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This chapter provides a comprehensive survey of the contributions of the Austrian school of economics, with specific emphasis on post-WWII developments. We provide a brief…
This chapter provides a comprehensive survey of the contributions of the Austrian school of economics, with specific emphasis on post-WWII developments. We provide a brief history and overview of the original theorists of the Austrian school in order to set the stage for the subsequent development of their ideas by Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek. In discussing the main ideas of Mises and Hayek, we focus on how their work provided the foundations for the modern Austrian school, which included Ludwig Lachmann, Murray Rothbard and Israel Kirzner. These scholars contributed to the Austrian revival in the 1960s and 1970s, which, in turn, set the stage for the emergence of the contemporary Austrian school in the 1980s. We review the contemporary development of the Austrian school and, in doing so, discuss the tensions, alternative paths, and the promising future of Austrian economics.
There are more scholars teaching and actively engaged in research associated with the Austrian School of Economics now than at any other time in its history. However…
There are more scholars teaching and actively engaged in research associated with the Austrian School of Economics now than at any other time in its history. However, there is still something seriously wrong within the Austrian School and changes must be made both individually and collectively. In this piece, the author first discusses scientific progress with an emphasis on the individual behavior that is required to contribute to science, and the horizontal relationships that are required for the spread of ideas within a scientific community. Next, the author discusses the example of the Austrian school from 1950 to today in terms of these horizontal relationships within the profession and, in particular, in comparison with other mainline contributors during the same time period. The author then will address the multiplicity of horizontal relationships that might be explored as alternative discourse communities in the contemporary intellectual landscape. Lastly, the author concludes that the Austrian School of Economics must cultivate an explicit awareness of plausible, intrinsically interesting, and creative research agendas, and must therefore regard their work as a productive input into the ongoing research production of others within the broader community of economists and political economists.
Historians of economic thought have begun to reintegrate “un-Austrian” Austrians back into discussions of Austrian Economics, yet many scholars have argued that the…
Historians of economic thought have begun to reintegrate “un-Austrian” Austrians back into discussions of Austrian Economics, yet many scholars have argued that the Austrian School dissolved after emigration, with only Mises and his followers left to carry on the legacy. This chapter argues that a renewed focus on the networks established by the Austrians themselves, before and after emigration, reveals a distinctly different picture of Austrian Economics. Focusing on their shared interest in international trade theory and business cycle theory and their continued contributions to economic methodology, we see the émigré Austrians advancing Austrian ideas while also reconstituting and elaborating new Austrian affiliations. Ultimately, we find ourselves in agreement with Herbert Furth that Austrian Economics is far broader than Hayek, Mises, and their acolytes would have it, and that it is vital to understand and preserve this more diverse tradition by investigating more closely the works of Haberler, Machlup, Morgenstern, and others.
The chapter argues that, for the long-term successful survival of the Austrian School as a distinct school of thought, the work on the theory must not be sacrificed in the…
The chapter argues that, for the long-term successful survival of the Austrian School as a distinct school of thought, the work on the theory must not be sacrificed in the name of short-term success in producing applied pieces of scholarship and of communicating with the mainstream. Advances in modern work in pure theory and methodology provide a necessary glue connecting individual pieces of applied research – and the debates about boundaries of the school contribute toward the reappraisal of Austrian School identity.
In this chapter it is argued that the future of Austrian economics is best sought in the field of philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), with a strong and diverse…
In this chapter it is argued that the future of Austrian economics is best sought in the field of philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), with a strong and diverse connection with civil society. The authors demonstrate the limitations inherent in the discipline of economics for Austrian economists, which consist of its narrowness as well as its near-exclusive focus on improving government policies. The authors suggest that the burgeoning field of PPE is a more natural home, and one that provides the great continuity with the broad social philosophical origins of the Austrian School. The chapter emphasizes the comparative strength of Austrian economics in direct relation to the public as well as civil society organizations, compared to the purely academic nature of many other economic schools and fields. But the authors warn against a too narrow ideological or too concentrated financial relationship with a small set of civil society organizations. The chapter illustrates some of the dangers and opportunities through a comparative history vis-à-vis the evolution of ordoliberal political economy in Germany.
This article does not pretend to represent an exhaustive survey of all the differences and similarities existing between Joseph Schumpeter and his fellow Austrians. To…
This article does not pretend to represent an exhaustive survey of all the differences and similarities existing between Joseph Schumpeter and his fellow Austrians. To have carried out such a task would have required a detailed knowledge of the literature which was beyond that of the present writer. Instead, what is offered here is a particular interpretation of the major characteristics of Austrian economics, the relationship of Schumpeter to these, together with some fragmentary evidence in support of the views expressed. The article begins with a brief resumé of the leading personalities of the Austrian School of Economics. In the second section the suggestion that Schumpeter was not a true member of the Austrian School is examined. It is shown that the minor differences which did exist between Schumpeter and his colleagues on technical questions are more than outweighed by agreement on the substantive issues of their economic analysis. The third section deals with the attitudes of the Austrian School to questions of method while the remaining sections deal with the classical tradition in the theory of economic growth.
The Austrian School of Economics, pioneered in the late nineteenth century by Menger and developed in the twentieth century by Mises and Hayek, is poised to make significant contributions to the methodology, analytics, and social philosophy of economics and political economy in the twenty-first century. But it can only do so if its practitioners accept responsibility to pursue the approach to its logical conclusions with confidence and absence of fear, and with an attitude of open inquiry, acceptance of their own fallibility, and a desire to track truth and offer social understanding. The reason the Austrian school is so well positioned to do this is because (1) it embraces its role as a human science, (2) it does not shy away from public engagement, (3) it takes a humble stance, (4) it seeks to be practical, and (5) there remains so much evolutionary potential to the ideas at the methodological, analytical, and social philosophical level that would challenge the conventional wisdom in economics, political science, sociology, history, law, business, and philosophy. The author explores these five tenants of Austrian economics as a response to the comments on his lead chapter “What Is Still Wrong with the Austrian School of Economics?”
In this chapter it is argued that when the Austrian revival takes place in the 1970s and 1980s the image of economics as an analytical science which can be…
In this chapter it is argued that when the Austrian revival takes place in the 1970s and 1980s the image of economics as an analytical science which can be methodologically kept clean from value judgments, and the economist as a pure truth-seeker shapes modern Austrian economics at the expense of an idea of a socially involved, embedded scholar with a responsibility toward society which was characteristic of the pre-WWII Austrian school. The neglect of that part of the Austrian heritage is important not only for how we understand the role and responsibility of the social scientist but also because it alters what we consider to be relevant and valid economic knowledge. The chapter demonstrates that insight into economic processes was excluded from what was considered valid economic knowledge and how social relevance of knowledge was no longer a goal in the postwar Austrian School. The chapter identifies alternative currents in the modern Austrian school to this general trend and suggests ways forward to think about the appropriate institutions to promote relevance and the moral conduct of (Austrian) economics.
Bloomington scholars are critical of the rather wide-spread “Model Platonism” of both Austrian and Chicago economists. Their empirical, B, perspective avoids the more…
Bloomington scholars are critical of the rather wide-spread “Model Platonism” of both Austrian and Chicago economists. Their empirical, B, perspective avoids the more extreme views of both Austrian “mindful economics,” A, and Chicago “mindless economics,” C. Yet the B is not a mere convex combination of A and C. It is rather a psychologically grounded empirical evidence-oriented approach that keeps clear of the non-empirical spirit of von Mises’ and Selten’s methodological dualism on one hand and the instrumentalist and behaviorist spirit of much of neo-classical economics on the other hand.
This is a, somewhat indirect, rejoinder to Boettke (2019, this volume, Chapter 1). Doing Austrian economics is low prestige: Austrian economics does not get published in…
This is a, somewhat indirect, rejoinder to Boettke (2019, this volume, Chapter 1). Doing Austrian economics is low prestige: Austrian economics does not get published in high-prestige journals and Austrian economists are not employed by top universities. And yet, up until World War II Austrian economics was an important part of the international economics community. The author argues that Austrian economists made several theoretical innovations that could have placed them at the frontier of research in economics, and present a brief counterfactual history of a thriving Austrian economics based on those innovations. However, the actual history of the Austrian School is quite different. A particularly decisive factor that has made Austrian economics a fringe movement was the rejection of formal methods in theory and empirics. The author argues that Austrian economics is basically dying out as a voice in the conversation of modern economists.