, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 81-93

Relaxing benevolence: public choice, socialist calculation, and planner self-interest

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Abstract

The Austrian calculation argument suggests that inability to engage in economic calculation worsened outcomes in socialist states. We suggest that this is hardly the case. When Austrian assumptions of benevolence are relaxed, inability to engage in economic calculation prevents the non-benevolent planner from fully extracting all available surplus from the citizenry. Consequently, when planners are non-benevolent, calculation ceases to be a relevant argument against the desirability of central planning; its normative force reverses absent benevolent planners.

JEL Code P0, P16, P50