarcity whereas I am saying that this presumption is
No scarcity means you can use a cow for steaks and not
forgo using it for burgers.
You just cannot. The presumption is reasonable.
Do You Yahoo!?
Great stuff seeking new owners in Yahoo! Auctions!
> ROBIN: Ha! So after all this guff from BFJ that heNo, I was merely explaining socialist and capitalist
> is not advocating any particular method of calculating
> opportunity costs, we now discover that he
> does indeed advocate representing costs along a
> cardinal scale - i.e. in the form of a continuous
> quantity variable (which is what afterall money
mechanics as requested by Stuart.
(Why are you so desparate to believe I am advocating
> ROBIN: It is of course self evidently true thatSince money is exchangeable for any other good, having
> by using "money and markets" one is able to
> gennerate "information" about prices that will enable
> you to measure the opportunity costs of your decisions
> but ONLY in a very particular sense of the word - where
> these costs take a monetary form.
costs in a monetary form means having any good in terms of
any other good as well - the pure opportunity cost.
> ROBIN : So what you are saying really only amounts toIt is not a tautology.
> a tautology - that only a market system can measure
> opportunity costs
And I have not ruled out the possibility of someone coming
up with some new method. Or, failing that, socialists using
money and markets themselves.
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Sports - live college hoops coverage