Dokument The German historical school on the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism

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The German historical school on the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism

Dr. Eduard Braun, Clausthal University of Technology

In this paper, evidence is provided that Ludwig von Mises’s calculation argument against socialism was anticipated in the 19th century by Bruno Hildebrand and Albert Schäffle, two members of the German historical school of economics. It is further argued that it is no coincidence that it was the research program of the historical school which led to this result. When it comes to the institutions that are dealt with in business management, particularly monetary calculation and business capital, Austrian economists would be wise to forget the old animosities and to rediscover the contributions of their former adversaries in the Methodenstreit.

1 Introduction

Many arguments against socialism are well­known to most people, be they professional social scientists, politicians, or lay persons. A very popular argument, for example, is that a system of socialism provides the wrong incentives to laborers and bureaucrats and generally presupposes an unrealistic concept of man. The most forceful argument against socialism, however, is still little­known to the present day notwithstanding that Ludwig von Mises presented this argument as early as 1920 in a prestigious journal of social sciences. H...

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