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 Where Hayek and Marx Part Ways

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RR Phantom

RR Phantom

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PostSubject: Where Hayek and Marx Part Ways   Where Hayek and Marx Part Ways Icon_minitimeWed Aug 14, 2019 6:06 pm

One of the most consistently repeated criticisms of socialism coming from the economic right has to do with the inability of a centrally planned economy to efficiently allocate resources. They argue that this is due to the difficulty that arises from processing the large amounts of information that go into every economic transaction. While this criticism has some merit, I do not think it can be considered a criticism of socialism writ-large—but rather only of centralized Soviet-style socialism. This is an important issue to address from the Left because—with renewed interest in socialism around the world—much of the criticism coming from conservatives or libertarians invokes some version of this argument. More on this later, but first I want to address what I see as the fundamental insights that this line of critique provides. Perhaps the most famous thinker associated with it is Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. It is most clearly laid out in his article “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” which describes markets as mechanisms for the exchange of the total knowledge that is necessary to calculate the total production of allocation needed in an economy. This is what is commonly known as the calculation problem. The basic argument is that the knowledge needed for the full calculation of an economic transaction is so specific and sensitive to contextual variables such as time and place that aggregating it would be impossible, so it is best left decentralized and in the hands of the agents best suited to apply it: namely, individuals interacting in the market.

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