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The Economic Calculation Debate: Lessons for Socialists

Fikret Adaman and Pat Devine

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1996, vol. 20, issue 5, 523-37

Abstract: This paper summarizes the standard account of the economic calculation debate, the modern Austrian reinterpretation of the debate based on the centrality of tacit knowledge and discovery, and a neglected third strand in the historical debate, Dobb's insistence on the uncertainty associated with atomistic decision making and the need for ex ante planning. It then draws some lessons for socialists from the debate and considers a possible market socialist response to the modern Austrian challenge. The paper ends by outlining a model of participatory planning that incorporates both the modern Austrians' insight into the importance of tacit knowledge and Dobb's insistence on ex ante coordination. (c) 1996 Academic Press Limited Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Date: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:20:y:1996:i:5:p:523-37