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Book part
Publication date: 28 October 2019

Peter J. Boettke

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…

Abstract

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.

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Book part
Publication date: 23 July 2016

Peter J. Boettke, Christopher J. Coyne and Patrick Newman

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…

Abstract

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.

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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: 28 October 2019

Virgil Henry Storr

A successful scholarly movement must have thick vertical relationships, there must be an actual scholarly community comprising teacher/student relationships as well as…

Abstract

A successful scholarly movement must have thick vertical relationships, there must be an actual scholarly community comprising teacher/student relationships as well as regular seminars, conferences, journals, and book series. A successful movement must also have rich horizontal relationships, members in the community must have connections to others in the broader scholarly community. Boettke has argued that the Austrian tradition is failing to maximize its impact because, though rich in vertical relationships, it is short on horizontal relationships. Like Boettke, the author argues that our natural dialogical partners might not be economists but philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. Moreover, the author argues, it is unclear that Austrian economists can expect to be influential, if by influential we mean acceptance by mainstream economists, without abandoning Austrian economics. As such, each Austrian economist should doggedly pursue the truth, even if it does not bring market share in the marketplace of ideas.

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Book part
Publication date: 28 October 2019

Peter J. Boettke

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…

Abstract

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?”

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1993

Glen Alexandrin

Gives an account of Count N.S. Mordvinov (1754‐1845) who was aMinister of Economics, an economist and a scholar of Adam Smith′seconomics who effectively politicized…

Abstract

Gives an account of Count N.S. Mordvinov (1754‐1845) who was a Minister of Economics, an economist and a scholar of Adam Smith′s economics who effectively politicized Smithian economic ideas and the need for economic freedom in Tsarist Russia. His advice, given to Tsar Alexander I and to Tsar Nicholas I, was embodied in legislation but did not appear to have administrative impact. Although the economic ideas of Adam Smith had a political dimension alien to the objectives of the Russian rulers, the Smithian values, as promoted by Count Mordvinov and embodied in his written works, having been imported as early as 1760‐1770, have not previously been discussed and debated in the twentieth century.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 20 no. 5/6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1995

Sabine U. O’Hara

The loss of bio‐diversity has received increasing attention as oneof the most serious environmental threats we face. Yet not onlybiodiversity is being lost at staggering…

Abstract

The loss of bio‐diversity has received increasing attention as one of the most serious environmental threats we face. Yet not only biodiversity is being lost at staggering rates, socio‐diversity is being lost as well. Sociodiversity is defined as the various social and economic arrangements by which people organize their societies, particularly the underlying assumptions, goals, values and social behaviours guiding these arrangements. Just as the loss of bio‐diversity has focused attention on the interface between human socio‐economic and ecological systems, so too can the interaction between these systems give us insights into the reasons for the loss of diversity in socio‐economic systems. Examines the assumptions and valuation concepts underlying economic theory and the ways in which mainline economic theory contributes to the loss of socio‐economic diversity. The analysis draws on ecologically relevant concepts and proposes that the base for economic theory and valuation be expanded to include five categories identified as relevant to sustain bio‐diversity. These are: context, participation, place, limits and temporality. These categories point to the need to expand, diversify and make concrete economic theory and methodology.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Sabine U. O’Hara

Economists have generally framed the question of welfare in terms of wealth creation and distribution. More recently this conception of welfare has been challenged by…

Abstract

Economists have generally framed the question of welfare in terms of wealth creation and distribution. More recently this conception of welfare has been challenged by concerns for the unsustainability of expanding material wealth. Sustainability thus requires the expansions of welfare considerations to include the limits posed by the biophysical world within which all economic activity takes place. This paper pursues the question how the concept of ethics generally accepted and operative in mainline economics influences our understanding of sustainability. The question pursued is whether this concept of ethics can lead to sustainability or whether other ethical concepts are necessary to achieve a more compatible relationship between economic activity and sustainability? To pursue this question three ethical concepts are discussed: utilitarian ethic, discursive ethic, and the ethic of care. In each case the question is raised whether the ethical concept under consideration contributes to or undermines sustainability. The conclusion reached in this paper is that a utilitarian ethic leads to a perception of the links between economic activity and environmental context which is not likely to yield sustainable outcomes beyond an economically defined notion of sustainability. Discursive ethic and ethic of care have important contributions to make to redefining concept and implementation of broader sustainability goals.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Sabine U. O’Hara

Despite its now widespread use, the concept of sustainability remains ambiguous. Its varying definitions carry the marks of the disciplines defining it. Sustainability as…

Abstract

Despite its now widespread use, the concept of sustainability remains ambiguous. Its varying definitions carry the marks of the disciplines defining it. Sustainability as defined in economics is commonly conceptualized as economic development constrained by considerations of environmental sustainability. This concept follows familiar notions of internalizing the externalities of economic activity into the framework of economics. In contrast to this common notion, this paper argues that sustainability cannot be achieved unless economics is internalized into the social and environmental context within which all economic activity takes place. Internalizing economics into contextual, material reality can also be described as the need to preserve three types of services: technological services; relational services; and ecosystem services. Much attention has been given to sustaining and expanding the first to the neglect and destruction of the latter two. This makes evident the fact that internalizing economics requires more than an awareness of physical context. It requires also an awareness of the ethical context which supports or undermines the sustaining of essential caring and ecosystems services. To illustrate this point the implications of utilitarian ethics for sustainability are contrasted with those of the ethics of care.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 25 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1981

Desider Vikor

As Professor Ischboldin looks back, after decades of creative work, reflecting on his accomplishments and surveying the landscape of economics, I suspect he feels that his…

Abstract

As Professor Ischboldin looks back, after decades of creative work, reflecting on his accomplishments and surveying the landscape of economics, I suspect he feels that his optimistic approach to economics was, after all, justified. Of course, a genetic economist is supposed to be always optimistic, even when the tide is running against him. And since the end of World War II the general trend has not always been too favourable for genetic economists. In the wake of the last revolution in our dismal science a regime of formalism was firmly established and cold technical elegance became the characteristic of the professional élite. Their mathematical sophistication, however, was not enough to prevent a crisis of major proportions, and, as we can witness these days, the forces of criticism cannot any longer be disregarded.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 8 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 28 October 2019

Gerald Gaus

Pete Boettke’s “What Is Still Wrong with the Austrian School of Economics?” sketches a program for Austrian economics based on a Kuhnesque analysis of scientific…

Abstract

Pete Boettke’s “What Is Still Wrong with the Austrian School of Economics?” sketches a program for Austrian economics based on a Kuhnesque analysis of scientific communities. His core recommendations focus on what we might call the Uptake and Diffusion dimensions of the scientific enterprise. If taken as a core commitment, they entail an Integrationist program, a concomitant of which is a reduction in the unique insights of the Austrian approach and, so, an overall reduction of the diversity of perspectives in political economy and moral sciences. A cost of this program is to decrease the diversity of perspectives in economics, which in turn decreases the ability of Republic of Economic Science to explore and solve a wider variety of problems. The author presents the “Fundamental Diversity Dilemma,” according to which there is a trade-off between uptake/plausibility and diversity: as we increase uptake and plausibility, we decrease diversity. The author concludes with a defense of the role of heterodox research programs, and questioning the focus on a small set of metrics to indicate excellent and important research.

Details

Assessing Austrian Economics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-935-0

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