Friday, April 15, 2011

Hey! Just got my copy of The Austrian School of Economics

The Austrian School of Economics

I'm just looking it over. Here's a nice quote from the preface:
Based on the assumption that the individual was the decisive economic agent, and thus centering its research on individual preferences and on the intersubjective balancing of these preferences in the context of markets, the Austrian school has consistently pointed to the fact that institutions such as money, states [?, ed.], and markets had emerged without any planning, without any central purpose, and without force [in the case of states, maybe kinda sorta]. They had emerged on the basis of human interaction alone, and in a manner that was therefore natural, befitting both humans, and human logic. This basic insight counters all political and economic ideologies that view such institutions as working arenas for the establishment or development of authoritarian activity aimed at influencing or even controlling the direction of individual preferences or their intersubjective balance.

This meant that during the interwar period in Austria, the Austrian School was attacked, sometimes fiercely, by political parties of both the left and the right. the Austrian school not only denied the legitimacy, but also the efficacy of many economic policies. furthermore, the school had always identified itself with a universal science in which there was no room for national, religious, or class-oriented constrictions. In ways it even represented a kind of alternate world to many of the country's idiosyncrasies: it focused exclusively on the individual and asserted that individual action on the basis of subjective preferences was the starting point of r research; it was based on a realistic image of humanity that was not suited for inconceivable flights of idealistic fantasy and therefore not amenable to cheap political exploitation; it was free of magniloquent utopias, upheld the principles of self-determination and non-violence, and was united in its fundamental criticism of any monopolistic and forceful intervention of the state. In addition, it emanated a highly scholarly ethos which made possible the emergence of an uncommonly cosmopolitan and tolerant discourse.
Hah! Only five typoes. Considering the complexity of some of those terms, I'm proud. Oh yeah, the bracketed comments are mine (I'm sure that was obvious).

To elaborate on that point... I mean, maybe the original groups who first decided to conquer and enslave their neighbors found themselves together in one place without planning or force, but they didn't accomplish their conquest without force. Although I'll have to consider whether a hierarchic society can arise without that special case of force we call fraud.

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