Oskar R. Lange 101: Polish Economist and Diplomat
Zatrun Published at April 01, 2023

Oskar R. Lange 101: Who is a Polish Economist and Diplomat? In our article of we will cover in detail everything you need to know about the Polish economist and diplomat Oskar R. Lange, who our readers are curious about.

Who is Oskar R. Lange?

Oskar R. Lange (October July 27, 1904 – October 2, 1965) was a Polish economist and diplomat, known for advocating the use of market pricing tools in socialist systems and for providing a model for market socialism. He was born in Tomaszów Mazowiecki to Arthur Julius Lange, a Protestant producer, and his wife Sophie Albertine Rosner. Lange’s ancestors, 19. he had emigrated from Germany to Poland at the beginning of the century. He studied law and economics at the University of Kraków.

Then in 1928 he defended his doctoral thesis under Adam Krzyżanowski. Oskar worked at the Ministry of Labor in Warsaw from 1926 to 1927. After that, he went to University of Krakow to work as a research assistant from 1927 to 1931. He married Irene Oderfeld in 1932, then a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship brought him to England in 1934. England, from where he emigrated to the United States in 1937, Lange became a professor at the University of Chicago in 1938. He was also naturalised as a U.S. citizen in 1943.

Oskar R. Lange responded to the economic calculation problem proposed by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek by claiming that in a centrally planned economy managers could keep track of supply and demand through changes in stock levels, and advocated nationalisation. During his time in the United States, Oskar R. Lange was an academic teacher and a researcher in the field of mathematical economics. Later he became a member of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party in socialist Poland.

His Career Life

Joseph Stalin, who described Lange as left-leaning and a Soviet sympathizer, approached President Franklin D to obtain Lange’s passport for an official visit to the Soviet Union so that Stalin could talk to him personally. He won against Roosevelt. In October, Stalin offered him a position in the future Polish cabinet. Oskar R, as the State Department believes that his political views do not represent either the Polish-American or the American public. He opposed Lange’s travel as an ambassador.

Oskar R. Lange’s trip to the Soviet Union in 1944 caused further controversy, as the newly formed Polish American Congress condemned him for representing the interests of the London-based Polish government-in-exile. Lange returned to the United States at the end of May and met with the government-in-exile. Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk is in Washington at Roosevelt’s request. Lange stressed how willing Stalin was to be reasonable.

Bust of Oscar R. Lange

II. Towards the end of World War II, Oskar R. Lange severed ties with the Polish government-in-exile and transferred his support to the Lublin Committee (PKWN), sponsored by the Soviet Union. During the Yalta Conference discussions on post-war Poland, Lange acted as an intermediary for Roosevelt and Stalin.

After the war ended in 1945, Lange returned to Poland. He later renounced his American citizenship and returned to the United States the same year as the first Polish ambassador to the United States. in 1946, Lange also served as Poland’s delegate to the United Nations Security Council. from 1947 he lived in Poland.

Oskar R. Lange worked for the Polish government while pursuing his academic studies at the University of Warsaw and the Main School of Planning and Statistics. from 1961 to 1965 he was the vice-president of the Supreme Court of Poland and therefore one of the four vice-presidents of the Court.

Oskar R. Lange’s Academic Contributions

Most of Lange’s contributions to economics came in the United States between 1933-45. Although he is an ardent socialist, Oskar R. Lange was critical of the Marxist labor theory of value because he believed in the neoclassical theory of price. He is probably best known for his work “On the Economic Theory of Socialism”, published in 1936, which famously Deconstructed Marxist and neoclassical economics into one.

In the book, Lange advocated the use of market mechanisms, especially neoclassical pricing theory, in the economic planning of socialism and Marxism. He suggested that central planning boards should adjust prices as shortfalls or surpluses occur, rather than relying on the trial-and-error method to determine prices. In this system, central planners would arbitrarily set a price for products produced in state factories and increase or decrease it according to whether it caused scarcity or abundance. After a few such economic experiments, mathematical methods would be used to plan the economy: if there was a shortage, prices would be raised; if there was a surplus, prices would be lowered.

Raising prices will encourage enterprises to increase production in the desire to increase their profits, thereby eliminating shortages. Lowering prices will encourage enterprises to reduce production to avoid losses, thereby eliminating the surplus. In Lange’s opinion, this type of market mechanism simulation will have the ability to effectively manage supply and demand. Proponents of this idea argued that it combines the advantages of the market economy with those of the socialist economy.

His Other Works and Ideas

Using this idea, Oskar R. Lange claimed that a government-run economy would be at least as efficient as a capitalist or private market economy. If government planners use the price system as if it were a market economy and instruct government sector managers to respond parametrically to the prices set by the government (for example, cost minimization, etc.) he argued that it was possible.

His argument was one of the axes of the socialist calculation debate with the economists of the Austrian School. At that time, the British socialists of the Fabian Society believed Lange had won the argument. His work provided the earliest model of market socialism. Hayek’s article entitled “The Use of Knowledge in Society” is a rejection of Oskar R. Lange’s work and is considered one of the most important articles written in the field of economics.

Lange has also made contributions in various other fields. he was one of the leading lights of the “Paretian Awakening” in the theory of general equilibrium in the 1930s. in 1942, he provided one of the first proofs of the First and Second Welfare Theorems. He initiated the stability analysis of the general equilibrium (1942, 1944). His criticism of the quantity theory of money (1942) led his student Don Patinkin to develop the remarkable “integration” of money into the general theory of equilibrium.

Lange was also influential in the neoclassical synthesis, which attempted to reconcile Keynesian and neoclassical economics. Oskar Lange devoted his research to integrating classical economics, transforming neoclassical economics into a single theoretical framework (as in 1959). In his later years, Lange also studied cybernetics and the use of computers in economic planning. In recognition of his work, Lange was awarded an honorary fellowship by the International Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) in 1962.

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