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The Impossibility of Democratic Socialism

Makovi, Michael (2015): The Impossibility of Democratic Socialism.

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Abstract

The Public Choice criticism of democratic socialism by F. A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom (2007 [1944]) and John Jewkes's The New Ordeal by Planning (1968 [1948]) differs crucially from more recent Public Choice criticism of market socialism by Andrei Shleifer and Robert W. Vishny (1994) and deserves a restatement. Shleifer and Vishny show that market socialism will fail to properly incentive rationally utility-maximizing political actors, and that it will entail unacceptable economic inefficiencies. But Hayek and Jewkes go further and show that democracy as a political system and socialism as an economic system are fundamentally incompatible, making the system of democratic socialism logically incoherent. Democracy cannot fulfill for socialism what democratic socialists expect from it. Democratic socialism will fail, not because those in power will betray their trust or abuse their power, but because the fundamental institutional constraints of democracy are incompatible with socialist economics.

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