Commensurability and beyond: from Mises and Neurath to the future of the socialist calculation debate

Greenwood, D. 2006. Commensurability and beyond: from Mises and Neurath to the future of the socialist calculation debate. Economy and Society. 35 (1), pp. 65-90.

TitleCommensurability and beyond: from Mises and Neurath to the future of the socialist calculation debate
AuthorsGreenwood, D.
Abstract

Mises' 'calculation argument' against socialism argues that monetary calculation is indispensable as a commensurable unit for evaluating factors of production. This is not due to his conception of rationality being purely 'algorithmic,' for it accommodates non-monetary, incommensurable values. Commensurability is needed, rather, as an aid in the face of economic complexity. The socialist Neurath's response to Mises is unsatisfactory in rejecting the need to explore possible non-market techniques for achieving a certain degree of commensurability. Yet Neurath's contribution is valuable in emphasizing the need for a balanced, comparative approach to the question of market versus non-market that puts the commensurability question in context. These central issues raised by adversaries in the early socialist calculation debate have continued relevance for the contemporary discussion.

KeywordsSocialism, calculation, commensurability, money, rationality, value
JournalEconomy and Society
Journal citation35 (1), pp. 65-90
ISSN0308-5147
YearFeb 2006
PublisherTaylor & Francis
FileGreenwood_2006_final_author.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/03085140500465857
Publication dates
PublishedFeb 2006

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