The issue of economic calculation is one of the central themes of the entire book, and Mises breaks up the discussion over several chapters. In this chapter he focuses on what economic calculation is not — that is, he shows how there are quantitative relationships (in the natural sciences and in our technological know-how) that intersect “economic life,” but that these pieces of information alone do not suffice to solve the central problem of economic calculation.
The socialists, Institutionalists and Historical School attack the economists’ attention to the problems of the isolated individual, commonly referred to as “Crusoe economics.” Although it is necessary to first understand autarkic exchange before proceeding to interpersonal exchange, nonetheless there is some validity in the charge. Ironically, the Crusoe approach is inadequate because it cannot illustrate economic calculation, which is what vitiates the entire program of the socialists and other critics of the economists. FULL ARTICLE