Language & the Socialist-Calculation Problem

Why do languages disappear? Well, there are lots of reasons, some of them more ‘natural’ than others. Globalization and colonialization are good examples, but few people think about the way governments often contribute directly (and indirectly) to language death.

So I decided to write an article on exactly that: language and the government. I argue that governments necessarily incentivize bad language policy and support fewer languages rather than more. In economics, this inability to create policies that accurately address the needs of its citizens is called the socialist-calculation problem, and that’s what this article is about.

The article is published on Mises.org, the online arm of the Mises Institute, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Austrian economics. Over 40,000 people read the Mises Daily articles each day, and they are eventually read by hundreds of thousands. Since there is almost no overlap between linguistics and economics, I felt this article was just itching to be written.

So have a read here, and let me know what you think! The link is also posted over at my Publications page.