[OPE-L:4772] Re: opposition to Hayek

Allin Cottrel (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 14:49:56 -0700 (PDT)

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Stephen Cullenberg wrote:

> >I'd like to second Paul's response on this issue. It is not
> >-- cannot be -- peripheral. If Mises and Hayek were right
> >on the issue of socialist planning, then the Marx-based
> >critique of capitalism is so much hot air.
> This is a very strong statement and one that I don't agree
> with at all... There are many powerful, persuasive
> critiques of capitalism, which are clearly Marx-based,
> ones ranging from efficiency to justness-based critiques.

The claim that capitalism is inefficient and/or unjust cuts
ice only if there is some possible alternative that is more
efficient and/or just. The alternative held up by
'classical Marxism' as more efficient and just involves the
social planning of production as a central plank. The
details of just what this means are left wide open, but the
Mises-Hayek argument is of sufficient generality that if it
works at all, it works against all variants of planning (or
in other words, if _any_ form of socialist planning offers a
degree of efficiency comparable to or better than the
capitalist market, then Mises-Hayek is refuted).

> An interesting one, that I've been reading lately is the
> in the work of David Ellerman and his arguments for
> democratic-owned enterprises.

Do Ellerman's "democratic-owned enterprises" constitute a
systemic alternative to capitalism or an institutional
reform within capitalism? If the former, what economic
mechanism is supposed to coordinate their activities, if not
some form of planning within the scope of the Mises-Hayek
critique? If the latter, then an argument in favour of them
is not a 'critique of capitalism' but a critique of a
particular set of institutional arrangements under
capitalism and -- whatever its merits -- has little to do
with Marx and Marxism.

Allin Cottrell