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Towards a re-interpretation of the economics of feasible socialism

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  • Dic Lo
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

This paper re-examines the debate on whether socialism is feasible from the perspective of the literature on the division of labour and organisational forms. The central argument is twofold. First, each of the major protagonists in the debate provide a partial explanation as to when market socialism, planned socialism and participatory socialism are feasible. Second, the different perspectives on when socialism is feasible can be reconciled through seeing the arguments in terms of specific techno-economic paradigms, which are underpinned by their own concepts of the division of labour and efficiency attributes. The authors show that theories on the economics of socialism reflect different techno-economic paradigms and that when, and whether, the various views on socialism are appropriate depend on the prevailing external conditions, economic growth path and mode of institutional arrangement. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dic Lo & Russell Smyth, 2004. "Towards a re-interpretation of the economics of feasible socialism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(6), pages 791-808, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:28:y:2004:i:6:p:791-808
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/beh035
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Russell Smyth & Dic Lo, 2000. "Theories of the Firm and the Relationship between Different Perspectives on the Division of Labour," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 333-349.
    2. Bianchi, Marina, 1995. "Markets and firms Transaction costs versus strategic innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 183-202, October.
    3. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    4. Dietrich, Michael, 1986. "Organisational Requirements of a Socialist Economy: Theoretical and Practical Suggestions," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 319-332, December.
    5. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    6. Pranab Bardhan & John E. Roemer, 1992. "Market Socialism: A Case for Rejuvenation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 101-116, Summer.
    7. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Toward an Economic Model of the Japanese Firm," Chapters,in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 18, pages 315-341 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Pranab Bardhan & John E. Roemer, 1994. "On the Workability of Market Socialism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 177-181, Spring.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:33077903 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "The Politics of Market Socialism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 165-176, Spring.
    11. Adaman, Fikret & Devine, Pat, 1996. "The Economic Calculation Debate: Lessons for Socialists," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(5), pages 523-537, September.
    12. Brusco, Sebastiano, 1982. "The Emilian Model: Productive Decentralisation and Social Integration," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 167-184, June.
    13. Bruce Caldwell, 1997. "Hayek and Socialism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1856-1890, December.
    14. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
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    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions

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