The economic calculation debate has confused almost everything. Once we grant some degree of delusive muddle on the left here we can turn to find the same on the right. The right has used the fetish of economic calculation to declare socialism impossible, but the argument has worn out. Proponents on the right have failed to grasp that capitalism is a failure and that the arguments here in the calculation debate are symmetric.
The issue has a host of resolutions, transitional hybrids, and in the age of the supercomputer many possibilities for new forms of planning that work.
The links we have provided here over the last week have cited the main economic texts/frameworks in the older debate: note that the use of neo-classical models in the work of people like Lange shows up the mainstream theories. Since the latter are wrong in any case, the perspective of Lange isn’t compelling anymore. But the point is clear: we can’t denounce Lange and then look the other way at neo-classical economics.
The whole debate is nonsense: we live in a mixed system (evidence that this is so can be seen in the fanaticism on the right to eliminate every last trace of ‘socialism’) and can move toward absolutely pure capitalism, as per the privatization frenzy, and start moving again in the opposite direction, with forms of social democracy that can transition to socialism, and finally communism.
Here’s a frankenstein hybrid idea: capitalist communism: the state/commons owns the properties of capital industrialism but these are roughly independent bodies run by agent/entrepreneurs. The issue of profit can be dealt with in many variants, e.g. temporary agency and some degree of profit followed by state expropriation, etc…
In general the calculation debate is a smokescreen that has confused the left, which refuses to study the matter.