In the longstanding debate in political economy about the feasibility of socialism, the Austrian School of Economists have argued that markets are an indispensable means of evaluating goods, hence a prerequisite for productive efficiency. Socialist models for non-market economic calculation have been strongly influenced by the equilibrium model of neoclassical economics. The Austrians contend that these models overlook the essence of the calculation problem by assuming the availability of knowledge that can be acquired only through the market process itself. But the debate in political economy has not yet considered the recent emergence of agent-based systems and their applications to resource allocation problems. Agent-based simulations of market exchange offer a promising approach to fulfilling the dynamic functions of knowledge encapsulation and discovery that the Austrians show to be performed by markets. Further research is needed in order to develop an agent-based approach to the calculation problem, as it is formulated by the Austrians. Given that the macro-level objectives of agent-based systems can be easily engineered, they could even become a desirable alternative to the real markets that the Austrians favour
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