Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Soviet Union and Centrally planned economies?

rated by 0 users
Answered (Not Verified) This post has 0 verified answers | 19 Replies | 5 Followers

Top 200 Contributor
468 Posts
Points 8,085
Wibee posted on Wed, Jul 11 2012 10:38 PM

I was thinking, given how technology has progresses since the soviet union, do you think a centrally planned economy has a chance of succeding and doing well?  Given all the data that can be gathered on purchasing trends and things of that nature.  


I am not saying it would compare to a truly free market system, or that it is moral.  But with the right people at the helm, it seems to me that technolgy has progressed to the point where the planners could receive many more statistics at a faster time-frame.  

  • | Post Points: 95

All Replies

Top 500 Contributor
217 Posts
Points 4,480
Answered (Not Verified) Seraiah replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 10:16 PM
Suggested by Anenome

I'm going to rock the boat on the Mises forums here and do what no one else is likely going to do because it is such a unique and special opinion on the topic of socialism and a centrally planned economy.

No! Socialism bad! DO NOT WANT! Calculation problem. No point in replacing currency with X. Fin.

"...Bitcoin [may] already [be] the world's premiere currency, if we take ratio of exchange to commodity value as a measure of success ... because the better that ratio the more valuable purely as money that thing must be" -Anenome
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
244 Posts
Points 5,455
Felipe replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 6:06 PM

That sounds like something a socialist would say.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
60 Posts
Points 840

The calculation problem that Mises talked about is not about purchasing trends and things of that nature, or about receiving statistics at a fast time rate, or about labor allocations for various "economic sectors", or about deciding WHAT should be made. Thus voting and polling and data gathering are totally irrelevant. The calculation problem is about HOW things should be made. And even the HOW is not about technical knowledge. It's about the CHEAPEST way to MAKE stuff [because that means the most efficient use of resources. Anything else will mean waste].

Who are you going to poll about that? Who knows what the cheapest way is? One person [=the govt] owns all resources, meaning there is no buying and selling of resources, because one person owns them all already. Thus there are no prices for resources, and thus no way of knowing what is the most efficient use of resources, which a free market tells you by the prices.

Obviously there are no computers who can figure out the cheapest prices when there are no prices at all.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
639 Posts
Points 11,575
cab21 replied on Sat, Aug 11 2012 4:00 AM


central planning cannot work as well as self planning. a self planner has all the potential for access to the best brains out there, without the gun pointed at the self planner to do what the central planner determines will be best for the self planners life.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
1,485 Posts
Points 22,155
Kakugo replied on Sun, Aug 12 2012 10:02 AM

Nikita Khrushchev understood the problem quite well, to the point he remarked on several occasions "Even if the whole world embraces Communism, Switzerland will have to remain capitalist to tell us the price of everything". He understood very well the problem is not as simple as data gathering and analysis: the problem is no accurate model can predict the consumers "whims".

Take this example: for years now Volkswagen has been pushing ultra-compact cars in the European market (first the Fox and now the Up) for over a decade now. Despite purchasing trend analysis (and Volkswagen has some damn fine people working in that sector), these cars have always been a resounding fiasco. I am sure VW did their homework and their analysts gave the green light for putting these cars on the market, yet consumers either choose to buy cars in same segment from other manufacturers or the larger, more expensive Polo. In short the market is telling VW "In spite of your analysis, we don't want an ultra-compact car from you". There are literally hundreds of such examples. It's an example of even how successful business like VW just cannot reliably predict how the market, which is made up of millions of individuals, each acting according to his/her will, will react as a whole.

Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
  • | Post Points: 5
Page 2 of 2 (20 items) < Previous 1 2 | RSS