On the feasibility of technosocialism
Originally published in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Technological advances associated with computing power and the prospect of artificial intelligence have renewed interest on the economic feasibility of socialism. The question of such feasibility turns on whether the problem of economic calculation has fundamentally changed. In spite of the prospect of what King and Petty (2021) refer to as “technosocialism,” we argue that technological advances in computation cannot replace the competitive discovery process that takes place within the context of the market. We do so by situating the case for technosocialism in the context of the socialist calculation debate. Understood in these terms, technosocialism represents a restatement of the case for market socialism, which incorrectly framed the “solution” to economic calculation under socialism as one of computing data, rather than the discovery of context-specific knowledge that only emerges through the exchange of property rights. Therefore, the arguments put forth by Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, and later Israel Kirzner and Don Lavoie, regarding the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism remains just as relevant today.