Magazine June 03, 2019, Issue

Central Planners Cannot Know Enough

F. A. Hayek (Wikimedia Commons)
Socialism and the ‘knowledge problem’

In his 1920 paper “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth,” the economist Ludwig von Mises dealt what should have been an intellectual death blow to socialism, showing, as he put it, that “rational economic activity is impossible in a socialist commonwealth.” Mises expanded on the argument in his Socialism, and F. A. Hayek took up what came to be known as the “knowledge problem.” Socialism, which purported to be scientific before it purported to be humanitarian (both claims have proved false), assumes that all relevant knowledge is essentially scientific in character and that economic problems may be solved in more

This article appears as “The Ignorance That Kills  ” in the June 3, 2019, print edition of National Review.

In This Issue

Against Socialism

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

Don’t tear up your tickets just yet: We hear the Kentucky Derby loser is appealing to the Ninth Circuit.

Going Postal

Bernie Sanders tweeted a hot new idea: ‘Did you know that from 1911-1967, Americans could bank at their local post office?’


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