Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The impossibility of economic calculation under socialism

HUMAN ACTION BY LUDWIG VON MISES:
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF ECONOMIC CALCULATION UNDER SOCIALISM
Part 5, Chapter XXVI. The impossibility of economic calculation under socialism in paragraph 5.
Today two methods are resorted to for providing a city with clean water. Either one brings the water over long distances in aqueducts, an ancient method long practiced, or one chemically purifies the water available in the city's neighborhood. Why does one not produce water synthetically in factories? Modern technology could easily solve the technological problems involved. The average man in his mental inertia is ready to ridicule such projects as sheer lunacy. However, the only reason why the synthetic production of drinking water today—perhaps not at a later day—is out of the question is that economic calculation in terms of money shows that it is a more expensive procedure than other methods. Eliminate economic calculation and you have no means of making a rational choice between the various alternatives.