Grey Room

Plan and Council: Genealogies of Calculation, Organization, and Transvaluation

Sven Lütticken, Sven Lütticken

2023 Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann. Updating Page 62/ Bitcoin, 2019. From the ongoing series (since 2003) updating Otto Neurath, ed., Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft: Bildstatistisches Elementarwerk (1930).


Key leftist participants in the socialist calculation debate considered neoclassical economics to be a more universal model than Marxian political economy, which is ultimately a critical theory of the capitalist economy; this is precisely what made drawing up the outlines of a postcapitalist economy such a challenge for Marxists. In engaging with these arguments, I trace genealogies of political theory and activism as well as artistic practices that have sought to challenge and problema- tize dominant—neoclassical and neoliberal—economic imaginaries. My con- tention is that the calculation debate was haunted by an organization debate in which the top-down central plan had the self-organized workers’ council as its dialectical counterpart.