Re: [OPE] Charles Bettelheim’s contribution. Is there one?

From: Alejandro Agafonow (
Date: Wed Jun 25 2008 - 11:03:03 EDT

You are right Jerry, Bettelheim’s contributions are not to be found only in one book.
Do you know his reasons for overcoming the socialist calculation debate launched by Mises?
At first sight, reading his Clacule économique one has the idea that he was a Marxist intellectual working in isolation, citing only the fathers of Marxism and a few colleagues. But he was not.
He got involved in the Cuban debate about the law of value in a transition economy and had a lot on the field knowledge.
If his Clacule économique was conceived to deal only with the law of value, it is ok. But the title of the book and a few issues dealt with, require a lot of sources that he overlooked.
Maybe he faced Mises in the works you cited and that I don’t know. But Bettelheim is totally overlooked in the economic calculation literature.
Kind regards,
A. Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Enviado: miércoles, 25 de junio, 2008 15:00:45
Asunto: RE: [OPE] Charles Bettelheim’s contribution. Is there one?

> Charles Bettelheim’s contribution. Is there one?
>  Which was the contribution of Charles Bettelheim?
>  Concerning socialist economic calculation, I think that 
> Bettelheim’s considerations did not go far from what Karl 
> Kautsky (1902) and Otto Bauer (1919) attained.
> It is pretty much astonished since his Calcul économique 
> et formes de propriété was published on 1970!
Hi Alejandro:
There were many contributions of Bettelheim, but they are
not to be found only in one book. He published a book on the
Soviet economy as far back as 1945. He also wrote many works
on planning long before his book on economic calculation.
Most of these have still not been translated into English. 
A couple of early (and fairly conventional) books on planning 
which were published in English include _Studies in the Theory
of Planning_ (Asia Publishing House, 1959) and _Some Basic 
Planning Problems_ (Asia Publishing House and Statistical
Publishing Society, 1960).  His _Transition to the Socialist
Economy_ (Harvester Press, 1975; originally published in French in 
1968) is available on the Internet. In any event, if you want to 
understand his perspective better, you are probably better off 
looking at his multi-volume _Class Struggles in the USSR_ and 
his writings on the Chinese economy.
in solidarity, Jerry

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