Enrico Barone's 'Ministry of Production': Content and Context
49 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2011
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Enrico Barone’s famous article on economic planning, "Il Ministro della Produzione nello Stato Collettivista" ("The Ministry of Production in the Collectivist State"), which showed the theoretical possibility of an economically efficient collectivist planned economy, was published in Giornale degli Economisti in 1908. Barone’s article has been widely cited, particularly in the comparative economic systems literature, but it has not been very widely read or analyzed in recent years, and there is not much literature that places Barone’s "Ministry" model in the context of his other works or in its historical, social, or ideological context. The aims of this paper are: a) to analyze Barone’s model in depth and to clarify a text which is often obscure; b) to interpret the most problematic passages using Barone’s other writings, and the later literature on the subject; and c) to examine the apparent contradiction between Barone’s hostility to socialism and his attempt to formulate the pure theory of the collectivist economy.
Keywords: history of economics, socialist calculation, collectivism, marginalism, Italian economic thought
JEL Classification: B13, B14, B31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation