By Friedrick Hayek
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Extra resources for Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies
Now let us consider what this means. A merchant in Batavia exports coffee to the Netherlands and draws a long-term bill in settlement of the amount. For this bill he finds a buyer, either another merchant or a banking institution. If it be a merchant, then he buys it because he has to remit money; and why has he to remit money, if not for goods which he has received? If, however, he has received goods, then the capital which has to serve as the equivalent of the coffee has gone to Java before the coffee has left it.
The value of the function of capital in every country and in every branch of earning depends therefore upon the degree in which thp. country or the branch of earning are in need of capital. The various governments will have to look for a measure which will enable them to form a judgment as to this, and such a judgment will be in substance a determination of value. This is what I wished to prove. It is not a purely technical problem which is here in question, but rather a decision as to the most profitable way of employing material things; and the rightness of such a decision must depend upon the rightness of the evaluation which preceded it.
Of course if this attitude is based on a clear realization of what this choice implies there is no more to be said about it, except that it seems doubtful whether those who maintain it would find many who will agree with their idea. The real difficulty here is, of course, that for most people the decision on this point will depend on the extent to which the impossibility of rational calculation would lead to a reduction of output in a centrally directed economy compared with that of a competitive system.
Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies by Friedrick Hayek