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The Impossibility of Democratic Socialism: Two Conceptions of Democracy

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  • Makovi, Michael

Abstract

Andrei Shleifer and Robert W. Vishny (1994) have used Public Choice analysis to criticize market socialism. Peter J. Boettke (1995) and Peter T. Leeson and Boettke (2002) have argued that F. A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom (2007 [1944]) constituted a form of Public Choice analysis as well, in particular presaging an application of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem to democratic socialism. This essay demonstrates that additionally, Hayek's book adumbrated the distinction between liberal or limited democracy and illiberal or totalitarian democracy. This distinction between two conceptions of democracy provides another means of criticizing democratic socialism. The democratic political system and socialist economic system are fundamentally incompatible, making democratic socialism impossible, in the sense that democracy cannot fulfill for socialism what democratic socialists expect from it. Democratic socialism will fail, not because those in power will betray their trust or abuse their power, but because the fundamental institutional constraints of democracy are incompatible with socialist economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Makovi, Michael, 2016. "The Impossibility of Democratic Socialism: Two Conceptions of Democracy," MPRA Paper 70172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:70172
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/70309/1/MPRA_paper_70309.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Farrant, Andrew & McPhail, Edward, 2009. "Hayek, Samuelson, and the logic of the mixed economy?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-16, January.
    2. Makovi, Michael, 2015. "Two Opposing Economic-Literary Critiques of Socialism: George Orwell Versus Eugen Richter and Henry Hazlitt," MPRA Paper 62528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jesús Huerta de Soto, 2010. "Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13905, June.
    4. Lawson, Robert A. & Clark, J.R., 2010. "Examining the Hayek-Friedman hypothesis on economic and political freedom," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 230-239, June.
    5. Makovi, Michael, 2016. "Labor Economics in a Planned Economy: F. A. Hayek and John Jewkes on the Impossibility of Democratic Socialism," MPRA Paper 70174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Michael Makovi, 2015. "George Orwell as a Public Choice Economist," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 60(2), pages 183-208, September.
    7. Antonio Callari, 2009. "A Methodological Reflection on the “Thick Socialism” of Socialism after Hayek," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 67(3), pages 367-373.
    8. Makovi, Michael, 2016. "Interest Groups and the Impossibility of Democratic Socialism: Hayek, Jewkes, and the Arrow Theorem," MPRA Paper 70173, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Archer, Robin, 1995. "Economic Democracy: The Politics of Feasible Socialism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198278917.
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    Cited by:

    1. Makovi, Michael, 2016. "The Foreign Policy of a Democratic Socialist Regime: From Intervention to Protection to Warfare," MPRA Paper 70308, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Makovi, Michael, 2016. "Labor Economics in a Planned Economy: F. A. Hayek and John Jewkes on the Impossibility of Democratic Socialism," MPRA Paper 70174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Makovi, Michael, 2016. "Interest Groups and the Impossibility of Democratic Socialism: Hayek, Jewkes, and the Arrow Theorem," MPRA Paper 70173, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hayek; Road to Serfdom; democratic socialism; market socialism; economic democracy; totalitarianism; public choice; government failure; liberal democracy; illiberal democracy; arrow; impossibility; rent seeking; rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P30 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - General
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General

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