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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Paul Lewis

This chapter uses the theory of complex systems as a conceptual lens through which to compare the work of Friedrich Hayek with that of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. It is…

Abstract

This chapter uses the theory of complex systems as a conceptual lens through which to compare the work of Friedrich Hayek with that of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. It is well known that, from the 1950s onwards, Hayek conceptualised the market as a complex adaptive system. It is argued in this chapter that, while the Ostroms began explicitly to describe polycentric systems as a class of complex adaptive system from the mid-to-late 1990s onwards, they had in fact developed an account of polycentricity as displaying most if not all of the hallmarks of organised complexity long before that time. The Ostromian and Hayekian approaches can thus be seen to share a good deal in common, with both portraying important aspects of society – the market economy in the case of Hayek, and public economies, legal and political systems, and environment resources in the case of the Ostroms – as complex rather than simple systems. Aside from helping to bring out this aspect of the Ostroms’ work, using the theory of complex systems as a framework for comparing the Hayekian and Ostromian approaches serves two other purposes. First, it can be used to show how one widely criticised aspect of Hayek’s theory of society as a complex system, namely his account of cultural evolution via group selection, can be strengthened by an appeal to the work of Elinor Ostrom. Second, it also helps to resolve a tension – ultimately acknowledged by the Ostroms themselves – between some of their explicit methodological pronouncements and the actual, substantive approach they adopted in their analysis of polycentric systems.

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The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Anas Malik

Both the Austrian and Bloomington Schools emphasize the dispersal of information to the level of individual agents. An underappreciated difference is the Bloomington…

Abstract

Both the Austrian and Bloomington Schools emphasize the dispersal of information to the level of individual agents. An underappreciated difference is the Bloomington emphasis on the moral psychology of agents and its relation to covenant. Covenant refers to a habit, a sense of obligation to consider the interests of the other in decision making, and a commitment to do so that is not easily or unilaterally broken. This chapter seeks to elaborate the lineage of covenant in constituting political order and its implications for the moral psychology of agents and artisanship. This exploration raises issues of metaphysical foundations as they relate to values and to the Hobbesian–Aristotelian divide in starting points. An application to the environmental crisis, with particular reference to vested interests promoting disinformation, obfuscation, and doubt about anthropogenic climate change, suggests value in emphasizing covenant.

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The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Hartmut Kliemt

Bloomington scholars are critical of the rather wide-spread “Model Platonism” of both Austrian and Chicago economists. Their empirical, B, perspective avoids the more…

Abstract

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.

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Jayme Lemke and Jonathan Lingenfelter

What can the applied economist do? In order to explore issues playing out in the “real world” of the past or present, the applied social scientist has to make a series of…

Abstract

What can the applied economist do? In order to explore issues playing out in the “real world” of the past or present, the applied social scientist has to make a series of decisions about what they will accept as the facts of the situation. Particularly for research questions in which the beliefs, plans, and motivations of individuals matter – such as institutional analysis – this task requires the development of some degree of intersubjective understanding, or verstehen. For over 50 years, the Bloomington School of Institutional Analysis has been using fieldwork and deep archival history to conduct meaningful institutional analysis that takes interpretation and the quest for understanding seriously. As such, those who wish to take up the call for economists to take an “interpretive turn” can gain a great deal of insight and practical advice from the study of the Bloomington School’s methods and approach.

Details

The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Abstract

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The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2016

Peter J. Boettke, Vlad Tarko and Paul Aligica

Hayek’s “Use of knowledge in society” is often misunderstood. Hayek’s point is not just that prices aggregate dispersed knowledge, but also that the knowledge embedded in…

Abstract

Hayek’s “Use of knowledge in society” is often misunderstood. Hayek’s point is not just that prices aggregate dispersed knowledge, but also that the knowledge embedded in prices would not exist absent the market process. Later, in The Constitution of Liberty, he argues that this same idea can also be applied to the study of political and collective choice phenomena. Democracy is not just about aggregating preferences. Absent the democratic process, the knowledge necessary to solve collective problems is not generated. We compare this perspective on democracy to Bryan Caplan’s and Helen Landemore’s theories, and we argue that Hayek’s account focused on “opinion falsification” is richer. Unlike Caplan or Landemore, who adopt a static perspective, Hayek is more interested in the long-term tendencies and feed-back mechanisms. For example, why do Western democracies seem to have gradually moved away from the most deleterious types of economic policies (such as price controls)? Hayek’s conjecture is that the democratic process itself is responsible for this. We connect Hayek’s conjecture about democracy to the broader argument made by Vincent Ostrom, who has claimed that public choice should study not just incentive structures, but also collective learning processes. We believe that this line of research, that is, comparative institutional analysis based on the collective learning capacities embedded in alternative institutional arrangements, merits a lot more attention than it has received so far. The question “Which collective choice arrangements have the best epistemic properties?” is one of the most important neglected questions in political economy.

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Revisiting Hayek’s Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-988-6

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Sujai Shivakumar

Innovation – the process of transforming research ideas into marketable products and services – requires the collaboration of multiple actors across a variety of…

Abstract

Innovation – the process of transforming research ideas into marketable products and services – requires the collaboration of multiple actors across a variety of interactive situations. Increasingly, innovation is recognized as an important driver of economic growth and human development. Understanding the contexts within which these actors – including researchers, university administrators, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private corporations, and public officials – solve recurrent and often complex problems of collective action is therefore of interest to analysts and policymakers. This task begins with the broader theoretical understanding, emphasized by Austrian economists, of the economy as an intricate, interactive, and interconnected system. In complement, the applications to practical policy analysis, developed by Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom and their colleagues at the Bloomington School, emphasize the role of crafting rules and designing policies to solve recurrent problems of collective action.

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The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Laura E. Grube, Stefanie Haeffele-Balch and ErikaGrace Davies

The American National Red Cross is in many ways the iconic symbol for disaster response and recovery. The organization, founded in 1881, has a long track record for coming…

Abstract

The American National Red Cross is in many ways the iconic symbol for disaster response and recovery. The organization, founded in 1881, has a long track record for coming to the aid of those in need in the wake of wars, natural disasters, and other crises. However, in the wake of recent disasters, the Red Cross has been criticized for underperforming. By combining the literature on bureaucracy in Austrian economics and the literature on monocentricity in the work of Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, we provide an analysis of the Red Cross that helps explain the organization’s evolution over time and that also yields implications for disaster management more broadly. Specifically, the Red Cross is a bureaucracy that has become increasingly centralized and rigid as it has become further enmeshed with governmental responsibilities.

Details

The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Ion Sterpan and Richard E. Wagner

Political economy is a term in wide use and has been for centuries. Yet standard economic theory reduces politics to ethics or economics. This reduction is enabled by the…

Abstract

Political economy is a term in wide use and has been for centuries. Yet standard economic theory reduces politics to ethics or economics. This reduction is enabled by the presumption of closed choice data or given utility and cost functions. In this conceptual framework, the political vanishes into an activity of preference satisfaction according to a welfare function (ethics) or into trade (economics). To bring the political back to life within a theory of political economy requires that closed schemes of thought be replaced by open schemes. The ways in which individuals react to the indeterminacy of their subjective choice data, in innocuous small-scale settings as well as in situations of dramatic exception to constitutional rules, separates them into leaders and followers. Followership creates an opportunity for political enterprise at the social level (enterprise in rules) and at the subjective level (enterprise in visions of options, and hence preferences). At both levels the political comes to the fore of political economy as an answer to the “challenge of exception.” Much of our inspiration for this argument traces to the work of Friedrich Wieser, Carl Schmitt, and Vincent Ostrom.

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Book part
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Peter J. Boettke and Rosolino A. Candela

We argue that the future of Austrian political economy rests on the study of how institutional entrepreneurs discover and implement alternative institutional arrangements…

Abstract

We argue that the future of Austrian political economy rests on the study of how institutional entrepreneurs discover and implement alternative institutional arrangements conducive to economic growth. This requires a dual level of analysis in spontaneous order studies. How such institutional arrangements manifest themselves is ultimately an empirical question. As a progressive research program, Austrian political economy will entail cross-fertilization with other empirical branches of political economy that illustrate its own central theoretical contributions to political economy, namely economic calculation, entrepreneurship, and spontaneous order. Accordingly, we argue that such cross-fertilization with the work of Ronald Coase and Elinor Ostrom will further expound the institutional counterpart of “rivalry” in the market process, namely polycentricism and its empirical manifestation. Understanding the distinct relationship between rivalry and polycentricism will provide the central theoretical underpinning of institutional evolution.

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New Thinking in Austrian Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-137-8

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