Scratch a Would-Be Planner: Robbins, Neoclassical Economics and the End of Socialism
Robbins’s central contribution to the debate on market versus plan links with identification of economics as science of how societies handle scarcity, a central contribution of the Essay. This was not a narrow focus on static efficiency; inflation was a key part of Robbins’s conception of (mis)handling scarcity. The irony that transition to the market led to movement away from the market in economics is analysed, highlighting the obscured role of macroeconomics, and questioning a new conventional wisdom that Russia should have followed the Chinese path of gradual and Pareto-improving institutional development. A conclusion is that the demise of the Washington Consensus should not lead to a new dogma: the neoclassical paradigm is not being replaced but extended.
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