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Group Description

A group from the non-market, non-state socialist/communist/anarchist sector to explore responses to the Economic Calculation Argument posed by the Austrian school of economics.

In his introduction to “Non-Market Socialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries” John Crump said:

“... if we use words accurately, it is unnecessary to qualify 'socialism' with 'non-market' because socialism is, by definition, a marketless society. The market cannot coexist with socialism because socialism means that society owns and controls both the means of production and the goods which result from productive activity. For the market to exist, some sectional interest (an individual, a joint-stock company, a nationalised concern, a workers' cooperative and so on) has to be in control of part of the social product, which it then disposes of by entering into exchange relations with others. Exchange cannot take place when society, and none other, controls the means of production and the social product. Far from socialism being compatible with exchange and the market, the generalised production of goods for exchange on the market is the hallmark of an entirely different type of society - capitalism.”

But, in the absence of the market, how will a non-market socialist society make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources?

Ludwig von Mises and his followers, who came to be known as the Austrian school of economics, argued that it would be impossible for a non-market socialist society without recourse to a price-mechanism to make rational resource allocation decisions. This, they argued, would result in gross inefficiency with disastrous consequences for society.

How would a non-market socialist society avoid being faced with an insolubly complex puzzle when attempting to make resource allocation decisions?

What contribution can we in our sector today make towards a potential method of economic calculation in a society of free association tomorrow?

Group Information

  • 20
  • Socialism
  • Feb 23, 2010
  • English

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