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Book part
Publication date: 27 January 2022

Erwin Dekker

This chapter analyzes markets with an “infinite variety” of goods, such as large parts of the service economy and creative industries such as the book, film, and music…

Abstract

This chapter analyzes markets with an “infinite variety” of goods, such as large parts of the service economy and creative industries such as the book, film, and music market. I argue that the infinite variety of supply that characterizes such markets does not lead to discoordination, because of the emergence of cognitive institutions in the form of market categories, reference points such as exemplary goods, and instruments of interpretation which facilitate the (quality) coordination process. These cognitive institutions function as an extended mind of market participants and enable what is termed interpretative rationality, as distinct from calculative rationality. This interpretative rationality consists of the ability to recognize relevant differences and similarities between goods. These cognitive institutions, like the price system, are an emergent order which can be analyzed through the lens of Austrian economics. This chapter further demonstrates the potential convergence between particular strands of economic sociology and Austrian economics.

Book part
Publication date: 25 August 2021

Erwin Dekker

This paper provides a reappreciation of the second edition of Carl Menger’s Principles. It reconstructs his new theory of needs, which for Menger analytically precedes the…

Abstract

This paper provides a reappreciation of the second edition of Carl Menger’s Principles. It reconstructs his new theory of needs, which for Menger analytically precedes the valuation of goods. It is argued that this new theory of needs provides a possible bridge between economics and the natural sciences. It provided important conceptual tools for the interwar work of Ludwig von Mises on praxeology and Friedrich Hayek on expectations and plans. The new first chapter also contains a theory of collective needs, which is contextualized in the broader German-language debate over private and public provision of goods. It is demonstrated that Menger’s approach to collective needs, and the jointness of consumption is in tension with the later Samuelson/Musgrave conception of public goods, and compatible with the institutional theories in this field of James Buchanan and Vincent and Elinor Ostrom.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including A Symposium on Carl Menger at the Centenary of His Death
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-144-0

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Book part
Publication date: 23 July 2016

Erwin Dekker

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…

Abstract

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.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-960-2

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2019

Erwin Dekker and Pavel Kuchař

In this chapter, we present fragments of previously unpublished correspondence between Ludwig Lachmann and G. L. S. Shackle on the nature of institutions. This…

Abstract

In this chapter, we present fragments of previously unpublished correspondence between Ludwig Lachmann and G. L. S. Shackle on the nature of institutions. This correspondence allows us to rationally reconstruct a theory of institutions, which extends Lachmann’s theoretical work. Shackle pointed out to Lachmann that institutions might be inputs into economic activities and that they themselves may be reproduced and transformed by these activities. Lachmann in turn contended that institutions consist of “instruments of interpretation.” We develop the concept of “instruments of interpretation” as a subset of institutions. These instruments are mental models and cognitive tools which are (1) inputs complementary to capital goods (2) jointly produced, reproduced, and transformed through economic activity. We suggest that in contrast to privately produced capital goods, parts of the institutional infrastructure are produced jointly as shared goods because the use of certain institutional elements is non-exclusive and non-subtractable; these elements – instruments of interpretation – are produced and reproduced by sharing and contributions through a process of joint production. This chapter explicitly connects two different but essential themes in Lachmann’s work: capital, and institutions. By combining these two strands of Lachmann’s work, we are able to demonstrate that there is a cross-complementarity between institutional orders and capital structures. This connection in turn provides a thicker understanding of the workings of markets.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on the Work of William J. Baumol: Heterodox Inspirations and Neoclassical Models
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80382-708-7

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Book part
Publication date: 8 September 2022

Abstract

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on the Work of William J. Baumol: Heterodox Inspirations and Neoclassical Models
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80382-708-7

Book part
Publication date: 28 October 2019

Erwin Dekker and Stefan Kolev

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…

Abstract

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.

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Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including A Symposium on Carl Menger at the Centenary of His Death
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-144-0

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 25 August 2021

Abstract

Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including A Symposium on Carl Menger at the Centenary of His Death
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-144-0

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 27 January 2022

Abstract

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Contemporary Methods and Austrian Economics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-287-4

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