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The Austrian School (also known as the Vienna School or the Psychological School) is a non-mainstream school of economic thought that emphasizes the spontaneous organizing power of the price mechanism or price system. Austrians hold that the complexity of human behavior makes mathematical modeling of the evolving market extremely difficult (or undecidable) and advocate a laissez faire approach to the economy. Austrian School economists advocate the strict enforcement of voluntary contractual agreements between economic agents, and hold that commercial transactions should be subject to the smallest possible imposition of forces they consider to be coercive (in particular the smallest possible amount of government intervention).

The Austrian School derives its name from its predominantly Austrian founders and early supporters, including Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Ludwig von Mises. Other prominent Austrian School economists of the 20th century include Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, and Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek.[1] Though called 'Austrian' today, supporters or proponents of the Austrian School can come from any part of the world. The Austrian School was influential in the early 20th century and was for a time considered by many to be part of mainstream economics. Austrian contributions to mainstream economic thought include involvement in the development of the neoclassical theory of value, including the subjective theory of value on which it is based, as well as contributions to the "economic calculation debate" which concerns the allocative properties of a centrally planned economy versus a decentralized free market economy.[2] From the middle of the 20th century onwards, it has been considered a heterodox school[3][4] and arguably contributes relatively little to mainstream economic thought.[5][6]

Austrian School economists advocate strict adherence to methodological individualism, which they describe as analyzing human action from the perspective of individual agents.[7] Austrian School economists argue that the only means of arriving at a valid economic theory is to derive it logically from basic principles of human action, a method called praxeology. Additionally, whereas natural experiments are often utilized within mainstream economics, Austrian economists contend that testability in economics is virtually impossible since it relies on human actors who cannot be placed in a lab setting without altering their would-be actions. Mainstream economists are generally critical of methodologies used by modern Austrian economics.[5]

Contents

History

Classical economics focused on the labour theory of value, which holds that the value of a commodity is equal to the amount of labour required to produce it. In the late 19th century, however, attention was focused on the concepts of “marginal” cost and value. The Austrian School was one of three founding currents of the marginalist revolution of the 1870s, with its major contribution being the introduction of the subjectivist approach in economics.[8] Carl Menger's 1871 book, Principles of Economics was the catalyst for this development; while marginalism was generally influential, there was also a more specific school that grew up around Menger, which came to be known as the “Psychological School,” “Vienna School,” or “Austrian School.”[9] Thorstein Veblen introduced the term neoclassical economics in his Preconceptions of Economic Science (1900) to distinguish marginalists in the objective cost tradition of Alfred Marshall from those in the subjective valuation tradition of the Austrian School.[10][11]

Austrian economics is closely associated with the advocacy of laissez-faire views. The Austrian School, especially through the works of Friedrich Hayek, was influential in the revival of laissez-faire thought in the 20th century.[12]

Origins and etymology

The school originated in Vienna, in the Austrian Empire. However, later adherents of the school such as Murray Rothbard have derived the roots of the thought of the Austrian School from the Spanish Scholastics teaching at the University of Salamanca of the 15th century and the French Physiocrats of the 18th century.[13] The School owes its name to members of the German Historical School of economics, who argued against the Austrians during the Methodenstreit ("methodology struggle"), in which the Austrians defended the reliance that classical economists placed upon deductive logic. Their Prussian opponents derisively named them the "Austrian School" to emphasize a departure from mainstream German thought and to suggest a provincial, Aristotelian approach.

Specifically, in 1883 Menger published Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences with Special Reference to Economics (Untersuchungen über die Methode der Socialwissenschaften und der politischen Oekonomie insbesondere), which attacked the methods of the Historical school. Gustav von Schmoller, a leader of the Historical school, responded with an unfavorable review, coining the term "Austrian school".

The name "Psychological School" derived from the effort to found marginalism upon prior considerations, largely psychological – compare behavioral economics. The school was no longer centered in Austria after Hitler came to power, and is now based almost entirely in the United States.

First wave

Carl Menger was closely followed by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Friedrich von Wieser, in what is known as the "first wave" of the School. Austrian economists developed a sense of themselves as a school distinct from neoclassical economics during the economic calculation debate with socialist economists. Ludwig von Mises and his student Friedrich A. Hayek represented the Austrian position in contending that without monetary prices and private property, meaningful economic calculation is impossible.[14]

The Austrian economist Böhm-Bawerk wrote extensive critiques of Marx in the 1880s and 1890s, as was part of the Austrian economists' participation in the late 19th Century Methodenstreit, during which they attacked the Hegelian doctrines of the Historical School.

Inter-War Period

Austrian economics after 1920 can be broken into two general trends. One, exemplified by Friedrich A. Hayek, while distrusting many neoclassical concepts (like most of the corpus of Keynesian macroeconomics), generally accepts a large part of the neoclassical methodology; the other, exemplified by Ludwig von Mises, seeks a different formalism for economics. The main area of contention between the mainstream and the Austrian school is on their view of the market system as a process, not only to be studied using equilibrium models, but to be viewed as an incessant process that only tends toward a constantly changing equilibrium. This difference is the root of the Austrian business cycle theory, the economic calculation debate, and their different views of monopoly and competition. The second primary area of contention between neoclassical theory and the Austrian school is over the possibility of consumer indifference – neoclassical theory says it is possible, whereas Mises rejected it as being “impossible to observe in practice.” Of observation, Caplan uses an example of clothing choice to explain that, "One can only observe that I choose a green sweater, but this does not rule out the possibility that I was actually indifferent between the green sweater and the blue sweater."[5][15] This is a more philosophical problem, than one directly relevant to the understanding of the operation of the market. The third major dispute arose when Mises and his students argued, building on Czech economist Franz Cuhel,[16] that utility functions are ordinal, and not cardinal; that is, the Austrians contend that one can only rank preferences and cannot measure their intensity. Though Austrians describe this work as being in direct opposition to the neoclassical view at the time,[citation needed] Luce and Raiffa and later, Bryan Caplan, wrote that mainstream theorists have shown that their results hold for all monotonic transformations of utility, and so also hold for ordinal preferences.[17][15][5]

Finally there are a host of questions about uncertainty and the utility of "conventional" financial models raised by Mises and other Austrians, who argue for a fundamentally different means of risk assessment in economics compared to that used by the mainstream. Mises and others argued that numerically accurate "probabilities" could never be assigned to "singular" cases. The utility and accuracy of financial modelling is an on-going source of debate, even within the Austrian School.[18] These questions are directly linked to the dynamic market process approach to economic theory, where it is argued by Mises and others that the unique confluence of events in each moment of time in real markets makes the assignment of "objective" probabilities unrealistic, as these events are intrinsically unique and not capable of numerical probabilistic modelling. Mises and others argued that the application of probabilistic uncertainty would require the ability to exactly replicate objectively similar events to obtain an accurate understanding of the range of probabilistic outcomes of any event, and this is not possible in real markets, where past market events intimately affect the present and the future.

Later reputation

Austrian economics was ill-thought of by most economists after World War II because it rejected mathematical and statistical methods.[19] Its reputation rose somewhat in the late 20th century with the work of Israel Kirzner and Ludwig Lachmann, as well as a renewed interest in Hayek after he won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (a.k.a. the Nobel Prize in Economics).[20] Following Hayek, one of Ludwig von Mises's students, Murray Rothbard, became prominent in both Austrian applied theory and Libertarian philosophical thought.[21] However, it remains a distinctly minority position, even in such areas as capital value. Currently, universities with a significant Austrian presence are Loyola University New Orleans and Auburn University in the United States and Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. The library of Universidad Francisco Marroquín is named after Ludwig von Mises, and the university also provides seminars and lectures through a program named for Austrian School proponent Henry Hazlitt. Austrian economic ideas are also promoted heavily by bodies such as the Mises Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Influence

According to economist Peter J. Boettke, during its history the position of the Austrian School within economics profession has changed several times from the center to the fringe of the mainstream, and currently its position lies between mainstream and heterodox economics.[3]

The former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, speaking of the originators of the School, said in 2000, "the Austrian school have reached far into the future from when most of them practiced and have had a profound and, in my judgment, probably an irreversible effect on how most mainstream economists think in this country."[22]

Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan is sometimes considered to be a member of the Austrian School[23][24] and he stated that, "I certainly have a great deal of affinity with Austrian economics and I have no objections to being called an Austrian. Hayek and Mises might consider me an Austrian but, surely some of the others would not."[25] Republican U.S. congressman Ron Paul is a firm believer in Austrian school economics and has authored six books on the subject.[26][27] Paul's former economic adviser, Peter Schiff,[28] is an adherent of the Austrian school.[29] Jim Rogers, investor and financial commentator, also considers himself of the Austrian School of economics,[30] as does political columnist Vox Day.

Methodology

Austrian economists reject empirical, statistical methods and artificially constructed experiments as tools applicable to economics, saying that while it is appropriate in the natural sciences where factors can be isolated in laboratory conditions, the actions of human beings are too complex for this treatment. Instead one should isolate the logical processes of human action. Von Mises called this discipline "praxeology" – a term he adapted from Alfred Espinas (but which had been in use by others).[31]

The Austrian praxeological method is based on the heavy use of logical deduction from what they assert to be self-evident axioms or undeniable facts about human existence. The primary axiom from which Austrian economists deduce further certain conclusions is the action axiom which holds that humans take conscious action toward chosen goals.[32] Austrian economists focus on action and say that it is undeniable because in order to deny action, one would have to employ action in the act of denial.

Methodology is the one area where Austrian economists differ most significantly from other schools of economic thought. Mainstream schools such as the neoclassical economists, the Chicago school of economics, the Keynesians and New Keynesians, adopt mathematical and statistical methods, and focus on induction to construct and test theories; while Austrian economists reject this approach in favor of deduction and logically deduced inferences. Austrian economists stress deduction because deduction, if performed correctly, leads to certain conclusions and inferences that must be true where the underlying assumptions are accurate. Austrian economist, Robert Murphy, says that those using Austrian theories can still err in their interpretations of history, even if based on a theory formulated by deduction[33]; Caplan makes a similar point about quantitative significance, explaining that a theory, such as one which logically relates minimum wage and unemployment, tells nothing of the approximate quantity of change in unemployment one can expect upon minimum wage increases.

Austrian economists do not discount induction, but they hold that it does not assure certainty like deduction. Mainstream economists hold that conclusions that can be reached by pure logical deduction are limited and weak.[34]

Critics of the Austrian school contend that by rejecting mathematics and econometrics, it has failed to contribute significantly to modern economics. Additionally, they contend that its methods currently consist of post-hoc analysis and do not generate testable implications; therefore, they fail the test of falsifiability.[5] Austrian economists contend that testability in economics is virtually impossible since it relies on human actors who cannot be placed in a lab setting without altering their would-be actions.

Academic and political background

Austrian school theorists, like Ludwig von Mises, insist that praxeology must be value-free—that the method does not answer the question "should this policy be implemented?", but rather "if this policy is implemented, will it have the effects you intend"? However, Austrian economists often make policy recommendations that call for the elimination of government regulations and their policy prescriptions often overlap with libertarian or anarcho-capitalist solutions. These recommendations are similar to, but further reaching than the minarchist ideas of Chicago School economists, and frequently address issues that other schools ignore, such as monetary reform.[35] Both schools advocate strict protection of private property, and support for individualism in general,[36] and are often cited by libertarian, classical or laissez-faire liberal, fiscal conservative, and Objectivist groups for support.

Austrian economists view entrepreneurship as the driving force in economic development, see private property as essential to the efficient use of resources, and usually (if not always) see government interference in market processes as counterproductive. In this, their views do not differ far from those of the Chicago school.

As with neoclassical economists, Austrian economists reject classical cost of production theories, most famously the labor theory of value. Instead they explain value by reference to the subjective preferences of individuals. This psychological aspect to Menger's economics has been attributed to the school's birth in turn of the century Vienna. Supply and demand are explained by aggregating over the decisions of individuals, following the precepts of methodological individualism, which asserts that only individuals and not collectives make decisions, and marginalist arguments, which compare the costs and benefits for incremental changes.

Contemporary neo-Austrian economists claim to adopt economic subjectivism more consistently than any other school of economics and reject many neoclassical formalisms. For example, while neoclassical economics formalizes the economy as an equilibrium system with supply and demand in balance, Austrian economists emphasize its dynamic, perpetually dis-equilibrated nature.

The opportunity cost doctrine was first explicitly formulated by the Austrian economist Friedrich von Wieser in the late 19th century.[37] In its original and purist sense, opportunity cost doctrine argues that the only cost relevant to the price of a product is the cost involved in choosing it over other competing, and mutually exclusive, options, and its technical coefficients of production. In the 1930s Gottfried Haberler applied the doctrine to the problems of foreign trade, confident that much of the work done in classical economics to incorporate the much broader array of costs in price analysis could be abandoned.[38]

This focus on opportunity cost alone means that their interpretation of the time value of a good has a strict relationship: since goods will be as restricted by scarcity at a later point in time as they are now, the strict relationship between investment and time must also hold. A factory making goods next year is worth much less than the goods it is making next year are worth. This means that the business cycle is driven by mis-coordination between sectors of the same economy, caused by money not carrying incentive information correct about present choices, rather than within a single economy where money causes people to make bad decisions about how to spend their time.

Contributions

Some general contributions of Austrian economists:

  • A theory of distribution in which factor prices result from the imputation of prices of consumer goods to goods of "higher order", that is goods used in the production of consumer goods (goods of the first order).
  • A fundamental rejection of mathematical methods in economics, seeing the function of economics as investigating the essences rather than the specific quantities of economic phenomena. This was seen as an evolutionary, or "genetic-causal", approach against the alleged "unreality" and internal stresses inherent in the "static" approach of equilibrium and perfect competition, which are the foundations of mainstream Neoclassical economics (see also praxeology). This methodology is also driven by the belief that econometrics is inherently misleading in that it creates a fallacious "precision" in economics where there is none.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's critique of Marx, which centered on the untenability of the labor theory of value in the light of the transformation problem. There was also the connected argument that capitalists do not exploit workers; they accommodate workers by providing them with income well in advance of the revenue from the output they helped to produce.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's capital theory, which equates capital intensity with the degree of roundaboutness of production processes.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's demonstration that the law of marginal utility, as formulated by Menger necessarily implies the classical law of costs and hence the vast majority of the conclusions of the British classical economists. This discovery was later fully developed and its implications traced by a student of von Mises, George Reisman, in his book, Capitalism.
  • An emphasis on opportunity cost and reservation demand in defining value, and a refusal to consider supply as an otherwise independent cause of value[39]. (The British economist Philip Wicksteed adopted this perspective.)
  • The Mises-Hayek business cycle theory, which is asserted as explaining depression as a reaction to an intertemporal production structure fostered by monetary policy setting interest rates inconsistent with individual time preferences.
  • Hayek's concept of intertemporal equilibrium. (John Hicks took over this theory in his discussion of temporary equilibrium in Value and Capital, a book very influential on the development of neoclassical economics after World War II.)
  • Mises[citation needed] and Hayek's view of prices as permitting agents to make use of dispersed tacit knowledge.
  • The time preference theory of interest, which explains interest rates through intertemporal choice - the different time preferences of the borrower or lender - rather than as a price paid for a factor of production.
  • The economic calculation debate between Austrian and Marxist economists, with the Austrians claiming that Marxism is flawed because prices could not be set to recognize opportunity costs of factors of production, and so socialism could not make rational decisions.
  • Predicting the Great Depression. Friedrich Hayek predicted the Great Depression.[40][41] Hayek made his prediction of a coming business crisis in February 1929. He warned that a financial crisis was an unavoidable consequence of reckless monetary expansion.[42]

Specific contributions

Inflation

The Austrian School has consistently argued that a "traditionalist" approach to inflation yields the most accurate understanding of the causes (and the cure) for inflation. Austrian economists maintain that inflation is by definition always and everywhere simply an increase in the money supply (i.e. units of currency or means of exchange), which in turn leads to a higher nominal price level for assets (such as housing) and other goods and services in demand, as the real value of each monetary unit is eroded, loses purchasing power and thus buys fewer goods and services.

Given that all major economies currently have a central bank supporting the private banking system, almost all new money is supplied into the economy by way of bank-created credit (or debt). Austrian economists believe that this bank-created credit growth (which forms the bulk of the money supply) sets off and creates volatile business cycles (see Austrian Business Cycle Theory) and maintain that this "wave-like" or "boomerang" effect on economic activity is one of the most damaging effects of monetary inflation.

According to the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, it is the central bank's policy of ineffectually attempting to control the complex multi-faceted ever-evolving market economy that creates volatile credit cycles or business cycles, and, as a necessary by-product, inflation (especially in asset markets). By the central bank artificially "stimulating" the economy with artificially low interest rates (thereby permitting excessive increases in the money supply), the government-sponsored central bank itself allows debasement of the means of exchange (inflation), often focused in asset or capital markets, resulting in "false signals" going out to the market place, in turn resulting in clusters of malinvestments, and the artificial lowering of the returns on savings, which eventually causes the malinvestments to be liquidated as they inevitably show their underlying unprofitability and unsustainability.[43]

Austrian School economists therefore regard the state-sponsored central bank as the main cause of inflation, because it is the institution charged with the creation of new currency units, referred to as bank credit. When newly created bank credit is injected into the fractional-reserve banking system, the credit expands, thus enhancing the inflationary effect.[44]

The Austrian School also views the "contemporary" definition of inflation as inherently misleading in that it draws attention only to the effect of inflation (rising prices) and does not address the "true" phenomenon of inflation which they believe is the debasement of the means of exchange. They argue that this semantic difference is important in defining inflation and finding a cure for inflation. Austrian School economists maintain the most effective cure is the strict maintenance of a stable money supply.[45] Ludwig von Mises, the seminal scholar of the Austrian School, asserts that:

Inflation, as this term was always used everywhere and especially in this country, means increasing the quantity of money and bank notes in circulation and the quantity of bank deposits subject to check. But people today use the term `inflation' to refer to the phenomenon that is an inevitable consequence of inflation, that is the tendency of all prices and wage rates to rise. The result of this deplorable confusion is that there is no term left to signify the cause of this rise in prices and wages. There is no longer any word available to signify the phenomenon that has been, up to now, called inflation. . . . As you cannot talk about something that has no name, you cannot fight it. Those who pretend to fight inflation are in fact only fighting what is the inevitable consequence of inflation, rising prices. Their ventures are doomed to failure because they do not attack the root of the evil. They try to keep prices low while firmly committed to a policy of increasing the quantity of money that must necessarily make them soar. As long as this terminological confusion is not entirely wiped out, there cannot be any question of stopping inflation.[46]

Following their definition, Austrian economists measure the inflation by calculating the growth of what they call 'the true money supply', i.e. how many new units of money that are available for immediate use in exchange, that have been created over time.[47][48][49]

This interpretation of inflation implies that inflation is always a distinct action taken by the central government or its central bank, which permits or allows an increase in the money supply.[50] In addition to state-induced monetary expansion, the Austrian School also maintains that the effects of increasing the money supply are magnified by credit expansion, as a result of the fractional-reserve banking system employed in most economic and financial systems in the world.[51]

Austrian School economists claim that the state uses inflation as one of the three means by which it can fund its activities, the other two being taxing and borrowing.[52] Therefore, they often seek to identify the reasons for why the state needs to create new money and what the new money is used for. Various forms of military spending are often cited as reasons for resorting to inflation and borrowing, as this can be a short term way of acquiring marketable resources and is often favored by desperate, indebted governments.[53] In other cases, the central bank may try avoid or defer the widespread bankruptcies and insolvencies which cause economic recessions or depressions by artificially trying to "stimulate" the economy through "encouraging" money supply growth and further borrowing via artificially low interest rates.[54]

Accordingly, many Austrian School economists support the abolition of the central banks and the fractional-reserve banking system, and advocate instead a return to money based on the gold standard, or less frequently, free banking.[55][56] Money could only be created by finding and putting into circulation more gold under a gold standard.

At the beginning of his career Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was also a strong advocate of the Gold Standard as a protector of economic liberty:

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard. [57]

Advocates argued that the Gold Standard would constrain unsustainable and volatile fractional-reserve banking practices, ensuring that money supply growth ("inflation") would never spiral out of control.[58][59] Ludwig von Mises asserted that civil liberties would be better protected:

It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights. The demand for constitutional guarantees and for bills of rights was a reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings.[60]

Business cycles

According to Austrian School economist Joseph Salerno, what most distinctly sets the Austrian school apart from neoclassical economics is the Austrian Business Cycle Theory: [1]

The Austrian theory embodies all the distinctive Austrian traits: the theory of heterogeneous capital, the structure of production, the passage of time, sequential analysis of monetary interventionism, the market origins and function of the interest rate, and more. And it tells a compelling story about an area of history neoclassicals think of as their turf. The model of applying this theory remains Rothbard's America's Great Depression.

Austrian School economists focus on the amplifying, "wave-like" effects of the credit cycle as the primary cause of most business cycles. Austrian economists assert that inherently damaging and ineffective central bank policies are the predominant cause of most business cycles, as they tend to set "artificial" interest rates too low for too long, resulting in excessive credit creation, speculative "bubbles" and "artificially" low savings.[61]

According to the Austrian School business cycle theory, the business cycle unfolds in the following way. Low interest rates tend to stimulate borrowing from the banking system. This expansion of credit causes an expansion of the supply of money, through the money creation process in a fractional reserve banking system. This in turn leads to an unsustainable "monetary boom" during which the "artificially stimulated" borrowing seeks out diminishing investment opportunities. This boom results in widespread malinvestments, causing capital resources to be misallocated into areas which would not attract investment if the money supply remained stable. Economist Steve H. Hanke identifies the financial crisis of 2007–2010 as the direct outcome of the Federal Reserve Bank's interest rate policies as is predicted by Austrian school economic theory.[62]

Austrian School economists argue that a correction or "credit crunch" – commonly called a "recession" or "bust" – occurs when credit creation cannot be sustained. They claim that the money supply suddenly and sharply contracts when markets finally "clear", causing resources to be reallocated back toward more efficient uses.

Economic calculation

The economic calculation problem is a criticism of socialist economics. It was first proposed by Ludwig von Mises in 1920 and later expounded by Friedrich Hayek.[7][63] The problem referred to is that of how to distribute resources rationally in an economy. The capitalist solution is the price mechanism; Mises and Hayek argued that this is the only viable solution, as the price mechanism co-ordinates supply and investment decisions most efficiently (provided there are no relevant government policies or banks operating fractional reserve banking ). Without the information efficiently and effectively provided by market prices, socialism lacks a method to efficiently allocate resources over an extended period of time in any market where the price mechanism is effective (an example where the price mechanism may not work is in the relatively confined area of public and common goods). Those who agree with this criticism argue it is a refutation of socialism and that it shows that a socialist planned economy could never work in the long term for the vast bulk of the economy and has very limited potential application. The debate raged in the 1920s and 1930s, and that specific period of the debate has come to be known by economic historians as the The Socialist Calculation Debate.[64] Ludwig von Mises argued in a famous 1920 article "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" that the pricing systems in socialist economies were necessarily deficient because if government owned the means of production, then no prices could be obtained for capital goods as they were merely internal transfers of goods in a socialist system and not "objects of exchange," unlike final goods. Therefore, they were unpriced and hence the system would be necessarily inefficient since the central planners would not know how to allocate the available resources efficiently.[64] This led him to declare "…that rational economic activity is impossible in a socialist commonwealth."[7]

Criticism

Critics have concluded that modern Austrian economics generally lacks scientific rigor,[5][65] which forms the basis of the most prominent criticism of the school. Austrian theories are not formulated in formal mathematical form,[66] but by using mainly verbal logic and what proponents claim are self-evident axioms. Mainstream economists believe that this makes Austrian theories too imprecisely defined to be clearly used to explain or predict real world events. Economist Bryan Caplan noted that, "what prevents Austrian economists from getting more publications in mainstream journals is that their papers rarely use mathematics or econometrics."

A related criticism[67][68] is applied to Austrian School leaders; these leaders have advocated a rejection of methods which involve directly using empirical data in the development of (falsifiable) theories; application of empirical data is fundamental to the scientific method.[69] In particular, Austrian School leader, Ludwig von Mises, has been described as the mid-20th century's "archetypal 'unscientific' economist."[70] Mises wrote of his economic methodology that "its statements and propositions are not derived from experience... They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts."[71] Also, Murray Rothbard was an adherent of Mises's methodology (and though Rothbard assigned a sort of empirical description to it, he comments that "it should be obvious that this type of 'empiricism' is so out of step with modern empiricism that I may just as well continue to call it a priori for present purposes"[72]). Additionally, the prominent Austrian, F. A. Hayek, stated his belief that social science theories can "never be verified or falsified by reference to facts."[73] Such rejections of empirical evidence in economics by Austrian School leaders have led to the school being dismissed within the mainstream.[67]

Another general criticism of the School is that although it claims to highlight shortcomings in traditional methodology, it fails to provide viable alternatives for making positive contributions to economic theory.[74] In his critique of Austrian economics, Caplan stated that Austrian economists have often misunderstood modern economics, causing them to overstate their differences with it. He argued that several of the most important Austrian claims are false or overstated. For example, Austrian economists object to the use of cardinal utility in microeconomic theory; however, microeconomic theorists go to great pains to show that their results hold for all monotonic transformations of utility, and so are true for purely ordinal preferences.[5][15] Caplan has also criticized the school for rejecting on principle the use of mathematics or econometrics. In response, Austrians argue that neoclassical economists fail to recognize hidden (and not necessarily true) assumptions they make to arrive to tractable mathematical models.[75] Austrians also claim that econometrics is fundamentally based on mathematically and logically invalid summation and averaging of demonstrably non-additive personal utility functions, and therefore is subjective.[76]

There are also criticisms of specific Austrian theories. For example, Nobel laureate and neo-Keynesian economist Paul Krugman argued that Austrian business cycle theory implies that consumption would increase during downturns, and cannot explain the empirical observation that spending in all sectors of the economy fall during a recession.[77] Austrian theorists argue a recession can result from a monetary contraction or a "credit crunch" that causes the investment boom not to shift but simply to disappear.[78] Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, after examining the history of business cycles in the US, concluded that "The Hayek-Mises explanation of the business cycle is contradicted by the evidence. It is, I believe, false."[79][80]

Economist Jeffrey Sachs states that when comparing developed free-market economies, those that have high rates of taxation and high social welfare spending perform better on most measures of economic performance compared to countries with low rates of taxation and low social outlays. He asserts that poverty rates are lower, median income is higher, the budget has larger surpluses, and the trade balance is stronger (although unemployment tends to be higher). He concludes that Friedrich Hayek was wrong when he said that high taxation would be a threat to freedom; but rather, a generous social-welfare state leads to fairness, economic equality, international competitiveness, and strong vibrant democracies.[81] In response to Sachs' article, William Easterly states that Hayek, writing in 1944, correctly recognized the dangers of large-scale state economic planning. He also questions the validity of comparing poverty levels in the Nordic countries and the United States, when the former have been moving away from social planning toward a more market-based economy, and the latter has historically taken in impoverished immigrants. Easterly also argues that laissez-faire countries were the leaders of "the ongoing global industrial revolution" which is responsible for abolishing much of the world's poverty.[82]

Seminal works

Related pages

References

  1. ^ The Austrian School of Economics, Peter J. Boettke
  2. ^ Jack Birner & Rudy Van Zijp. Hayek, Co-ordination and Evolution. Routledge, 1994. p. 94
  3. ^ a b Boettke, Peter J.; Peter T. Leeson (2003). "28A: The Austrian School of Economics 1950-200". in Warren Samuels, Jeff E. Biddle, and John B. Davis. A Companion to the History of Economic Thought. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 446–452. ISBN 978-0-631-22573-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=3H8gBQv5MysC&pg=PA445&dq=austrian+school+heterodox+economics&lr=&sig=ACfU3U2uO3tvskiSCG_we5gL0VSCevKdDw#PPA445,M1. 
  4. ^ Boettke, Peter. "Is Austrian Economics Heterodox Economics?". The Austrian Economists. http://austrianeconomists.typepad.com/weblog/2008/05/is-austrian-eco.html. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Caplan, Bryan. "Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist". George Mason University. http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/bcaplan/whyaust.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  6. ^ Mankiw, Greg. "Mankiw: Austrian Economics". http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/04/austrian-economics.html. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  7. ^ a b c Ludwig von Mises. "The Principle of Methodological Individualism". Human Action. Ludwig von Mises Institute. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap2sec4.asp. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  8. ^ Keizer, Willem (1997). Austrian Economics in Debate. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-14054-6. 
  9. ^ Israel M. Kirzner (1987). "Austrian School of Economics," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 1, pp. 145–151.
  10. ^ Veblen, Thorstein Bunde; “The Preconceptions of Economic Science” Pt III, Quarterly Journal of Economics v14 (1900).
  11. ^ Colander, David; The Death of Neoclassical Economics.
  12. ^ Kasper, Sherryl Davis (2002). The Revival of Laissez-faire in American Macroeconomic Theory. Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 66. ISBN 978-1-84064-606-1. 
  13. ^ What is Austrian economics?
  14. ^ Machan, Tibor (2007). The Morality of Business. Berlin: Springer. pp. 55. ISBN 0-387-48906-1. 
  15. ^ a b c Caplan, Bryan (Apr 1999). "The Austrian Search for Realistic Foundations". Southern Economic Journal (Southern Economic Association): 823–838. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1061278. 
  16. ^ Cuhel, Franz: "On the Theory of Needs"
  17. ^ Luce, R. Duncan; Raiffa, Howard (1957), Games and Decisions, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., pp. 16 
  18. ^ On the Possibility of Assigning Probabilities to Singular Cases, or: Probability is Subjective Too!, by Mark R. Crovelli
  19. ^ "Austrian economics and the mainstream: View from the boundary" by Roger E. Backhouse
  20. ^ Meijer, G. (1995). New Perspectives on Austrian Economics. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-12283-2. 
  21. ^ See the online collection of Murray Rothbard's writings here
  22. ^ Greenspan, Alan. "Hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services." U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services. Washington D.C.. 25 July 2000.
  23. ^ Economic lessons from Lenin's seer by Kyle Crichton
  24. ^ The Austrian School
  25. ^ An Interview with Laureate James Buchanan Austrian Economics Newsletter: Volume 9, Number 1; Fall 1987
  26. ^ The Economics of a Free Society - Ron Paul - Mises Institute
  27. ^ Paul, Ron (2008). The Revolution: A Manifesto. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 102. ISBN 978-0-446-53751-3. 
  28. ^ Peter Schiff named Ron Paul's Economic Adviser.
  29. ^ Interview with Peter Schiff
  30. ^ Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in the Global Markets. 2006. Wiley. p. 230
  31. ^ Ludwig von Mises, Nationalökonomie (Geneva: Union, 1940), p. 3; Human Action (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, [1949] 1998), p. 3.
  32. ^ Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Economic Science and the Austrian Method (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, [1995] 2007), p. 63.
  33. ^ Murphy, Robert P. (28 July 2009). Mises University. 
  34. ^ Samuelson, Paul (1964). Economics (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 736. ISBN 0-07-074741-5. 
  35. ^ Skousen, Mark (2005). Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes?. Washington: Capital Press/Regnery Pub. ISBN 0-89526-029-8. 
  36. ^ F. A. Hayek (1980). Individualism and Economic Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-32093-6. 
  37. ^ Kirzner, Israel M.; Lachman, Ludwig M. (1986). Subjectivism, intelligibility and economic understanding: essays in honor of Ludwig M. Lachmann on his eightieth birthday (Illustrated ed.). McMillan. ISBN 9780333417881. 
  38. ^ Viner, Jacob (1965). "“Opportunity Cost” Analysis as a Substitute for Real Cost Analysis". Studies in the Theory of International Trade. Harper and Brothers Publishers. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1414&chapter=45609&layout=html&Itemid=27#lf0619_footnote_nt1243. 
  39. ^ "Values are not seen (as they are in Marshallian economics) as jointly determined by subjective (utility) and objective (physical cost) considerations. Rather, values are seen as determined solely by the actions of consumers... Cost is seen (by Menger, and especially by Wieser...) merely as prospective utility deliberately sacrificed (in order to command more highly preferred utility)." Israel M. Kirzner, "The Austrian School of Economics", The New Palgrave: Dictionary of Economics (1987)
  40. ^ Skousen, Mark (2001). The Making of Modern Economics. M.E. Sharpe. p. 284. ISBN 0-7656-0479-5. 
  41. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1974". Nobel Foundation. 1974-10-09. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/1974/press.html. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  42. ^ Steele, G. R. (2001). Keynes and Hayek. Routledge. p. 9. ISBN 0-415-25138-9. 
  43. ^ Thorsten Polleit, Inflation Is a Policy that Cannot Last
  44. ^ Charles T. Hatch, ’’Inflationary Deception’’ http://mises.org/journals/scholar/hatch.pdf
  45. ^ Shostak, Ph.D, Frank (2002-03-02). "Defining Inflation". Mises Institute. http://mises.org/story/908. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  46. ^ von Mises, Ludwig (1951-4-6). "Economic Freedom and Interventionism". Economics of Mobilization. Sulphur Springs, West Virginia: The Commercial and Financial Chronicle. http://mises.org/efandi/ch20.asp. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  47. ^ Ludwig von Mises Institute, "True Money Supply"
  48. ^ Joseph T. Salerno, (1987), Austrian Economic Newsletter, "The "True" Money Supply: A Measure of the Medium of Exchange in the U.S. Economy"
  49. ^ Frank Shostak, (2000), "The Mystery of the Money Supply Definition"
  50. ^ Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit", ISBN 0-913966-70-3 See also: Jesus Huerta de Soto, "Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles", ISBN 0-945466-39-4
  51. ^ Murray Rothbard, "What Has Government Done to Our Money?", ISBN 978-0-945466-44-4
  52. ^ Lew Rockwell, interview on "NOW with Bill Moyers"
  53. ^ Lew Rockwell, "War and Inflation", Ludwig von Mises Institute
  54. ^ Thorsten Polleit, "Manipulating the Interest Rate: a Recipe for Disaster", 13 December 2007
  55. ^ Ludwig von Mises Institute, "The Gold Standard"
  56. ^ Ron Paul, "The Case for Gold"
  57. ^ Greenspan, Alan (1966). "Gold and Economic Freedom". The Objectivist. http://www.321gold.com/fed/greenspan/1966.html. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  58. ^ Murray Rothbard, "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar"
  59. ^ Ludwig von Mises Institute, "Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve"
  60. ^ von Mises, Ludwig (1981-07-01). The Theory of Money and Credit. Liberty Fund, Inc.. Chapter 21. ISBN 0-913966-71-1. http://mises.org/story/2276. 
  61. ^ Thorsten Polleit, Manipulating the Interest Rate: a Recipe for Disaster, 13 December 2007
  62. ^ The Fed's modus operandi: Panic by Steve H. Hanke
  63. ^ F. A. Hayek, (1935), "The Nature and History of the Problem" and "The Present State of the Debate," om in F. A. Hayek, ed. Collectivist Economic Planning, pp. 1–40, 201–243.
  64. ^ a b The socialist calculation debate
  65. ^ White, Lawrence H. (2008), "The research program of Austrian economics", Advances in Austrian Economics (Emerald Group Publishing Limited): 20 
  66. ^ Walker, Deborah L.. "Austrian Economics". Library of Economics and Liberty. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/AustrianEconomics.html. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  67. ^ a b Samuelson, Paul A. (Sep 1964). "Theory and Realism: A Reply". The American Economic Review (American Economic Association): 736–739. "Well, in connection with the exaggerated claims that used to be made in economics for the power of deduction and a priori reasoning ..... – I tremble for the reputation of my subject. Fortunately, we have left that behind us.". 
  68. ^ Mayer, Thomas (Winter 1998). "Boettke's Austrian critique of mainstream economics: An empiricist's response". Critical Review (Routledge): 151–171. 
  69. ^ "Rules for the study of natural philosophy", Newton 1999, pp. 794-6, from Book 3, The System of the World.
  70. ^ Caldwell, Bruce (2004), Hayek's Challenge, The University of Chicago Press 
  71. ^ von Mises, Ludwig (2008), Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Laissez Faire Books 
  72. ^ Rothbard, Murray N. (1991), In Defense of “Extreme Apriorism”, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited 
  73. ^ Hayek, Friedrich August (1996), Individualism and Economic Order, University Of Chicago Press 
  74. ^ Klein, B. 1975. "Book review: Competition and entrepreneurship". Journal of Political Economy. 83: 1305–1306.
  75. ^ Barnett, William, Mises.org, Dimensions and Economics: Some Problems
  76. ^ Murphy, Robert P. (2002-07-15). "Econometrics: A Strange Process". http://mises.org/story/1001. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  77. ^ Krugman, Paul (1998-12-04). "The Hangover Theory". Slate. http://www.slate.com/id/9593. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  78. ^ Gordon, David (1999). "The Hangover Theory". The Mises Review. http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=53. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  79. ^ Friedman, Milton. "The Monetary Studies of the National Bureau, 44th Annual Report". The Optimal Quantity of Money and Other Essays. Chicago: Aldine. pp. 261–284. 
  80. ^ Friedman, Milton. "The 'Plucking Model' of Business Fluctuations Revisited". Economic Inquiry: 171–177. 
  81. ^ Sachs, Jeffrey (October 2006). "The Social Welfare State, Beyond Ideology". Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-social-welfare-state. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  82. ^ William Easterly (2006-11-15). "Dismal Science". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116355956112023480.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 

External links


Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

The Austrian School (also known as the “Vienna School” or the “Psychological School”) is a heterodox school of economics[1][2] that emphasizes the spontaneous organizing power of the price mechanism, holds that the complexity of subjective human choices makes mathematical modelling of the evolving market extremely difficult (or impossible) and therefore advocates a laissez faire approach to the economy. Austrian School economists advocate the enforcement of voluntary contractual agreements between economic agents, but otherwise the smallest imposition of coercive force (especially government-imposed) on commercial transactions.

Although often controversial, the Austrian School was once influential dating back to the early 20th century, but currently contributes relatively little to mainstream economic thought.[3][4] The Austrian School derives its name from its predominantly Austrian founders and early supporters, including Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Ludwig von Mises. Despite this name, supporters and proponents of the Austrian School can come from any part of the world, and there are now few Austrian School economists of Austrian nationality. Prominent Austrian School economists of the 20th century include Joseph Schumpeter, Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, and Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek.

Austrian School economists advocate strict adherence to methodological individualism – analyzing human action from the perspective of individual agents. Proponents of this method, praxeology, argue that the only means of arriving at a valid economic theory is to derive it logically from basic principles of human action. Proponents of this method hold that it allows for the discovery of fundamental economic laws valid for all human action. Alongside praxeology, the school has traditionally advocated an interpretive approach to history to address specific historical events. Critics of the Austrian school contend that its methods consist of post-hoc analysis and do not generate testable implications; they argue this approach fails the test of falsifiability.[3]

Contents

History

Classical economics focused on the labour theory of value, which holds that the value of a commodity is equal to the amount of labour required to produce it. In the late 19th century, however, attention was focused on the concepts of “marginal” cost and value. The Austrian School was one of three founding currents of the marginalist revolution of the 1870s, with its major contribution being the introduction of the subjectivist approach in economics.[5] Carl Menger's 1871 book, Principles of Economics was the catalyst for this development; while marginalism was generally influential, there was also a more specific school that grew up around Menger, which came to be known as the “Psychological School,” “Vienna School,” or “Austrian School.”[6] Thorstein Veblen introduced the term neoclassical economics in his Preconceptions of Economic Science (1900) to distinguish marginalists in the objective cost tradition of Alfred Marshall from those in the subjective valuation tradition of the Austrian School.[7][8]

Austrian economics is closely associated with the advocacy of laissez-faire views. The Austrian School, especially through the works of Friedrich Hayek, was influential in the revival of laissez-faire thought in the 20th century,[9] during whichTemplate:When it played a majorTemplate:Dubious role in the development of economic theory.[5]Template:Page number

Origins and etymology

The school originated in Vienna, in the Austrian Empire. However, later adherents of the school such as Murray Rothbard have derived the roots of the thought of the Austrian School from the Spanish Scholastics teaching at the University of Salamanca of the 15th century and the French Physiocrats of the 18th century.[10] The School owes its name to members of the German Historical School of economics, who argued against the Austrians during the Methodenstreit ("methodology struggle"), in which the Austrians defended the reliance that classical economists placed upon deductive logic. Their Prussian opponents derisively named them the “Austrian School” to emphasize a departure from mainstream German thought and to suggest a provincial, Aristotelian approach. The name “Psychological School” derived from the effort to found marginalism upon prior considerations, largely psychological. The school was no longer centered in Austria after Hitler came to power, and is now based almost entirely in the United States.

First wave

Carl Menger was closely followed by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Friedrich von Wieser, in what is known as the "first wave" of the School. Austrian economists developed a sense of themselves as a school distinct from neoclassical economics during the economic calculation debate with socialist economists. Ludwig von Mises and his student Friedrich A. Hayek represented the Austrian position in contending that without monetary prices and private property, meaningful economic calculation is impossible.[11]

The Austrian economists were amongst the first to clash directly with Marxism, since both dealt with such subjects as money, capital, business cycles, and economic processes. This was part of the Austrian economists' participation in the late 19th Century Methodenstreit, during which they attacked the Hegelian doctrines of the Historical School. The Austrian economist Böhm-Bawerk wrote extensive critiques of Marx in the 1880s and 1890s.

1920–

Austrian economics after 1920 can be broken into two general trends. One, exemplified by Friedrich A. Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter, while distrusting many neoclassical concepts (like most of the corpus of Keynesian macroeconomics), generally accepts a large part of the neoclassical methodology; the other, exemplified by Ludwig von Mises, seeks a different formalism for economics. The main area of contention between the mainstream and the Austrian school is on their view of the market system as a process, not only to be studied using equilibrium models, but to be viewed as an incessant process that only tends toward a constantly changing equilibrium, this difference is the root of the Austrian business cycle theory, the economic calculation debate, and their different views of monopoly and competition. The second primary area of contention between neoclassical theory and the Austrian school is over the possibility of consumer indifferenceTemplate:Ndash neoclassical theory says it is possible, whereas Mises rejected it as being “impossible to observe in practice.” This is a more philosophical problem, than one directly relevant to the understanding of the operation of the market. The third major dispute arose when Mises and his students argued, building on Czech economist Franz Cuhel,[12] that utility functions are ordinal, and not cardinal; that is, the Austrians contend that one can only rank preferences and cannot measure their intensity, in direct opposition to the neoclassical view at the time. However, mainstream theorists since then have shown that their results hold for all monotonic transformations of utility, and so also hold for ordinal preferences.[3]

Finally there are a host of questions about uncertainty raised by Mises and other Austrians, who argue for a different means of risk assessment. These questions are directly linked to the market process approach to economic theory, since the world of probabilistic uncertainty is the equilibrium world. Only immersed in a world of genuine uncertainty the market process theory is relevant.

Later reputation

Austrian economics was ill-thought of by most economists after World War II because it rejected mathematical and statistical methods. Its reputation rose somewhat in the late 20th century with the work of Israel Kirzner and Ludwig Lachmann, as well as a renewed interest in Hayek after he won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (a.k.a. the Nobel Prize in Economics).[13] Following Hayek, one of Ludwig von Mises's students, Murray Rothbard, become prominent in both Austrian applied theory and Libertarian philosophical thought.[14] However, it remains a distinctly minority position, even in such areas as capital value. Currently, universities with a significant Austrian presence are George Mason University and Loyola University New Orleans in the United States, and Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. The library of Universidad Francisco Marroquín is named after Ludwig von Mises, and the university also provides seminars and lectures through a program named for Austrian School proponent Henry Hazlitt. Austrian economic ideas are also promoted heavily by bodies such as the Mises Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Influence

According to the Austrian economist Peter J. Boettke, during its history the position of the Austrian School within economics profession has changed several times from the center to the fringe of the mainstream, and currently its position lies between mainstream and heterodox economics.[1] While often controversial, the Austrian School has been historically influential due to its emphasis on the creative phase (i.e. the time element) of economic productivity and its questioning of the basis of the behavioral theory underlying neoclassical economics.

The influence that Austrian school ideas have had on Keynesian macroeconomics is often overlooked. Keynes himself acknowledged being exposed to the Misesian notion that “nominal” values could have “real” effects. A further source of this influence is the period of time when the London School of Economics brought in Hayek and other “continental” economists. While their students, though initially receptive, ultimately were drawn to the new Keynesian doctrines, many of the Hayekian concepts, particularly those relating time to the value of capital and its importance, would find their way into the work of Keynesians, especially by way of John Hicks (who, while distancing himself from Keynesianism, nonetheless made the most influential attempt to formalize it).

The former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, speaking of the originators of the School, said in 2000, “the Austrian school have reached far into the future from when most of them practiced and have had a profound and, in my judgment, probably an irreversible effect on how most mainstream economists think in this country”[15] (though Greenspan would later, in 2008, express “shocked disbelief” regarding the lack of protection of shareholders by lending institutions).[16] Republican U.S. congressman Ron Paul is a firm believer in Austrian school economics and has authored six books on the subject.[17][18] Paul's former economic adviser, Peter Schiff,[19] is an adherent of the Austrian school.[20]

Analytical framework

Austrian economists reject empirical, statistical methods and artificially constructed experiments as tools applicable to economics, saying that while it is appropriate in the natural sciences where factors can be isolated in laboratory conditions, the actions of human beings are too complex for this treatment. Instead one should isolate the logical processes of human action. Von Mises called this discipline "praxeology" – a term he adapted from Alfred Espinas (but which had been in use by others).[21]

Austrian school theorists, like Ludwig von Mises, insist that praxeology must be value-free—that the method does not answer the question "should this policy be implemented?", but rather "if this policy is implemented, will it have the effects you intend"? However, Austrian economists often make policy recommendations that call for the elimination of government regulations and their policy prescriptions often overlap with libertarian or anarcho-capitalist solutions. These recommendations are similar to, but further reaching than the minarchist ideas of Chicago School economists, and frequently address topics other schools avoid, such as monetary reform.[22] Both schools advocate strict protection of private property, and support for individualism in general,[23] and are often cited by libertarian, classical or laissez-faire liberal, fiscal conservative, and Objectivist groups for support.

The Austrian praxeological method is based on the heavy use of logical deduction from what they perceive to be self-evident axioms; undeniable facts about human existence. The primary axiom from which Austrian economists deduce further certain conclusions is the action axiom which holds that humans take conscious action toward chosen goals. The axiom actually affirms many other axioms such as existence, identity, consciousness, and free-will. Austrian economists recognize this but focus on action and say that it is undeniable because in order to deny action, one would have to employ action in the act of denial.

This is the one area where Austrian economists differ most significantly from other schools of economic thought. Mainstream schools such as the neoclassical economists, the Chicago school of economics, the Keynesians and New Keynesians, adopt mathematical and statistical methods, and focus on induction and empirical observation to construct and test theories; while Austrian economists reject this approach in favor of deduction and logically deduced inferences. Austrian economists stress deduction because deduction, if performed correctly, leads to certain conclusions and inferences that must be true. Though Austrian economists do not discount induction, they hold that it does not assure certainty like deduction. Mainstream economists hold that conclusions that can be reached by pure logical deduction are limited and weak.[24]

Austrian economists view entrepreneurship as the driving force in economic development, see private property as essential to the efficient use of resources, and usually (if not always) see government interference in market processes as counterproductive. In this, their views do not differ far from those of the Chicago school.

As with neoclassical economists, Austrian economists reject classical cost of production theories, most famously the labor theory of value. Instead they explain value by reference to the subjective preferences of individuals. This psychological aspect to Menger's economics has been attributed to the school's birth in turn of the century Vienna. Supply and demand are explained by aggregating over the decisions of individuals, following the precepts of methodological individualism, which asserts that only individuals and not collectives make decisions, and marginalist arguments, which compare the costs and benefits for incremental changes.

Contemporary neo-Austrian economists claim to adopt economic subjectivism more consistently than any other school of economics and reject many neoclassical formalisms. For example, while neoclassical economics formalizes the economy as an equilibrium system with supply and demand in balance, Austrian economists emphasize its dynamic, perpetually dis-equilibrated nature.

The core of the Austrian framework can be summarized as taking a subjectivist approach to marginal economics, and a focus on the idea that logical consistency of a theory is more important than any interpretation of empirical observations. Austrian economists focus completely on the opportunity cost of goods, as opposed to balancing downside or disutility costs. Although found in earlier writing, the opportunity cost doctrine was first explicitly formulated by Austrian economists in the late 19th century.[25] It is a typical Austrian school assertion that everyone directly involved is better off in a mutually voluntary exchange, or they would not have carried it out. Mainstream economists point out that this does not mean that society as a whole benefits, as there may be externalities that affect third parties not directly involved in the original transaction.

This focus on opportunity cost alone means that their interpretation of the time value of a good has a strict relationship: since goods will be as restricted by scarcity at a later point in time as they are now, the strict relationship between investment and time must also hold. A factory making goods next year is worth as much less as the goods it is making next year are worth. This means that the business cycle is driven by mis-coordination between sectors of the same economy, caused by money not carrying incentive information correct about present choices, rather than within a single economy where money causes people to make bad decisions about how to spend their time.

Critics of the Austrian school contend that by rejecting mathematics and econometrics, it has failed to contribute significantly to modern economics. Additionally, they contend that its methods currently consist of post-hoc analysis and do not generate testable implications; therefore, they fail the test of falsifiability.[3] Austrian economists contend that testability in economics is virtually impossible since it relies on human actors who cannot be placed in a lab setting without altering their would-be actions.

Contributions

Template:Prose Some general contributions of Austrian economists:

  • A theory of distribution in which factor prices result from the imputation of prices of consumer goods to goods of "higher order", that is goods used in the production of consumer goods (goods of the first order).
  • An emphasis on the forward-looking nature of choice, seeing time as the root of uncertainty within economics (see also time preference).
  • A fundamental rejection of mathematical methods in economics, seeing the function of economics as investigating the essences rather than the specific quantities of economic phenomena. This was seen as an evolutionary, or "genetic-causal", approach against the alleged "unreality" and internal stresses inherent in the "static" approach of equilibrium and perfect competition, which are the foundations of mainstream Neoclassical economics (see also praxeology). This methodology is also driven by the belief that econometrics is inherently misleading in that it creates a fallacious "precision" in economics where there is none.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's critique of Marx centered around the untenability of the labor theory of value in the light of the transformation problem. There was also the connected argument that capitalists do not exploit workers; they accommodate workers by providing them with income well in advance of the revenue from the output they helped to produce.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's capital theory, which equates capital intensity with the degree of roundaboutness of production processes.
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's demonstration that the law of marginal utility, as formulated by Menger necessarily implies the classical law of costs and hence the vast majority of the conclusions of the British classical economists. This discovery was later fully developed and its implications traced by a student of von Mises, George Reisman, in his book, Capitalism.
  • An emphasis on opportunity cost and reservation demand in defining value, and a refusal to consider supply as an otherwise independent cause of value. (The British economist Philip Wicksteed adopted this perspective.)
  • The Mises-Hayek business cycle theory, which explains depression as a reaction to an intertemporal production structure fostered by monetary policy setting interest rates inconsistent with individual time preferences.
  • Hayek's concept of intertemporal equilibrium. (John Hicks took over this theory in his discussion of temporary equilibrium in Value and Capital, a book very influential on the development of neoclassical economics after World War II.)
  • Mises and Hayek's view of prices as permitting agents to make use of dispersed tacit knowledge.
  • The time preference theory of interest, which explains interest rates through intertemporal choice - the different time preferences of the borrower or lender - rather than as a price paid for a factor of production.
  • Stressing uncertainty in the making of economic decisions, rather than relying on "Homo economicus" or the rational man who was fully informed of all circumstances impinging on his decisions. The fact that perfect knowledge never exists, means that all economic activity implies risk.
  • Seeing the entrepreneurs' role as collecting and evaluating information and acting on risks.
  • The economic calculation debate between Austrian and Marxist economists, with the Austrians claiming that Marxism is flawed because prices could not be set to recognize opportunity costs of factors of production, and so socialism could not make rational decisions.
  • Predicting the Great Depression. Friedrich Hayek predicted the Great Depression.[26][27] Hayek made his prediction of a coming business crisis in February 1929. He warned that a financial crisis was an unavoidable consequence of reckless monetary expansion.[28]

Specific contributions

Inflation

The Austrian School has consistently argued that a "traditionalist" approach to inflation yields the most accurate understanding of the causes (and the cure) for inflation. Austrian economists maintain that inflation is always and everywhere simply an increase in the money supply (i.e. units of currency or means of exchange), which in turn leads to a higher nominal price level for assets (such as housing) and other goods and services in demand, as the real value of each monetary unit is eroded, loses purchasing power and thus buys fewer goods and services.

Given that all major economies currently have a central bank supporting the private banking system, almost all new money is supplied into the economy by way of bank-created credit (or debt). Austrian economists believe that this bank-created credit growth (which forms the bulk of the money supply) sets off and creates volatile business cycles (see Austrian Business Cycle Theory) and maintain that this "wave-like" or "boomerang" effect on economic activity is one of the most damaging effects of monetary inflation.

According to the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, it is the central bank's policy of ineffectually attempting to control the complex multi-faceted ever-evolving market economy that creates volatile credit cycles or business cycles, and, as a necessary by-product, inflation (especially in asset markets). By the central bank artificially "stimulating" the economy with artificially low interest rates (thereby permitting excessive increases in the money supply), the government-sponsored central bank itself allows debasement of the means of exchange (inflation), often focused in asset or capital markets, resulting in "false signals" going out to the market place, in turn resulting in clusters of malinvestments, and the artificial lowering of the returns on savings, which eventually causes the malinvestments to be liquidated as they inevitably show their underlying unprofitability and unsustainability.[29]

Austrian economists therefore regard the state-sponsored central bank as the main cause of inflation, because it is the institution charged with the creation of new currency units, referred to as bank credit. When newly created bank credit is injected into the fractional-reserve banking system, the credit expands, thus enhancing the inflationary effect.[30]

The Austrian School also views the "contemporary" definition of inflation as inherently misleading in that it draws attention only to the effect of inflation (rising prices) and does not address the "true" phenomenon of inflation which they believe is the debasement of the means of exchange. They argue that this semantic difference is important in defining inflation and finding a cure for inflation. Austrian School economists maintain the most effective cure is the strict maintenance of a stable money supply.[31] Ludwig von Mises, the seminal scholar of the Austrian School, asserts that:

Inflation, as this term was always used everywhere and especially in this country, means increasing the quantity of money and bank notes in circulation and the quantity of bank deposits subject to check. But people today use the term `inflation' to refer to the phenomenon that is an inevitable consequence of inflation, that is the tendency of all prices and wage rates to rise. The result of this deplorable confusion is that there is no term left to signify the cause of this rise in prices and wages. There is no longer any word available to signify the phenomenon that has been, up to now, called inflation. . . . As you cannot talk about something that has no name, you cannot fight it. Those who pretend to fight inflation are in fact only fighting what is the inevitable consequence of inflation, rising prices. Their ventures are doomed to failure because they do not attack the root of the evil. They try to keep prices low while firmly committed to a policy of increasing the quantity of money that must necessarily make them soar. As long as this terminological confusion is not entirely wiped out, there cannot be any question of stopping inflation.[32]

Following their definition, Austrian economists measure the inflation by calculating the growth of what they call 'the true money supply', i.e. how many new units of money that are available for immediate use in exchange, that have been created over time.[33][34][35]

This interpretation of inflation implies that inflation is always a distinct action taken by the central government or its central bank, which permits or allows an increase in the money supply.[36] In addition to state-induced monetary expansion, the Austrian School also maintains that the effects of increasing the money supply are magnified by credit expansion, as a result of the fractional-reserve banking system employed in most economic and financial systems in the world.[37]

Austrians claim that the state uses inflation as one of the three means by which it can fund its activities, the other two being taxing and borrowing.[38] Therefore, they often seek to identify the reasons for why the state needs to create new money and what the new money is used for. Various forms of military spending is often cited as a reason for resorting to inflation and borrowing, as this can be a short term way of acquiring marketable resources and is often favored by desperate, indebted governments.[39] In other cases, the central bank may try avoid or defer the widespread bankruptcies and insolvencies which cause economic recessions or depressions by artificially trying to "stimulate" the economy through "encouraging" money supply growth and further borrowing via artificially low interest rates.[40]

Accordingly, many Austrian economists support the abolition of the central banks and the fractional-reserve banking system, and advocate instead a return to money based on the gold standard, or less frequently, free banking.[41][42] Money could only be created by finding and putting into circulation more gold under a gold standard. At the beginning of his career Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a strong advocate of the Gold Standard as a protector of economic liberty.

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard. [43]

Advocates argued that the Gold Standard would constrain unsustainable and volatile fractional-reserve banking practices, ensuring that money supply growth (and inflation) would never spiral out of control.[44][45] Ludwig von Mises asserted that civil liberties would be better protected.

It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights. The demand for constitutional guarantees and for bills of rights was a reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings.[46]

Business cycles

Main article: Austrian Business Cycle Theory

According to Austrian economist Joseph Salerno, what most distinctly sets the Austrian school apart from neoclassical economics is the Austrian Business Cycle Theory: [2]

The Austrian theory embodies all the distinctive Austrian traits: the theory of heterogeneous capital, the structure of production, the passage of time, sequential analysis of monetary interventionism, the market origins and function of the interest rate, and more. And it tells a compelling story about an area of history neoclassicals think of as their turf. The model of applying this theory remains Rothbard's America's Great Depression.

Austrian economists focus on the amplifying, "wave-like" effects of the credit cycle as the primary cause of most business cycles. Austrian economists assert that inherently damaging and ineffective central bank policies are the predominant cause of most business cycles, as they tend to set "artificial" interest rates too low for too long, resulting in excessive credit creation, speculative "bubbles" and "artificially" low savings.[47]

According to the Austrian business cycle theory, the business cycle unfolds in the following way. Low interest rates tend to stimulate borrowing from the banking system. This expansion of credit causes an expansion of the supply of money, through the money creation process in a fractional reserve banking system. This in turn leads to an unsustainable "monetary boom" during which the "artificially stimulated" borrowing seeks out diminishing investment opportunities. This boom results in widespread malinvestments, causing capital resources to be misallocated into areas which would not attract investment if the money supply remained stable. The global economic crisis of 2008 represents, according to some pundits, an example of the Austrian business cycle theory's dependability.[48]

Austrian economists argue that a correction or "credit crunch" – commonly called a "recession" or "bust" – occurs when credit creation cannot be sustained. They claim that the money supply suddenly and sharply contracts when markets finally "clear", causing resources to be reallocated back toward more efficient uses.

Economic calculation

The economic calculation problem is a criticism of socialist economics. It was first proposed by Ludwig von Mises in 1920 and later expounded by Friedrich Hayek.[49][50] The problem referred to is that of how to distribute resources rationally in an economy. The capitalist solution is the price mechanism; Mises and Hayek argued that this is the only viable solution, as the price mechanism co-ordinates supply and investment decisions most efficiently (provided there is no distortion of the price mechanism by government or by the banks through fractional reserve banking). Without the information efficiently and effectively provided by market prices, socialism lacks a method to efficiently allocate resources over an extended period of time in any market where the price mechanism is effective (an example where the price mechanism may not work is in the relatively confined area of public and common goods). Those who agree with this criticism argue it is a refutation of socialism and that it shows that a socialist planned economy could never work in the long term for the vast bulk of the economy and has very limited potential application. The debate raged in the 1920s and 1930s, and that specific period of the debate has come to be known by economic historians as the The Socialist Calculation Debate.[51] Ludwig von Mises argued in a famous 1920 article "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" that the pricing systems in socialist economies were necessarily deficient because if government owned the means of production, then no prices could be obtained for capital goods as they were merely internal transfers of goods in a socialist system and not "objects of exchange," unlike final goods. Therefore, they were unpriced and hence the system would be necessarily inefficient since the central planners would not know how to allocate the available resources efficiently.[51] This led him to declare "...that rational economic activity is impossible in a socialist commonwealth."[49]

Criticism

Template:Criticism The main criticism of modern Austrian economics is that it lacks scientific precision. Austrian theories are not formulated in formal mathematical form, but using verbal logic. Mainstream economists believe that this makes Austrian theories too imprecisely defined to be clearly used to explain or predict real world events. Economist Bryan Caplan noted that, "what prevents Austrian economists from getting more publications in mainstream journals is that their papers rarely use mathematics or econometrics."[3] This criticism of the Austrian school is related to its rejection of the use of the scientific method and empirical testing in social sciences in favor of self-evident axioms and logical reasoning.[52][53]

Another general criticism of the School is that although it claims to highlight shortcomings in traditional methodology, it fails to provide viable alternatives for making positive contributions to economic theory.[54] This criticism is generally accepted, in the sense that the theories of Austrian economics are qualitative in nature and do not yield testable predictions. As an example, someTemplate:Who Austrians propose that the net possibility of gain is a more accurate measure of the cost of an action than opportunity cost (subjectivism). However, it is ultimately difficult to measure the possibilities and risk involved.

In his critique of Austrian economics, Caplan stated that Austrian economists have often misunderstood modern economics, causing them to overstate their differences with it. He argued that several of the most important Austrian claims are false or overstated. For example, Austrian economists object to the use of cardinal utility in microeconomic theory; however, microeconomic theorists go to great pains to show that their results hold for all monotonic transformations of utility, and so are true for purely ordinal preferences.[3] He has also criticized the school for rejecting on principle the use of mathematics or econometrics. In response, Austrians argue that neoclassical economists fail to recognize hidden (and not necessarily true) assumptions they make to arrive to tractable mathematical models.[55] Austrians also claim that econometrics is fundamentally based on mathematically and logically invalid summation and averaging of demonstrably non-additive personal utility functions, and therefore is subjective.[56]

There are also criticisms of specific Austrian theories. For example, Nobel laureate and neo-Keynesian economist Paul Krugman argued that Austrian business cycle theory implies that consumption would increase during downturns, and cannot explain the empirical observation that spending in all sectors of the economy fall during a recession.[57] Austrian theorists argue a recession can result from a monetary contraction or a "credit crunch" that causes the investment boom not to shift but simply to disappear.[58] Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, after examining the history of business cycles in the US, concluded that "The Hayek-Mises explanation of the business cycle is contradicted by the evidence. It is, I believe, false."[59][60]

Economist Jeffrey Sachs asserts that when comparing developed free-market economies, those that have high rates of taxation and high social welfare spending perform better on most measures of economic performance compared to countries with low rates of taxation and low social outlays. He asserts that poverty rates are lower, median income is higher, the budget has larger surpluses, and the trade balance is stronger (although unemployment tends to be higher). He concludes that von Hayek was wrong when he said that high taxation would be a threat to freedom; but rather, a generous social-welfare state leads to fairness, economic equality, international competitiveness, and strong vibrant democracies.[61] In response to Sachs' article, William Easterly noted that Hayek, writing in 1944, correctly recognized the dangers of large-scale state economic planning. He also questions the validity of comparing poverty levels in the Nordic countries and the United States, when the former have been moving away from social planning toward a more market-based economy, and the latter has historically taken in impoverished immigrants. Easterly also argues that laissez-faire countries were the leaders of "the ongoing global industrial revolution" which is responsible for abolishing much of the world's poverty.[62]

Seminal works

  • Principles of Economics (1871) by Carl Menger
  • Capital and Interest (1884-1921) by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
  • Human Action (1940-1949) by Ludwig von Mises
  • Economics in One Lesson (1946) by Henry Hazlitt
  • Individualism and Economic Order (1948) by Friedrich Hayek
  • Man, Economy, and State (1962) by Murray N. Rothbard
  • Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973) by Israel M. Kirzner

See also

Portal Economics portal
  • Newtonian time in economics, a debate concerning whether Newtonian time is an appropriate concept to use in economics
  • Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, one of the most prominent organs of the Austrian School in academia
  • List of Austrian intellectual traditions

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Boettke, Peter J., Peter T. Leeson (2003). “28A: The Austrian School of Economics 1950-200”, Warren Samuels, Jeff E. Biddle, and John B. Davis A Companion to the History of Economic Thought. Blackwell Publishing, 446–452.
  2. Boettke, Peter. Is Austrian Economics Heterodox Economics?. The Austrian Economists. Retrieved on 2009-02-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Caplan, Bryan. Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist. George Mason University. Retrieved on 2008-07-04.
  4. Mankiw, Greg. Mankiw: Austrian Economics. Retrieved on 2009-02-08.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Keizer, Willem (1997). Austrian Economics in Debate. New York: Routledge.
  6. Israel M. Kirzner (1987). "Austrian School of Economics," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 1, pp. 145-51.
  7. Veblen, Thorstein Bunde; “The Preconceptions of Economic Science” Pt III, Quarterly Journal of Economics v14 (1900).
  8. Colander, David; The Death of Neoclassical Economics.
  9. Kasper, Sherryl Davis (2002). The Revival of Laissez-faire in American Macroeconomic Theory. Edward Elgar Publishing, 66.
  10. What is Austrian economics?
  11. Machan, Tibor (2007). The Morality of Business. Berlin: Springer, p.55.
  12. Cuhel, Franz: "On the Theory of Needs"
  13. Meijer, G. (1995). New Perspectives on Austrian Economics. New York: Routledge.
  14. See the online collection of Murray Rothbard's writings here
  15. Greenspan, Alan. "Hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services." U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services. Washington D.C.. 7/25/2000.
  16. Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation. The New York Times Company. Retrieved on 2009-03-13.
  17. The Economics of a Free Society - Ron Paul - Mises Institute
  18. Paul, Ron (2008). The Revolution: A Manifesto. Grand Central Publishing, 102.
  19. Peter Schiff named Ron Paul's Economic Adviser.
  20. Interview with Peter Schiff
  21. Ludwig von Mises, Nationalökonomie (Geneva: Union, 1940), p.3; Human Action (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, [1949] 1998), p. 3.
  22. Skousen, Mark (2005). Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes?. Washington: Capital Press/Regnery Pub.
  23. F. A. Hayek. Individualism and Economic Order.
  24. Samuelson, Paul (1964). Economics, 6th, New York: McGraw-Hill, 736.
  25. The Opportunity Cost Doctrine
  26. Skousen, Mark (2001). The Making of Modern Economics. M.E. Sharpe.
  27. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1974. Nobel Foundation (1974-10-09). Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
  28. Steele, G. R. (2001). Keynes and Hayek. Routledge.
  29. Thorsten Polleit, Inflation Is a Policy that Cannot Last [1]
  30. Charles T. Hatch, ’’Inflationary Deception’’ http://mises.org/journals/scholar/hatch.pdf
  31. Shostak, Ph.D, Frank (2002-3-2). Defining Inflation. Mises Institute. Retrieved on 2008-09-20.
  32. von Mises, Ludwig (1951-4-6), Template:Link, Economics of Mobilization, Sulphur Springs, West Virginia: The Commercial and Financial Chronicle
  33. Ludwig von Mises Institute, "True Money Supply"
  34. Joseph T. Salerno, (1987), Austrian Economic Newsletter, "The "True" Money Supply: A Measure of the Medium of Exchange in the U.S. Economy"
  35. Frank Shostak, (2000), "The Mystery of the Money Supply Definition"
  36. Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit", ISBN 0-913966-70-3 See also: Jesus Huerta de Soto, "Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles", ISBN 0-945466-39-4
  37. Murray Rothbard, "What Has Government Done to Our Money?", ISBN 978-0945466444 [
  38. Lew Rockwell, interview on "NOW with Bill Moyers"
  39. Lew Rockwell, "War and Inflation", Ludwig von Mises Institute
  40. Thorsten Polleit, "Manipulating the Interest Rate: a Recipe for Disaster", 13 December 2007
  41. Ludwig von Mises Institute, "The Gold Standard"
  42. Ron Paul, "The Case for Gold"
  43. Greenspan, Alan (1966). Gold and Economic Freedom. The Objectivist. Retrieved on 2008-09-20.
  44. Murray Rothbard, "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar"
  45. Ludwig von Mises Institute, "Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve"
  46. von Mises, Ludwig (1981-7-1). The Theory of Money and Credit. Liberty Fund, Inc., Chapter 21.
  47. Thorsten Polleit, Manipulating the Interest Rate: a Recipe for Disaster, 13 December 2007
  48. George Bragues, Paulson's scheme, 7 October 2008
  49. 49.0 49.1 Von Mises, Ludwig (1990). Economic calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (pdf) (in English), Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  50. F. A. Hayek, (1935), "The Nature and History of the Problem" and "The Present State of the Debate," om in F. A. Hayek, ed. Collectivist Economic Planning, pp. 1-40, 201-43.
  51. 51.0 51.1 The socialist calculation debate
  52. Joe D. (2003-01-31). Why We Can't Associate Too Closely with the Austrians. anti-state.com. Retrieved on 2008-05-12.
  53. Steven R. Kangas. A Critique of the Austrian School of Economics. Retrieved on 2008-05-10.
  54. Klein, B. 1975. "Book review: Competition and entrepreneurship". Journal of Political Economy. 83: 1305- 1306.
  55. Barnett, William, Dimensions and Economics: Some Problems
  56. Murphy, Robert P. (2002-7-15). Econometrics: A Strange Process. Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  57. Krugman, Paul (1998-12-04). The Hangover Theory. Slate. Retrieved on 2008-06-20.
  58. Gordon, David (1999). The Hangover Theory. The Mises Review. Retrieved on 2008-10-24.
  59. Friedman, Milton. “The Monetary Studies of the National Bureau, 44th Annual Report”, The Optimal Quantity of Money and Other Essays. Chicago: Aldine, 261–284.
  60. Friedman, Milton. "The 'Plucking Model' of Business Fluctuations Revisited". Economic Inquiry: 171–177.  
  61. Sachs, Jeffrey (October 2006). "The Social Welfare State, Beyond Ideology". Scientific American. Retrieved on 2008-06-20.  
  62. William Easterly (2006-11-15). Dismal Science. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on 2008-09-07.

External links

Commons-logo.svg Search Wikimedia Commons for images, sounds and other media related to: Austrian School
  • Austrian Economics Concise encyclopedia of economics on Econlib
  • History of The Austrian School from the History of Economic Thought website.
  • Mises.org, official website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, containing a large selection of online books, video/audio, journal archives, and research on Austrian economics
  • Austrian School at the Open Directory Project

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