I have ‘resumed’ (presumed) in Last and First Men a project to resurrect a neo-communinist/socialist perspective. I am not naive, in fact, am a ‘virtuous’ theorist (eh?) in checking out the hard problem/problems: the calculation debate. I have Rivalry and Central Planning, by Don Lavoie (eighties or so) on my kindle app (smartphone), an attempt to make life hard all over again for socialist ‘naifs’, viz. challenges to challenges, i.e. Lange and Lerner’s challenge to Mises’ books in the early twenties. I can’t think of a more confusing debate requiring access to a university library, and some prep courses in economics which I never took. My current research method is credit card debt to buy books at Amazon, not bad. That won’t work with the calculation debate, although I have found a lot of the required books at Amazon, one for $0.01, a totally boring but useful text, The Theory of General Economic Equilibrium by R. Kuenne. But I see the handwriting on the wall: experts so named still control this discourse. Actually the internet is slowly, or rapidly, changing research possibilities. Nothing more than Wikipedia on this classic debate starts to warm up as indicating future research could be done online alone: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_calculation_debate
So I am not naive about socialism, but even a little research (I did a lot in the nineties before net happy days) suggests the Mises faction hasn’t won the debate. Clearly a top level view suggests the obvious: a balance of systems is always the case and movement toward a far higher degree of planning (whether market socilism or pure socialist planning) is safe from Von Mises et al. And in the long run a post-market social economics can’t be ruled out. If our situation is desperation confronting climate apocalypse, then the planned economy at its most grotesque ‘bolshevik borscht’ might prove inevitable.
The handwriting on the wall is that an inefficient economic system might have saved the ecology…
Here is the first paragraph from the foreword to Von Mises’ Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, the classic blast over the bows in the era (1921) of the period of Bolshevik ‘war communism’.
The twentieth century has witnessed the beginning development, and end of the most tragic experiment, in human history: socialism. The experiment resulted in tremendous human losses, destruction of potentially rich economies, and colossal ecological disasters. The experiment has ended, but the devastation will affect the lives and health of generations to come.
Here is the same paragraph with /capitalism replacing /socialism
The twentieth century has witnessed the beginning development, and end of the most tragic experiment, in human history: capitalism. The experiment resulted in tremendous human losses, destruction of potentially rich economies, and colossal ecological disasters. The experiment [is about to end] has ended, but the devastation will affect the lives and health of generations to come.
We can see that at a point of desperation, back to the will, the old Von Mises arguments seem less compelling.