Irish Liberty Forum

Salerno on Socialism and Calculation

with 9 comments

Here is Joe Salerno’s excellent summary of the Economic Calculation Debate.

The sniping remarks about the utopian socialists are pure gold. Salerno also mentions Charles Fourier, the man who argued that not only would socialism be more productive than capitalism but that under socialism:

  • the North Pole would be milder than the Mediterranean
  • the seas would lose their salt and become oceans of lemonade
  • the world would contain 37 million poets equal to Homer, 37 million mathematicians equal to Newton and 37 million dramatists equal to Molière, although “these are approximate estimates”

The reality turns out to be very different.


Written by 20000miles

July 29, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Posted in economics, socialism

9 Responses

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  1. What is so good about being more productive? Surely, with all the overproduction, waste and pointless employment, the best philosophy would be one which reduces our productivity.

    Libertarian Capitalism certainly is the most productive ideology. In such an economy, increasing productivity and economic growth is essential.

    Is that, though, how we should shape our economy, simply focusing on maximizing production? It would be far better to focus on the quality of the economy, on what it produces; not on the quantity or its profit.


    August 2, 2009 at 7:02 am

    • Pricing is the method of choice in an economy. If it is desired then a more productive economy will pruce what will satisfy those desires. It will also create more leisure time for reflection, tham the less productive economy. If people become degenerate then the wizard of Oz will send a great flood to wipe the, off the face of the earth….
      More seriously, more will eventually beget more sophistication and better choices. I hope!

      Pat Donnelly

      August 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    • Dermot
      You have apoint that occurred to me.
      We actually produce too much which produces too much savings, and too much leisure time. I say too much because imbalances do occur. I was foolish enough to say that economics is dead lately, because of these excesses. With minor exceptions, our problems are of that nature and this requires at the moment in the eyes of many, but not mine, regulation. We should now start to apply economic principles to happiness. We certainly have no excess of that! That will also cut production and increase quality of life. Is that in accord with your point?

      Pat Donnelly

      August 6, 2009 at 5:30 am

  2. That may be the case, however socialist economies do face several problems in doing so: they have no profit and loss mechanism and therefore no idea on what to produce, how to produce it, and in what quantities.


    August 3, 2009 at 12:45 am

    • But at least they won’t produce bankers such as those in AngIB!
      Central planning can only survive if there is a suitable feedback mechanism. Pricing can become out of whack especially if bankers distort the mechanism with over cheap money. Generally, this has only recently happened via state monopoly of banking licenses and Fed interest rates. Nonetheless, pricing is a self setting feedback mechanism. It also has the useful stimulus for some, of encouraging effort. In capitalism, one man ruthlessly exploits thousands. In communism, it is the opposite……

      Pat Donnelly

      August 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

  3. I still think the most hilarious Marxist assumption is that in order for the State to whither away it must first absorb the entire economy, haha


    August 3, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    • Even in the USSR there was a black market which supplied the powerful.
      I wonder what North Korea is like? Grim?
      My main problem with absorbing is that it is done by force and this fascism is justified by good intentions.
      Switzerland has existed for some time as a democratic nation where defence is compulsory, albeit for males only. Despite the reliance upon parasitic banking and pharma industries it is perhaps surprizingly commune based.

      Pat Donnelly

      August 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

      • True, defense is compulsory but government power has been de-centralised to the cantons (Swiss provinces) and there is a strong culturally libertarian outlook amongst the Swiss (at least according to some Swiss students I met at the Mises Institute). Of course, power is slowly becoming more centralised in Switzerland. As 20000 points out, democracies are unstable systems!


        August 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

  4. And power does corrupt!

    Pat Donnelly

    August 6, 2009 at 5:25 am

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