Trocki nije jedini komunista koji je uvideo da je socijalističko ekonomsko planiranje nemoguće. Mnogo pre njega, sam Friedrich Engels je u kritici socijaliste Rodbertusa napisao nešto za šta bi da ne znate autora najozbiljnije pomislili da je deo nekog članka Misesa ili Hayeka iz debate o nemogućnosti socijalističke planske privrede. Engels pravilno predviđa i nešto što će se dogoditi u SSSR-u sto godina kasnije: imaćemo tone viška šećera a nestašicu kukuruza, imaćemo milione dugmića a nestašicu pantalona. Evo Engelsa:
To desire in a society of producers who exchange their commodities, to establish the determination of value by labour time, by forbidding competition to establish this determination of value through pressure on prices in the only way in which it can be established, is therefore merely to prove that one has adopted the usual Utopian disdain of economic laws.
Only through the undervaluation and overvaluation of products is it forcibly brought home to the individual commodity producers what things and what quantity of them society requires or does not require. But it is just this sole regulator that the Utopia in which Rodbertus also shares would abolish. And i f we have to ask what guarantee we have that the necessary quantity and not more of each product will be produced, that we shall not go hungry in regard to corn and meat, while we are choked in beet sugar and drowned in potato spirit, that we shall not lack trousers to cover our nakedness while trouser buttons flood us in millions. Rodbertus triumphantly shows us his famous calculation, according to which the correct certificate has been handed out for every superfluous pound of sugar, for every unsold barrel of spirit, for every unusable trouser button, a calculation which 'works out' exactly, and according to which 'all claims will be satisfied and the liquidation correctly brought about'.
If now competition is to be forbidden to make the individual producers aware, by the rise or fall of prices, how the world market stands, then their eyes are completely blinded'.