Saturday, July 30, 2011

Economists Joining The Austrian School In The Wilderness

Around 1940, the Austrian school of economics collapsed. Who did most to propagate the Austrian school in the interval between this collapse and the 1974 South Royalton conference? I'd like to formulate this question so it's clear I'm talking about generations following Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

David Friedman has recently refuted some fantastic claims on behalf of Murray Rothbard. (See also Friedman on Rothbard's willingness to advocate lying.)

For me, two names pop to mind - Israel Kirzner and Ludwig Lachmann. I don't think of Murray Rothbard as somebody that academics need pay any attention to, other than historians studying the American right during the second half of the twentieth century. I think one can draw many analytical parallels between Lachmann and Robinson's views on capital. I'm also interested, with Lachmann, in G. L. S. Shackle, a Post Keynesian economist. I don't find Kirzner's views on entrepreneurship as of as much interest. I like Kirzner better on the history of the Austrian school and in his attempts to differentiate Mises from Robbins in their views on methodology. What did Rothbard contribute, other than political polemics and rants for 'zines read by only a handful of true believers? I know some will cite his books. But I don't find much in Man, Economy, and State other than repetition of Mises, including Mises' unwillingness or inability to accurately state the views of his contemporaries.

Although I am quite aware of the difficulties of this metric, I looked to see who among these three managed to publish, after the Austrian-school revival, in economic journals I find of interest and that cannot be perceived as a ghetto for the Austrian school. I have handy what purports to be a complete bibliography for Lachmann, a couple of Kirzner collections, and google searches for Rothbard. I think impressive Lachmann's 1976 survey in the Journal of Economic Literature. I expected to find Kirzner had more impressive outlets for a few of his papers. Since I note that Kirzner contributed the survey article on the Austrian school for the first edition of The New Palgrave, I suppose I should also note his New Palgrave articles on "Economic harmony" and (with Roger Garrison) on Hayek, as well as Murray Rothbard's New Plagrave articles on "Catallactics", "Frank Fetter", "Imputation", Mises, and "Time Preference". I'm not sure this evidence leads to my conclusion.

  • Edwin G. Dolan (editor) (1976). The Foundations of Modern Austrian Economics, Sheed and Ward.
  • Israel Kirzner (). "Entrepreneurship, Entitlement, and Economic Justice", Eastern Economic Journal.
  • Israel Kirzner (). "Menger, Classical Liberalism, and the Austrian School of Economics", History of Political Economy.
  • Israel Kirzner (1987). "The Austrian School of Economics", in The New Palgrave: Dictionary of Economics (Ed. by J. Eatwell, M. Milgate, and Peter Newman), Macmillan.
  • Hansjörg Klausinger (2006). "'In the Wilderness': Emigration and the Decline of the Austrian School", History of Political Economy, V. 38, N. 4: 617-664.
  • Ludwig Lachman (Mar. 1976) "From Mises to Shackle: An Essay on Austrian Economics and the Kaleidic Society", Journal of Economic Literature: 54-62.
  • Ludwig Lachmann (1980). "Review of Hayek's Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. III", Journal of Economic Literature, V. 18: 1079-1080.
  • Louis M. Spadaro (1978).New Directions in Austrian Economics, Sheed Andrews and McMeel.

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