Svält trots mycket mat

Faran med planekonomi illustreras i den nya studien ”The Institutional Causes of China’s Great Famine, 1959-61”:

This paper investigates the institutional causes of China’s Great Famine. It presents two empirical findings: 1) in 1959, when the famine began, food production was almost three times more than population subsistence needs; and 2) regions with higher per capita food production that year suffered higher famine mortality rates, a surprising reversal of a typically negative correlation. A simple model based on historical institutional details shows that these patterns are consistent with the policy outcomes in a centrally planned economy in which the government is unable to easily collect and respond to new information in the presence of an aggregate shock to production.

Ekonomipristagaren F. A. Hayek har tydligare än de flesta förklarat hur marknadsekonomin fungerar som en kunskapsgenererande process, inte minst via prissystemet, utan vilken det är mycket svårt att effektivt allokera resurser — se ”Economics and Knowledge” och ”The Use of Knowledge in Society”. Studiens resultat påminner mig även om ekonomipristagaren Amartya Sens analys i Poverty and Famines, i vilken han finner att det ofta inte är brist på mat som orsakar hungersnöd. Snarare avgör politisk-institutionella faktorer.