Released: January 1960
This important essay dates from the end of the fifties. At that time, the rapid rate of Soviet industrialization had directed the attention of economists to problems of economic growth of former colonial areas which had won political independence.
As Dobb points out, economists were chiefly concerned with the problems of growth under conditions of private ownership of capital and where investment is primarily under the control of private individuals or firms. The theories of economic growth in vogue at the time derived largely from the well-known growth conditions set forth by Roy F. Harrod and Evsey D. Domar.
Since these theories followed the Keynesian tradition in focusing attention upon the savings-investment relation, the question arose for Dobb as to whether they were applicable to a socialist or planned economy in which savings decisions and investment decisions, instead of being separated, are unified.
In this short book, therefore, Dobb considers the questions: Do such theories have a more universal application? Can they be applied to planned economies? If they can, in what form may such an application be made? If they cannot, what alternative approach is proper to analyzing problems of growth in a planned economy where capital is socially owned and investment thus subject to some degree of social control?
Half a century later, with the global regime of unfettered international capital markets in a state of utter collapse, the time has come for a return to the possibility of rational social and economic planning. This short clear book is again a necessary theoretical starting point for a post-capitalist future.