The Economic Theory of a Socialist Economy

The Economic Theory of a Socialist Economy

The Economic Theory of a Socialist Economy

The Economic Theory of a Socialist Economy

Excerpt

The first draft of this book was written in the years 1932 to 1934, but the author was unable to find a publisher at that time. Thereafter, other interests occupied the author's attention until 1944, when a comprehensive revision of the manuscript was begun in anticipation of the present publication.

Since the year 1932, when the author began writing this work, a number of other writers have made important contributions to the economic theory of a Socialist economy. H. D. Dickinson, the earliest and ablest of these authors, had an article on Price Formation in a Socialist Community in the June 1933 issue of the Economic Journal, and in 1939 he published a more complete treatment of the subject, The Economics of Socialism. Between 1934 and 1938 a series of articles on economic calculus under Socialism, by E. F. M. Durbin, Oskar Lange, Maurice Dobb, and A. P. Lerner, did much to develop the theory of production control and pricing under Socialism. In this discussion A. P. Lerner stressed the importance of using marginal rather than average costs of production in controlling prices and production. In 1937 R. L. Hall published his brief but lucid and competent study, The Economic System in a Socialist State. Hall and Dickinson are the only English economists who have attempted to cover in some detail the economic theory of a Socialist economy. Oskar Lange article On the Economic Theory of Socialism, originally published in the Review of Economic Studies, was republished, with an excellent introduction by Benjamin E. Lippincott, by the University of Minnesota Press in 1938.

The fact that a dozen able articles and three brilliant pioneer monographs on the economics of Socialism have appeared does not, of course, make additional studies of this subject unnecessary. There will be more articles and books written on Socialist economics than have ever been written on Capitalist economics, and in that long series the present work will still rank as a pioneer study.

BURNHAM P. BECKWITH

BERLIN, GERMANY September 1948 . . .

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