In the English-speaking world the discussion of these problems began at a considerably later date than on the Continent, and, although it probably began on a somewhat higher level, thus avoiding many of the more elementary mistakes, and has in the last few years produced a number of important studies (also listed in the Appendix just referred to), it has made little use of the results of the discussions on the Continent.1 Yet clearly it is wasted effort to disregard these precedents. It is the purpose of this volume therefore to present within two covers the main results of the critical analysis of socialist planning attempted by Continental scholars. Together with the translation of Professor Mises’ major work and the companion volume containing Professor Brutzkus’ studies on Russia it should give a fairly comprehensive survey of the problems raised by any kind of planning.
The present volume, accordingly, is a collection of material, which may serve as a basis for further discussion, rather than a systematic or connected exposition of a single point of view. The individual essays here collected were not intended for publication in a single volume, but were written at different times and for different purposes. In nearly all cases the later articles were written in ignorance of the earlier ones. The inevitable effect of this is some degree of repetition and occasional differences of opinion between the authors represented. The arrangement follows the chronological order of appearance of the original essays, excepting that of Barone, which is relegated to an appendix only because it is decidedly more technical than the rest of the book. The second appendix contains a bibliography of the more important works on the same subject, which have been published since 1920.
In a concluding essay the editor has attempted to follow up some of these lines of thought and to examine in their light some of the more recent developments of English speculation. It is in this connection also that an attempt is made to assess the importance of the conclusions so far arrived at and to judge their relevance to the practical problems of our day.