Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane — The Economics of Great Powers Balance From Ancient Rome To Modern America — Videos

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Glenn Hubbard, “Balance” | Authors at Google

Q&A with R. Hubbard on “Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America”

Book TV: Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, “Balance”

Dr. Tim Kane: “America and the Ghost of Great Powers Past”

Romney’s top economist talks taxes, Ben Bernanke, and bailouts – Freeland File

 

Glenn Hubbard (economist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Glenn Hubbard
Glenn Hubbard portrait.jpg
Dean of Columbia Business School
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 1, 2004
Preceded by Meyer Feldberg
20th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
In office
May 11, 2001 – February 28, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Martin Neil Baily
Succeeded by N. Gregory Mankiw
Deputy Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of the Treasury
In office
1991–1993
President George H. W. Bush
Personal details
Born September 4, 1958 (age 56)
Orlando, Florida
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Central Florida(B.A., B.S.)
Harvard University (A.M., Ph.D.)
Profession Economist, professor
Religion Presbyterian
Signature
Website www.GlennHubbard.net

Robert Glenn Hubbard (born September 4, 1958) is an American economist and academic professor. He is currently the Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where he is also Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics.[1] Hubbard previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1991 to 1993, and as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisorsfrom 2001 to 2003.

Hubbard is a Visiting Scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where he studies tax policy and health care.[2]

Early Life

Born September 4, 1958, Hubbard was raised in Apopka, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, Florida. His father taught at a local community college and his mother taught at a high school. Hubbard’s younger brother, Gregg, is a member of the country-pop band Sawyer Brown.[3]

Hubbard is an Eagle Scout. A member of the chess team, he was a stellar student who graduated at the top of his class. He scored well enough on his College Level Examination Program to enter the University of Central Florida with enough credits to graduate with two degrees in three years. He obtained his B.A. and B.S. degrees summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida in 1979, and his masters and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1983.[3]

Career

Academic

Hubbard has been at Columbia University since 1988, being Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics since 1994.[4]

He was named dean of Columbia Business School on July 1, 2004.

Government

Hubbard was Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1991 to 1993.[2]

From February 2001 until March 2003, Hubbard was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President George W. Bush. A supply-side economist, he was instrumental in the design of the 2003 Bush Tax cuts[5]—an issue which split the economics profession on ideological lines, with those leaning left opposed and those leaning right supportive. See Economists’ statement opposing the Bush tax cuts.

He was tipped by some media outlets to be a candidate for the position of Chairman of the Federal Reserve when Alan Greenspan retired, although he was not nominated for the position.[5]

Political advisor

Hubbard served as economic advisor to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, a position he also held during Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.[6] In August 2012, Politicoidentified Hubbard as “a likely Romney appointee as Federal Reserve chairman or Treasury secretary“.[7]

Other

Hubbard serves as Co-Chair of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation.

“Hubbard is a member of the Board of Directors of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., BlackRock Closed-End Funds, Capmark Financial Corporation, Duke Realty Corporation,KKR Financial Corporation and Ripplewood Holdings. He is also a Director or Trustee of the Economic Club of New York, Tax Foundation, Resources for the Future, Manhattan Council and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse… Director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since February 2007.”[4]

Hubbard is currently a board member of:

Inside Job interview and aftermath

Hubbard was interviewed in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning documentary film, Inside Job (2010), discussing his advocacy, as chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration, of deregulation. Ferguson argues that deregulation led to the 2008 international banking crisis sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the sale of Merrill Lynch. In the interview, Ferguson asks Hubbard to enumerate the firms from whom he receives outside income as an advisory board member in the context of possible conflict of interest. Hubbard, hitherto cooperative, declines to answer and threatens to end the interview with the remark, “You have three more minutes; give it your best shot.”[11] After the release of the film, Columbia ramped up ongoing efforts to strengthen and clarify their conflict of interest disclosure requirements.[12] (Columbia Business School professor Michael Feiner, a member of the faculty committee of Columbia’s Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, has recommended that the film be shown to all business school students.[12]) One of Hubbard’s consulting contracts was examined in a deposition in 2012. His work for Countrywide Financial for $1200/hr, attesting that the lender’s loans were no worse than a control group of mortgages and not fraudulent, was examined by an attorney for MBIA. MBIA was suing Countrywide over its mortgage practices.[13]

Columbia Business School (CBS) Follies

Hubbard is also frequently featured in skits by Columbia Business School’s “Follies” group, ranging from videos of him monitoring students on classroom video cameras[14] to songs about his relationship with Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[15]

References

  1. Jump up^ Glater, Jonathan D. (April 1, 2004). “Former Bush Aide Will Lead Columbia Business School”.New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b American Enterprise Institute, R. Glenn Hubbard
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Segal, David (October 13, 2012). “Romney’s Go-To Economist”. The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Director – R. Glenn Hubbard”. Metlife. Retrieved 2008-12-15. R. Glenn Hubbard, Ph.D., age 50, has been the Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University since 2004 and the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics since 1994. Dr. Hubbard has been a professor of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University since 1988. He is also a visiting scholar and Director of the Tax Policy Program for the American Enterprise Institute, and was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers for the Congressional Budget Office from 2004 to 2006. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Hubbard served as Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and as Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Dr. Hubbard is a member of the Board of Directors of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., BlackRock Closed-End Funds, Capmark Financial Corporation, Duke Realty Corporation, KKR Financial Corporation and Ripplewood Holdings. He is also a Director or Trustee of the Economic Club of New York, Tax Foundation, Resources for the Future, Manhattan Council and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse… Director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since February 2007. Link.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Andrews, Edmund L.; David Leonhardt, Eduardo Porter, and Louis Uchitelle (October 26, 2005). “At the Fed, an Unknown Became a Safe Choice”. New York Times. Retrieved2008-12-15.
  6. Jump up^ Romney Taps Bush Hands to Shape Economic Policies, February 24, 2012
  7. Jump up^ “Who’s on the inside track for a Romney Cabinet” by MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI,Politico, August 28, 2012, Retrieved 2012-08-28
  8. Jump up^ “Directors and Corporate Officers”. ADP : Automatic Data Processing, Inc. Retrieved2008-12-15.
  9. Jump up^ “BlackRock Corporate High Yield Fund III Inc (CYE.N) Officers”. Reuters. Retrieved2008-12-15.
  10. Jump up^ “dukerealty.com – Investor Relations – Management”. Duke Realty. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  11. Jump up^ Transcript excerpt on “A Searing Look At Wall Street In ‘Inside Job’, Charles Ferguson interviewed by Melissa Block”, which aired October 1, 2010 on NPR‘s All Things Considered. During the program, Ferguson explained to Ms. Block, “Well, the entire interview was fairly contentious, as you can imagine. It surprised me somewhat to realize that these people were not used to being challenged, that they’d never been questioned about this issue before. They clearly expected to be deferred to by me and I think by everybody.”
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “‘Inside Job’ prompts new look at conflict of interest policy,” published April 13, 2011, in the Columbia Spectator.
  13. Jump up^ Taibbi, Matt, “Glenn Hubbard, Leading Academic and Mitt Romney Advisor, Took $1200 an Hour to Be Countrywide’s Expert Witness”, Rolling Stone Taiblog, December 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  14. Jump up^ ECHO 360. CBS Follies. December 16, 2011 – via YouTube. Those ECHO 360 cameras in every room at CBS aren’t just recording lectures so you can skip class on Jewish holidays. They’re Hubbard’s eyes and ears. He’s watching you.
  15. Jump up^ White House Dream. CBS Follies. April 16, 2012 – via YouTube. From the Columbia Business School Follies Spring 2012 Show

External links

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The Life & Thought of Friedrich Hayek–Videos

Posted on October 26, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Communications, Economics, European History, Food, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

The Life & Thought of Friedrich Hayek

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Anne Robert Jacques Turgot

Posted on April 21, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Economics, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Law, liberty, Life, People, Philosophy, Politics, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth. by Turgot

http://socserv2.socsci.mcmaster.ca/~econ/ugcm/3ll3/turgot/reflecti

The Brilliance of Turgot

by Murray N. Rothbard

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard243.html

Life and Works of Anne Robert Jacques Turgot

David M. Hart*

“…During the first period Turgot combined economic and legal reform with a concerted propaganda effort to defend these reforms in a series of memoirs, memos and formal opinions which were disseminated both within the government and published publically. His attempted reforms were extensive and comprised a veritable “revolution in government”. Had they succeeded the French old regime might well have opened up its economy, overcome its internal economic problems and thus averted the Revolution which was to break out in 1789. Turgot aimed to make taxation more equitably based, to spend tax revenue on roads and other infrastructure, to replace forced labour obligations (such as the corvée) with paid labour, to end military requisitioning of goods and transport, and to make service in the local militia voluntary. These reforms were accompanied by the publication of his most important economic works such as the Mémoire sur les prêts d’argent (1770); Lettres sur la liberté du commerce des grains (1770) addressed to the Abbot Terray in an effort to prevent the free trade legislation of 1764 from being revoked; and his major work Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (1766) which is one of the clearest statements of the Physiocratic position.

What emerges from these works is a clearly articulated and impassioned defense of individual and economic liberty. One key point is that Turgot did not share his fellow Physiocrats’ faith in enlightened despotism, preferring a notion of political liberty (such as constitutional limits on royal power and strong regional government) more in keeping with Montesquieu’s ideas. When the American Revolution broke out he followed events there with a keen interest.

The death of King Louis XV in May 1774 gave Turgot his second opportunity to introduce free market reforms to France. The new king Louis XVI appointed Turgot first as Minister of the Navy and then as Finance Minster from 1774-76. As Finance Minister Turgot attempted to reproduce on a larger scale the reforms he had pioneered at Limoges. In his Six Edicts of 17764 Turgot tried to bring an end to official corruption and to military requisitioning, to abolish many local monopolies, to introduce banking and taxation reforms, and to return to internal free trade in grain.

Unfortunately, his efforts failed as a result of the political inexperience of the new king, the ability of the vested interests who were being harmed by reform to organize against it, and the food riots which broke out as consequence of a food shortage and rising prices (the famous “guerre des farines”). Turgot was forced to resign in May 1776 and France’s experiment in free market reform came to an abrupt end. …”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/TurgotBio.html

 

Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune

Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune (10 May 1727 – 18 March 1781), often referred to as Turgot, was a French economist and statesman. Turgot was a student of Francois Quesnay and as such belonged to the Physiocratic school of economic thought. Today he is best remembered as an early advocate for economic liberalism.

Education

Born in Paris, he was the youngest son of Michel-Étienne Turgot, “Provost of the merchants” of Paris, and Madeleine Francoise Martineau de Brétignolles, and came of an old Norman family.[1] He was educated for the Church, and at the Sorbonne, to which he was admitted in 1749 (being then styled abbé de Brucourt). He delivered two remarkable Latin dissertations, On the Benefits which the Christian Religion has conferred on Mankind, and On the Historical Progress of the Human Mind. The first sign we have of his interest in economics is a letter (1749) on paper money, written to his fellow student the abbé de Cicé, refuting the abbé Jean Terrasson’s defence of John Law’s system. He was fond of verse-making, and tried to introduce into French verse the rules of Latin prosody, his translation of the fourth book of the Aeneid into classical hexameter verses being greeted by Voltaire as the only prose translation in which he had found any enthusiasm.

He decided not to take holy orders, giving as his reason, according to Dupont de Nemours, “that he could not bear to wear a mask all his life.”[citation needed]

Idea of Progress

The first complete statement of the Idea of Progress is that of Turgot, in his “A Philosophical Review of the Successive Advances of the Human Mind” (1750). For Turgot progress covers not simply the arts and sciences but, on their base, the whole of culture—manner, mores, institutions, legal codes, economy, and society.[2]

Early appointments

In 1752 he became substitut, and later conseiller in the parlement of Paris, and in 1753 maître des requêtes. In 1754 he was a member of the chambre royale which sat during an exile of the parlement. In Paris he frequented the salons, especially those of Mme de Graffigny—whose niece, Mlle de Ligniville (“Minette”), later Mme Helvétius, he is supposed at one time to have wished to marry; they remained lifelong friends—Mme Geoffrin, Mme du Deffand, Mlle de Lespinasse and the duchesse d’Enville. It was during this period that he met the leaders of the “physiocratic” school, Quesnay and Vincent de Gournay, and with them Dupont de Nemours, the abbé Morellet and other economists.

In 1743 and 1756 he accompanied Gournay, the intendant of commerce, during Gournay’s tours of inspection in the provinces. (Gournay’s bye-word on the government’s proper involvement in the economy — “laisser faire, laisser passer” — would pass into the vocabulary of economics.) In 1760, while travelling in the east of France and Switzerland, he visited Voltaire, who became one of his chief friends and supporters. All this time he was studying various branches of science, and languages both ancient and modern. In 1753 he translated the Questions sur le commerce from the English of Josias Tucker, and in 1754 he wrote his Lettre sur la tolérance civile, and a pamphlet, Le Conciliateur, in support of religious tolerance. Between 1755 and 1756 he composed various articles for the Encyclopédie,[3] and between 1757 and 1760 an article on Valeurs des monnaies, probably for the Dictionnaire du commerce of the abbé Morellet. In 1759 appeared his work Eloge de Gournay.

 

Intendant of Limoges, 1761-74

In August 1761 Turgot was appointed intendant (tax collector) of the genéralité of Limoges, which included some of the poorest and most over-taxed parts of France; here he remained for thirteen years. He was already deeply imbued with the theories of Quesnay and Gournay, and set to work to apply them as far as possible in his province. His first plan was to continue the work, already initiated by his predecessor Tourny, of making a fresh survey of the land (cadastre), in order to arrive at a more just assessment of the taille ; he also obtained a large reduction in the contribution of the province. He published his Avis sur l’assiette et la repartition de la taille (1762–1770), and as president of the Société d’agriculture de Limoges offered prizes for essays on the principles of taxation. Quesnay and Mirabeau had advocated a proportional tax (impôt de quotité),[4] but Turgot proposed a distributive tax (impôt de repartition). Another reform was the substitution for the corvée of a tax in money levied on the whole province, the construction of roads being handed over to contractors, by which means Turgot was able to leave his province with a good system of highways, while distributing more justly the expense of their construction.

In 1769 he wrote his Mémoire sur les prêts à intérêt, on the occasion of a scandalous financial crisis at Angoulême, the particular interest of which is that in it the question of lending money at interest was for the first time treated scientifically, and not merely from the ecclesiastical point of view. Turgot’s opinion was that a compromise had to be reached between both methods. Among other works written during Turgot’s intendancy were the Mémoire sur les mines et carrières, and the Mémoire sur la marque des fers, in which he protested against state regulation and interference and advocated free competition. At the same time he did much to encourage agriculture and local industries, among others establishing the manufacture of porcelain at Limoges. During the famine of 1770–1771 he enforced on landowners “the obligation of relieving the poor” and especially the métayers dependent upon them, and organized in every province ateliers and bureaux de charité for providing work for the able-bodied and relief for the infirm, while at the same time he condemned indiscriminate charity. It may be noted that Turgot always made the curés the agents of his charities and reforms when possible. It was in 1770 that he wrote his famous Lettres sur la liberté du commerce des grains, addressed to the controller-general, the abbé Terray. Three of these letters have disappeared, having been sent to Louis XVI by Turgot at a later date and never recovered, but those remaining demonstrate that free trade in grain is to the interest of landowner, farmer and consumer alike, and in forcible terms demand the removal of all restrictions..

Turgot’s Réflexions

Turgot’s best known work, Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth), was written early in the period of his intendancy, ostensibly for the benefit of two young Chinese students.[5] Written in 1766, it appeared in 1769–1770 in Dupont’s journal, the Ephémérides du citoyen, and was published separately in 1776. Dupont, however, made various alterations in the text, in order to bring it more into accordance with Quesnay’s doctrines, which led to a “friendship” between him and Turgot.[citation needed]

In the Réflexions, after tracing the origin of commerce, Turgot develops Quesnay’s theory that the land is the only source of wealth, and divides society into three classes, the productive or agricultural, the salaried (the classe stipendice) or artisan class, and the land-owning class (classe disponible). After discussing the evolution of the different systems of cultivation, the nature of exchange and barter, money, and the functions of capital, he sets forth the theory of the impôt unique, i.e. that only the net product (produit net) of the land should be taxed. In addition he demanded the complete freedom of commerce and industry.

Turgot as minister, 1774-76

Turgot owed his appointment as minister of the navy in July 1774 to Maurepas, the “Mentor” of Louis XVI, to whom he was warmly recommended by the abbé Very, a mutual friend. His appointment met with general approval, and was hailed with enthusiasm by the philosophes. A month later (24 August) he was appointed controller-general. His first act was to submit to the king a statement of his guiding principles: “No bankruptcy, no increase of taxation, no borrowing.” Turgot’s policy, in face of the desperate financial position, was to enforce the most rigid economy in all departments. All departmental expenses were to be submitted for the approval of the controller-general, a number of sinecures were suppressed, the holders of them being compensated, and the abuse of the acquits au comptant was attacked, while Turgot appealed personally to the king against the lavish giving of places and pensions. He also contemplated a thorough-going reform of the Ferme Générale, but contented himself, as a beginning, with imposing certain conditions on the leases as they were renewed—such as a more efficient personnel, and the abolition for the future of the abuse of the croupes (the name given to a class of pensions), a reform which Terray had shirked on finding how many persons in high places were interested in them, and annulling certain leases, such as those of the manufacture of gunpowder and the administration of the royal mails, the former of which was handed over to a company with the scientist Lavoisier as one of its advisers, and the latter superseded by a quicker and more comfortable service of diligences which were nicknamed “turgotines”. He also prepared a regular budget. Turgot’s measures succeeded in considerably reducing the deficit, and raised the national credit to such an extent that in 1776, just before his fall, he was able to negotiate a loan with some Dutch bankers at 4%; but the deficit was still so large as to prevent him from attempting at once to realize his favourite scheme of substituting for indirect taxation a single tax on land. He suppressed, however, a number of octrois and minor duties, and opposed, on grounds of economy, the participation of France in the American Revolutionary War, though without success.

Turgot at once set to work to establish free trade in grain, but his edict, which was signed on 13 September 1774, met with strong opposition even in the conseil du roi. A striking feature was the preamble, setting forth the doctrines on which the edict was based, which won the praise of the philosophes and the ridicule of the wits; this Turgot rewrote three times, it is said, in order to make it “so clear that any village judge could explain it to the peasants.” The opposition to the edict was strong. Turgot was hated by those who had been interested in the speculations in grain under the regime of the abbé Terray, among whom were included some of the princes of the blood. Moreover, the commerce des blés had been a favourite topic of the salons for some years past, and the witty Galiani, the opponent of the physiocrats, had a large following. The opposition was now continued by Linguet and by Necker, who in 1775 published his Essai sur la législation et le commerce des grains. But Turgot’s worst enemy was the poor harvest of 1774, which led to a slight rise in the price of bread in the winter and early spring of 1774 – 1775. In April disturbances arose at Dijon, and early in May there occurred those extraordinary bread-riots known as the guerre des farines, which may be looked upon as a first sample of the French Revolution, so carefully were they organized. Turgot showed great firmness and decision in repressing the riots, and was loyally supported by the king throughout. His position was strengthened by the entry of Malesherbes into the ministry (July 1775).

All this time Turgot had been preparing his famous Six Edicts, which were finally presented to the conseil du roi (January 1776). Of the six edicts four were of minor importance, but the two which met with violent opposition were, firstly, the edict suppressing the corvées, and secondly, that suppressing the jurandes and maîtrises, by which the craft guilds maintained their privileges. In the preamble to the former Turgot boldly announced as his object the abolition of privilege, and the subjection of all three Estates of the realm to taxation; the clergy were afterwards excepted, at the request of Maurepas. In the preamble to the edict on the jurandes he laid down as a principle the right of every man to work without restriction. He obtained the registration of the edicts by the lit de justice of 12 March, but by that time he had nearly everybody against him. His attacks on privilege had won him the hatred of the nobles and the parlements ; his attempted reforms in the royal household, that of the court; his free trade legislation, that of the financiers ; his views on tolerance and his agitation for the suppression of the phrase that was offensive to Protestants in the king’s coronation oath, that of the clergy; and his edict on the jurandes, that of the rich bourgeoisie of Paris and others, such as the prince de Conti, whose interests were involved. The queen disliked him for opposing the grant of favours to her proteges, and he had offended Mme. de Polignac in a similar manner.

All might yet have gone well if Turgot could have retained the confidence of the king, but the king could not fail to see that Turgot had not the support of the other ministers. Even his friend Malesherbes thought he was too rash, and was, moreover, himself discouraged and wished to resign. The alienation of Maurepas was also increasing. Whether through jealousy of the ascendancy which Turgot had acquired over the king, or through the natural incompatibility of their characters, he was already inclined to take sides against Turgot, and the reconciliation between him and the queen, which took place about this time, meant that he was henceforth the tool of the Polignac clique and the Choiseul party. About this time, too, appeared a pamphlet, Le Songe de M. Maurepas, generally ascribed to the comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), containing a bitter caricature of Turgot.

Before relating the circumstances of Turgot’s fall we may briefly resume his views on the administrative system. With the physiocrats, he believed in an enlightened political absolutism, and looked to the king to carry through all reforms. As to the parlements, he opposed all interference on their part in legislation, considering that they had no competency outside the sphere of justice. He recognized the danger of the recap of the old parlement, but was unable effectively to oppose it since he had been associated with the dismissal of Maupeou and Terray, and seems to have underestimated its power. He was opposed to the summoning of the states-general advocated by Malesherbes (6 May 1775), possibly on the ground that the two privileged orders would have too much power in them. His own plan is to be found in his Mémoire sur les municipalités, which was submitted informally to the king. In Turgot’s proposed system, landed proprietors alone were to form the electorate, no distinction being made among the three orders; the members of the town and country municipalités were to elect representatives for the district municipalités, which in turn would elect to the provincial municipalités, and the latter to a grande municipalité, which should have no legislative powers, but should concern itself entirely with the administration of taxation. With this was to be combined a whole system of education, relief of the poor, etc. Louis XVI recoiled from this as being too great a leap in the dark, and such a fundamental difference of opinion between king and minister was bound to lead to a breach sooner or later. Turgot’s only choice, however, was between “tinkering” at the existing system in detail and a complete revolution, and his attack on privilege, which might have been carried through by a popular minister and a strong king, was bound to form part of any effective scheme of reform.

American Revolution

As minister of the navy from 1774 to 1776, he opposed financial support for the American Revolution. He believed in the virtue and inevitable success of the revolution but warned that France could neither financially nor socially afford to overtly aid it. French intellectuals saw America as the hope of mankind and magnified American virtues to demonstrate the validity of their ideals. Turgot, however, emphasized what he believed were American inadequacies. He complained that the new American state constitutions failed to adopt the physiocratic principle of distinguishing for purposes of taxation between those who owned land and those who did not, the principle of direct taxation of property holders had not been followed, and a complicated legal and administrative structure had been created to regulate commerce. On the social level, Turgot and the philosophes suffered further disappointment: a religious oath was required of elected officials and slavery was not abolished. Turgot died in 1781 before the conclusion of the war. Although disappointed, Turgot never doubted positive evolution.[6]   …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne-Robert-Jacques_Turgot,_Baron_de_Laune

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The History of Economic Thought | Murray Rothbard–Videos

Posted on January 12, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, History of Economic Thought | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The History of Economic Thought, Lecture 1: Ideology and Theories of History | Murray Rothbard

he History of Economic Thought, Lecture 2: The Emergence of Communism | Murray Rothbard

The History of Economic Thought, Lecture 3: The Pre-Austrians | Murray Rothbard

The History of Economic Thought, Lecture 4: Menger and Böhm-Bawerk | Murray Rothbard

The History of Economic Thought, Lecture 5: Mises and Austrian Economics | Murray Rothbard

he History of Economic Thought, Lecture 6: Hayek & His Lamentable Contemporaries | Murray Rothbard

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Carl Menger and The Marginalist Revolution–Videos

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Microeconomics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

The Marginalist Revolution | Joseph T. Salerno

 

Menger and the Early Austrians

 

History of Austrian Economics

 

Principles of Economics by Carl Menger (read online)

“The reading of this book made an economist of me.”

~Ludwig von Mises

http://mises.org/etexts/menger/principles.asp

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

Biography of Carl Menger: The Founder of the Austrian School (1840-1921)

Joseph T. Salerno

Biography of Carl Menger: The Founder of the Austrian School (1840-1921)

by Joseph T. Salerno

“…Despite the many illustrious forerunners in its six-hundred year prehistory, Carl Menger (1840-1921) was the true and sole founder of the Austrian school of economics proper. He merits this title if for no other reason than that he created the system of value and price theory that constitutes the core of Austrian economic theory. But Menger did more than this: he also originated and consistently applied the correct, praxeological method for pursuing theoretical research in economics. Thus in its method and core theory, Austrian economics always was and will forever remain Mengerian economics.

Menger’s position as the originator of the fundamental doctrines of Austrian economics has been recognized and hailed by all eminent authorities on the history of Austrian economics. In his eulogy of Menger written upon the latter’s death in 1921, Joseph Schumpeter averred that “Menger is nobody’s pupil and what he created stands . . . . Menger’s theory of value, price, and distribution is the best we have up to now.” Ludwig von Mises wrote that “What is known as the Austrian School of Economics started in 1871 when Carl Menger published a slender volume under the title Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre [Principles of Economics]…. Until the end of the Seventies there was no `Austrian School.’ There was only Carl Menger.” For F. A. Hayek (1992, p. 62), the Austrian school’s “fundamental ideas belong fully and wholly to Carl Menger. . . . [W]hat is common to the members of the Austrian school, what constitutes their peculiarity and provided the foundations for their later contributions, is their acceptance of the teaching of Carl Menger.”

While there is no dispute regarding Menger’s role as creator of the defining principles of Austrian economics, there does exist some confusion regarding the precise nature of his contribution. It is not always fully recognized that Menger’s endeavor to radically reconstruct the theory of price on the basis of the law of marginal utility was not inspired by a vague subjectivism in outlook. Rather, Menger was motivated by the specific and overarching aim of establishing a causal link between the subjective values underlying the choices of consumers and the objective market prices used in the economic calculations of businessmen. The Classical economists had formulated a theory attempting to explain market prices as the outcome of the operation of the law of supply and demand. Yet, these economists were compelled to restrict their analysis to the monetary calculations and choices of businessmen while neglecting consumer choice for the lack of a satisfactory theory of value. Their theory of “calculated action” was correct as far as it went, and was used in demolishing the protectionist and interventionist schemes of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century mercantilists and the statist fantasies of nineteenth-century Utopian socialists. Thus, Menger’s ultimate goal was not to destroy Classical economics, as has sometimes been suggested, but to complete and firm up the Classical project by grounding the theory of price determination and monetary calculation in a general theory of human action. …”

http://mises.org/about/3239

The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Carl Menger

(1840-1921)

 

“… Carl Menger has the twin distinctions of being the founder of Austrian economics and a cofounder of the marginal utility revolution. Menger worked separately from William Jevons and Leon Walras and reached similar conclusions by a different method. Unlike Jevons, Menger did not believe that goods provide “utils,” or units of utility. Rather, he wrote, goods are valuable because they serve various uses whose importance differs. For example, the first pails of water are used to satisfy the most important uses, and successive pails are used for less and less important purposes.

Menger used this insight to resolve the diamond-water paradox that had baffled Adam Smith (see marginalism). He also used it to refute the labor theory of value. Goods acquire their value, he showed, not because of the amount of labor used in producing them, but because of their ability to satisfy people’s wants. Indeed, Menger turned the labor theory of value on its head. If the value of goods is determined by the importance of the wants they satisfy, then the value of labor and other inputs of production (he called them “goods of a higher order”) derive from their ability to produce these goods. Mainstream economists still accept this theory, which they call the theory of “derived demand.”

Menger used his “subjective theory of value” to arrive at one of the most powerful insights in economics: both sides gain from exchange. People will exchange something they value less for something they value more. Because both trading partners do this, both gain. This insight led him to see that middlemen are highly productive: they facilitate transactions that benefit those they buy from and those they sell to. Without the middlemen, these transactions either would not have taken place or would have been more costly.

Menger also came up with an explanation of how money develops that is still accepted today. If people barter, he pointed out, then they can rarely get what they want in one or two transactions. If they have lamps and want chairs, for example, they will not necessarily be able to trade lamps for chairs but may instead have to make a few intermediate trades. This is a hassle. But people notice that the hassle is much less when they trade what they have for some good that is widely accepted, and then use this good to buy what they want. The good that is widely accepted eventually becomes money. Modern economists describe this function of money as “avoiding the need for the double coincidence of wants.” Indeed, the word “pecuniary” derives from the Latin pecus, meaning “cattle,” which in some societies served as money. Other societies have used cigarettes, cognac, salt, furs, or stones as money. As economies became more complex and wealthier, they began to use precious metals (gold, silver, and so on) as money.

Menger extended his analysis to other institutions. He argued that language, for example, developed for the same reason money developed—to facilitate interactions between people. He called such developments “organic.” Neither language nor money was developed by government. …”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Menger.html

Carl Menger

“…Carl Menger (February 28, 1840 – February 26, 1921) was the founder of the Austrian School of economics, famous for contributing to the development of the theory of marginal utility, which contested the cost-of-production theories of value, developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

Biography

Menger was born in Nowy Sącz in Austrian Galicia, (now in Poland). He was the son of a wealthy family of minor nobility; his father, Anton, was a lawyer. His mother, Caroline, was the daughter of a wealthy Bohemian merchant. He had two brothers, Anton and Max, both prominent as lawyers. After attending Gymnasium he studied law at the Universities of Prague and Vienna and later received a doctorate in jurisprudence from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In the 1860s Menger left school and enjoyed a stint as a journalist reporting and analyzing market news, first at the Lemberger Zeitung in Lwów, Ukraine and later at the Wiener Zeitung in Vienna.

During the course of his newspaper work he noticed a discrepancy between what the classical economics he was taught in school said about price determination and what real world market participants believed. In 1867 Menger began a study of political economy which culminated in 1871 with the publication of his Principles of Economics (Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre), thus becoming the father of the Austrian School of economic thought. It was in this work that he challenged classical cost-based theories of value with his theory of marginality.

In 1872 Menger was enrolled into the law faculty at the University of Vienna and spent the next several years teaching finance and political economy both in seminars and lectures to a growing number of students. In 1873 he received the university’s chair of economic theory at the very young age of 33.

In 1876 Menger began tutoring Archduke Rudolf von Habsburg, the Crown Prince of Austria in political economy and statistics. For three years Menger accompanied the prince in his travels, first through continental Europe and then later through the British Isles.[1] He is also thought to have assisted the crown prince in the composition of a pamphlet, published anonymously in 1878, which was highly critical of the higher Austrian aristocracy. His association with the prince would last until Rudolf’s suicide in 1889 (see the Mayerling Affair).

In 1878 Rudolf’s father, Emperor Franz Josef, appointed Menger to the chair of political economy at Vienna. The title of Hofrat was conferred on him, and he was appointed to the Austrian Herrenhaus in 1900.

Ensconced in his professorship he set about refining and defending the positions he took and methods he utilized in Principles, the result of which was the 1883 publication of Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences with Special Reference to Economics (Untersuchungen über die Methode der Socialwissenschaften und der politischen Oekonomie insbesondere). The book caused a firestorm of debate, during which members of the Historical school of economics began to derisively call Menger and his students the “Austrian School” to emphasize their departure from mainstream economic thought in Germany – the term was specifically used in an unfavorable review by Gustav von Schmoller. In 1884 Menger responded with the pamphlet The Errors of Historicism in German Economics and launched the infamous Methodenstreit, or methodological debate, between the Historical School and the Austrian School. During this time Menger began to attract like-minded disciples who would go on to make their own mark on the field of economics, most notably Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, and Friedrich von Wieser.

In the late 1880s Menger was appointed to head a commission to reform the Austrian monetary system. Over the course of the next decade he authored a plethora of articles which would revolutionize monetary theory, including “The Theory of Capital” (1888) and “Money” (1892).[2] Largely due to his pessimism about the state of German scholarship, Menger resigned his professorship in 1903 to concentrate on study.

References

  1. ^ The History of Economic Thought: A Reader
  2. ^ “On the Origin of Money” (English translation by Caroline A. Foley), Economic Journal, Volume 2 (1892), pp. 239-55.

External links

  • Biography of Carl Menger The Founder of the Austrian School by Joseph T. Salerno
  • Biography of Carl Menger The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Library of Economics and Liberty
  • The Epistemological Import of Carl Menger’s Theory of the Origin of Money Ludwig von Mises in Human Action on Menger’s Theory of the Origins of Money
  • Profile on Carl Menger at the History of Economic Thought Website
  • Principles of Economics, online version provided by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
  • Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (Principles of Economics)
  • Principles of Economics (PDF Spanish)
  • On the Origin of Money (English Translation), online version provided by the Monadnock Press …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Menger

Carl Menger still woth reading

It’s the 171st birthday of the founder of the Austrian School of Economics, and his work is still relevant.

By Mario Rizzo, Guest blogger / February 24, 2011

“…Today is the birthday of Carl Menger, born February 23, 1840. Menger was, of course, the founder of the Austrian School of Economics. His Principles of Economics, a great achievement for its time, is still well worth reading. It conveys like no other book at the time (and unlike most basic texts today) the importance of mind, knowledge, ignorance, causal relationships between goods and wants, and of course marginal utility. I think we can still learn from Menger’s book today, especially about the importance of knowledge in economic development. Austrians should be pleased to have such a great mind as the founder of their school.

Menger’s work has garnered respect from even those who have not considered themselves Austrians. George Stigler, for example, wrote a very appreciative essay on Menger in his Production and Distribution Theories.For a long time Menger’s contributions were not clearly distinguished from those of Jevons and Walras, the other leaders of the “marginalist revolution.” We have William Jaffe to thank for his de-homogenization of the three great economists. But, really, a moment’s perusal of the three books should make the differences obvious. Walras is concerned about mathematical elegance and Jevons is so enamored of hedonistic psychology that he gives the appearance, at least, of casting marginalism as an application of Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy – thus unduly limiting it.

Menger also made contributions to the Scottish Enlightenment project of spontaneous order, especially with respect to the evolution of money and of common law. In this he shows himself a worthy successor to Adam Smith in a way that Walras and Jevons are not. …”

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/ThinkMarkets/2011/0224/Carl-Menger-still-woth-reading

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Mark Thoma–History of Economic Thought–University of Oregon–Videos

Posted on January 21, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Economics, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Taxes, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 1

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 2

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 3

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 4

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 5

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 6

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 7

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 8

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 9

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 10

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 11

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 12

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 13

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 14

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 15

 

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 16

Economics 493 – History of Economic Thought – Fall 2008 – Lecture 17

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Joseph T. Salerno–Lectures On The History and Theory of the Austrian School of Economics–Videos

Posted on January 10, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Forerunners of the Austrian School: French Liberal School | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 1 of 10)

 

The Origin and Decline of the Austrian School | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 2 of 10)

 

The Revival of the Austrian School: Mises and Rothbard | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 3 of 10)

 

The Theory of Monopoly Price: From Menger to Rothbard | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 4 of 10)

 

Modern Monetary Theory: The Austrian Contribution | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 5 of 10)

 

Keynes and the “New Economics” of Fascism | by Joseph T. Salerno [Lecture 6 of 10]

The Chicago School: Libertarian or Jacobin? | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 7 of 10)

The Debate on the Socialist Calculation Debate | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 8 of 10)

 

Money and Gold in the 1920s and 1930s | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 9 of 10)

 

The Gold Standard in Theory and Myth | by Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 10 of 10)

 

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Economic Thought Before Adam Smith (Introduction) by Murray N. Rothbard

Economic Thought Before Adam Smith (Chapter 1, 1/2 ) by Murray N. Rothbard

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Background Articles and Videos

Why I Wrote My Histories of Thought

by Murray N. Rothbard

“…As the subtitle declares, this work is an overall history of economic thought from a frankly “Austrian” standpoint: that is, from the point of view of an adherent of the “Austrian School” of economics. This is the only such work by a modern Austrian; indeed, only a few monographs in specialized areas of the history of thought have been published by Austrians in recent decades.[1] Not only that: this perspective is grounded in what is currently the least fashionable though not the least numerous variant of the Austrian School: the “Misesian” or “praxeologic.”[2]

But the Austrian nature of this work is scarcely its only singularity. When the present author first began studying economics in the 1940s, there was an overwhelmingly dominant paradigm in the approach to the history of economic thought – one that is still paramount, though not as baldly as in that era. Essentially, this paradigm features a few Great Men as the essence of the history of economic thought, with Adam Smith as the almost superhuman founder.

But if Smith was the creator of both economic analysis and of the free trade, free market tradition in political economy, it would be petty and niggling to question seriously any aspect of his alleged achievement. Any sharp criticism of Smith as either economist or free market advocate would seem only anachronistic: looking down upon the pioneering founder from the point of view of the superior knowledge of today, puny descendants unfairly bashing the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

If Adam Smith created economics, much as Athena sprang full-grown and fully armed from the brow of Zeus, then his predecessors must be foils, little men of no account. And so short shrift was given, in these classic portrayals of economic thought, to anyone unlucky enough to precede Smith. Generally they were grouped into two categories and brusquely dismissed.

Immediately preceding Smith were the mercantilists, whom he strongly criticized. Mercantilists were apparently boobs who kept urging people to accumulate money but not to spend it, or insisting that the balance of trade must “balance” with each country.

Scholastics were dismissed even more rudely, as moralistic medieval ignoramuses who kept warning that the “just” price must cover a merchant’s cost of production plus a reasonable profit.

The classic works in the history of thought of the 1930s and 1940s then proceeded to expound and largely to celebrate a few peak figures after Smith. Ricardo systematized Smith, and dominated economics until the l870s; then the “marginalists,” Jevons, Menger and Walras, marginally corrected Smith-Ricardo “classical economics” by stressing the importance of the marginal unit as compared to whole classes of goods.

Then it was onto Alfred Marshall, who sagely integrated Ricardian cost theory with the supposedly one-sided Austrian-Jevonian emphasis on demand and utility, to create modern neoclassical economics. Karl Marx could scarcely be ignored, and so he was treated in a chapter as an aberrant Ricardian.

And so the historian could polish off his story by dealing with four or five Great Figures, each of whom, with the exception of Marx, contributed more building blocks toward the unbroken progress of economic science, essentially a story of ever onward and upward into the light.[3]

In the post-World War II years, Keynes of course was added to the Pantheon, providing a new culminating chapter in the progress and development of the science. Keynes, beloved student of the great Marshall, realized that the old man had left out what would later be called “macroeconomics” in his exclusive emphasis on the micro.

And so Keynes added macro, concentrating on the study and explanation of unemployment, a phenomenon which everyone before Keynes had unaccountably left out of the economic picture, or had conveniently swept under the rug by blithely “assuming full employment.”

Since then, the dominant paradigm has been largely sustained, although matters have recently become rather cloudy. For one thing, this kind of Great Man ever-upward history requires occasional new final chapters. Keynes’s General Theory, published in 1936, is now almost sixty years old; surely there must be a Great Man for a final chapter? But who? For a while, Schumpeter, with his modern and seemingly realistic stress on “innovation,” had a run, but this trend came a cropper, perhaps on the realization that Schumpeter’s fundamental work (or “vision,” as he himself perceptively put it) was written more than two decades before the General Theory.

The years since the 1950s have been murky; and it is difficult to force a return to the once-forgotten Walras into the Procrustean bed of continual progress.

My own view of the grave deficiency of the Few Great Men approach has been greatly influenced by the work of two splendid historians of thought. One is my own dissertation mentor Joseph Dorfman, whose unparalleled multi-volume work on the history of American economic thought demonstrated conclusively how important allegedly “lesser” figures are in any movement of ideas. In the first place, the stuff of history is left out by omitting these figures, and history is therefore falsified by selecting and worrying over a few scattered texts to constitute The History of Thought.

Second, a large number of the supposedly secondary figures contributed a great deal to the development of thought, in some ways more than the few peak thinkers. Hence, important features of economic thought get omitted, and the developed theory is made paltry and barren as well as lifeless.

Furthermore, the cut-and-thrust of history itself, the context of the ideas and movements, how people influenced each other, and how they reacted to and against one another, is necessarily left out of the Few Great Men approach. This aspect of the historian’s work was particularly brought home to me by Quentin Skinner’s notable two-volume Foundations of Modern Political Thought, the significance of which could be appreciated without adopting Skinner’s own behaviorist methodology.[4]

The continual progress, onward-and-upward approach was demolished for me, and should have been for everyone, by Thomas Kuhn’s famed Structure of Scientific Revolutions.[5] Kuhn paid no attention to economics, but instead, in the standard manner of philosophers and historians of science, focused on such ineluctably “hard” sciences as physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

Bringing the word “paradigm” into intellectual discourse, Kuhn demolished what I like to call the “Whig theory of the history of science.” The Whig theory, subscribed to by almost all historians of science, including economics, is that scientific thought progresses patiently, one year after another developing, sifting, and testing theories, so that science marches onward and upward, each year, decade, or generation learning more and possessing ever more correct scientific theories.

On analogy with the Whig theory of history, coined in mid-nineteenth-century England, which maintained that things are always getting (and therefore must get) better and better, the Whig historian of science, seemingly on firmer ground than the regular Whig historian, implicitly or explicitly asserts that “later is always better” in any particular scientific discipline. The Whig historian (whether of science or of history proper) really maintains that, for any point of historical time, “whatever was, was right,” or at least better than “whatever was earlier.”

The inevitable result is a complacent and infuriating Panglossian optimism. In the historiography of economic thought, the consequence is the firm if implicit position that every individual economist, or at least every school of economists, contributed their important mite to the inexorable upward march. There can, then, be no such thing as gross systemic error that deeply flawed, or even invalidated, an entire school of economic thought, much less sent the world of economics permanently astray.

Kuhn, however, shocked the philosophic world by demonstrating that this is simply not the way that science has developed. Once a central paradigm is selected, there is no testing or sifting, and tests of basic assumptions only take place after a series of failures and anomalies in the ruling paradigm has plunged the science into a “crisis situation.” One need not adopt Kuhn’s nihilistic philosophic outlook, his implication that no one paradigm is or can be better than any other, to realize that his less than starry-eyed view of science rings true both as history and as sociology.

But if the standard romantic or Panglossian view does not work even in the hard sciences, a fortiori it must be totally off the mark in such a “soft science” as economics, in a discipline where there can be no laboratory testing, and where numerous even softer disciplines such as politics, religion, and ethics necessarily impinge on one’s economic outlook.

There can therefore be no presumption whatever in economics that later thought is better than earlier, or even that all well-known economists have contributed their sturdy mite to the developing discipline. For it becomes very likely that, rather than everyone contributing to an ever-progressing edifice, economics can and has proceeded in contentious, even zigzag fashion, with later systemic fallacy sometimes elbowing aside earlier but sounder paradigms, thereby redirecting economic thought down a total erroneous or even tragic path. The overall path of economics may be up, or it may be down, over any given time period.

In recent years, economics, under the dominant influence of formalism, positivism and econometrics, and preening itself on being a hard science, has displayed little interest in its own past. It has been intent, as in any “real” science, on the latest textbook or journal article rather than on exploring its own history. After all, do contemporary physicists spend much time poring over eighteenth-century optics?

In the last decade or two, however, the reigning Walrasian-Keynesian neoclassical formalist paradigm has been called ever more into question, and a veritable Kuhnian “crisis situation” has developed in various areas of economics, including worry over its methodology. Amidst this situation, the study of the history of thought has made a significant comeback, one which we hope and expect will expand in coming years.[6]

For if knowledge buried in paradigms lost can disappear and be forgotten over time, then studying older economists and schools of thought need not be done merely for antiquarian purposes or to examine how intellectual life proceeded in the past. Earlier economists can be studied for their important contributions to forgotten and therefore new knowledge today. Valuable truths can be learned about the content of economics, not only from the latest journals, but from the texts of long-deceased economic thinkers.

But these are merely methodological generalizations. The concrete realization that important economic knowledge had been lost over time came to me from absorbing the great revision of the Scholastics that developed in the l950s and 1960s. The pioneering revision came dramatically in Schumpeter’s great History of Economic Analysis, and was developed in the works of Raymond de Roover, Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, and John T. Noonan.

It turns out that the Scholastics were not simply “medieval,” but began in the thirteenth century and expanded and flourished through the sixteenth and into the seventeenth century. Far from being cost-of-production moralists, the Scholastics believed that the just price was whatever price was established on the “common estimate” of the free market. Not only that: far from being naïve labor or cost-of-production value theorists, the Scholastics may be considered “proto-Austrians,” with a sophisticated subjective utility theory of value and price.

Furthermore, some of the Scholastics were far superior to current formalist microeconomics in developing a “proto-Austrian” dynamic theory of entrepreneurship. Moreover, in “macro,” the Scholastics, beginning with Buridan and culminating in the sixteenth-century Spanish Scholastics, worked out an “Austrian” rather than monetarist supply and demand theory of money and prices, including interregional money flows, and even a purchasing-power parity theory of exchange rates.

It seems to be no accident that this dramatic revision of our knowledge of the Scholastics was brought to American economists, not generally esteemed for their depth of knowledge of Latin, by European-trained economists steeped in Latin, the language in which the Scholastics wrote. This simple point emphasizes another reason for loss of knowledge in the modern world: the insularity in one’s own language (particularly severe in the English-speaking countries) that has, since the Reformation, ruptured the once Europe-wide community of scholars. One reason why continental economic thought has often exerted minimal, or at least delayed, influence in England and the United States is simply because these works had not been translated into English.[7]

For me, the impact of Scholastic revisionism was complemented and strengthened by the work, during the same decades, of the German-born “Austrian” historian, Emil Kauder. Kauder revealed that the dominant economic thought in France and Italy during the seventeenth and especially the eighteenth centuries was also “proto-Austrian,” emphasizing subjective utility and relative scarcity as the determinants of value. From this groundwork, Kauder proceeded to a startling insight into the role of Adam Smith that, however, follows directly from his own work and that of the Scholastic revisionists: that Smith, far from being the founder of economics, was virtually the reverse. On the contrary, Smith actually took the sound, and almost fully developed, proto-Austrian subjective value tradition, and tragically shunted economics on to a false path, a dead end from which the Austrians had to rescue economics a century later.

Instead of subjective value, entrepreneurship, and emphasis on real market pricing and market activity, Smith dropped all this and replaced it with a labor theory of value and a dominant focus on the unchanging long-run “natural price” equilibrium, a world where entrepreneurship was assumed out of existence. Under Ricardo, this unfortunate shift in focus was intensified and systematized.

If Smith was not the creator of economic theory, neither was he the founder of laissez faire in political economy. Not only were the Scholastics analysts of, and believers in, the free market and critics of government intervention, but the French and Italian economists of the eighteenth century were even more laissez-faire-oriented than Smith, who introduced numerous waffles and qualifications into what had been, in the hands of Turgot and others, an almost pure championing of laissez faire. It turns out that, rather than someone who should be venerated as creator of modern economics or of laissez faire, Smith was closer to the picture portrayed by Paul Douglas in the 1926 Chicago commemoration of the Wealth of Nations: a necessary precursor of Karl Marx.

Emil Kauder’s contribution was not limited to his portrayal of Adam Smith as the destroyer of a previously sound tradition of economic theory, as the founder of an enormous “zag” in a Kuhnian picture of a zigzag history of economic thought. Also fascinating if more speculative was Kauder’s estimate of the essential cause of a curious asymmetry in the course of economic thought in different countries.

Why is it, for example, that the subjective utility tradition flourished on the Continent, especially in France and Italy, and then revived particularly in Austria, whereas the labor and cost-of-production theories developed especially in Great Britain? Kauder attributed the difference to the profound influence of religion: the Scholastics, and then France, Italy, and Austria were Catholic countries, and Catholicism emphasized consumption as the goal of production and consumer utility and enjoyment as, at least in moderation, valuable activities and goals.

The British tradition, on the contrary, beginning with Smith himself, was Calvinist, and reflected the Calvinist emphasis on hard work and labor toil as not only good but a great good in itself, whereas consumer enjoyment is at best a necessary evil, a mere requisite to continuing labor and production.

On reading Kauder, I considered this view a challenging insight, but essentially an unproven speculation. However, as I continued studying economic thought and embarked on writing these volumes, I concluded that Kauder was being confirmed many times over. Even though Smith was a “moderate” Calvinist, he was a staunch one nevertheless, and I came to the conclusion that the Calvinist emphasis could account, for example, for Smith’s otherwise puzzling championing of usury laws, as well as his shift in emphasis from the capricious, luxury-loving consumer as the determinant of value, to the virtuous laborer embedding his hours of toil into the value of his material product.

But if Smith could be accounted for by Calvinism, what of the Spanish-Portuguese Jew-turned-Quaker, David Ricardo, surely no Calvinist? Here it seems to me that recent research into the dominant role of James Mill as mentor of Ricardo and major founder of the “Ricardian system” comes strongly into play. For Mill was a Scotsman ordained as a Presbyterian minister and steeped in Calvinism; the fact that, later in life, Mill moved to London and became an agnostic had no effect on the Calvinist nature of Mill’s basic attitudes toward life and the world. Mill’s enormous evangelical energy, his crusading for social betterment, and his devotion to labor toil (as well as the cognate Calvinist virtue of thrift) reflected his lifelong Calvinist world-outlook. John Stuart Mill’s resurrection of Ricardianism may be interpreted as his filiopietist devotion to the memory of his dominant father, and Alfred Marshall’s trivialization of Austrian insights into his own neo-Ricardian schema also came from a highly moralistic and evangelical neo-Calvinist.

Conversely, it is no accident that the Austrian School, the major challenge to the Smith-Ricardo vision, arose in a country that was not only solidly Catholic, but whose values and attitudes were still heavily influenced by Aristotelian and Thomist thought. The German precursors of the Austrian School flourished, not in Protestant and anti-Catholic Prussia, but in those German states that were either Catholic or were politically allied to Austria rather than Prussia.

The result of these researches was my growing conviction that leaving out religious outlook, as well as social and political philosophy, would disastrously skew any picture of the history of economic thought. This is fairly obvious for the centuries before the nineteenth, but it is true for that century as well, even as the technical apparatus takes on more of a life of its own.

In consequence of these insights, these volumes are very different from the norm, and not just in presenting an Austrian rather than a neoclassical or institutionalist perspective.

The entire work is much longer than most since it insists on bringing in all the “lesser” figures and their interactions as well as emphasizing the importance of their religious and social philosophies as well as their narrower, strictly “economic” views. But I would hope that the length and inclusion of other elements does not make this work less readable. On the contrary, history necessarily means narrative, discussion of real persons as well as their abstract theories, and includes triumphs, tragedies, and conflicts, conflicts which are often moral as well as purely theoretical. Hence, I hope that, for the reader, the unwonted length will be offset by the inclusion of far more human drama than is usually offered in histories of economic thought.

Notes

[1] Joseph Schumpeter’s valuable and monumental History of Economic Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954) has sometimes been referred to as “Austrian.” But while Schumpeter was raised in Austria and studied under the great Austrian Böhm-Bawerk, he himself was a dedicated Walrasian, and his History was, in addition, eclectic and idiosyncratic.

[2] For an explanation of the three leading Austrian paradigms at the present time, see Murray N. Rothbard, The Present State of Austrian Economics (Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1992).

[3] When the present author was preparing for his doctoral orals at Columbia University, he had the venerable John Maurice Clark as examiner in the history of economic thought. When he asked Clark whether he should read Jevons, Clark replied, in some surprise: “What’s the point? The good in Jevons is all in Marshall.”

[4] Joseph Dorfman, The Economic Mind in American Civilization (5 vols., New York: Viking Press, 1946-59); Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (2 vols., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978).

[5] Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, 2nd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970).

[6] The attention devoted in recent years to a brilliant critique of neoclassical formalism as totally dependent on obsolete mid-nineteenth-century mechanics is a welcome sign of this recent change of attitude. See Philip Mirowski, More Heat than Light (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] At the present time, when English has become the European lingua franca, and most European journals publish articles in English, this bother has been minimized.

This is the introduction to his last great work, The History of Economic Thought: An Austrian Perspective, available now for $45 for the two volume set. …”

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard105.html

 

An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought

“…An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought is a work of economic history written by Murray N. Rothbard. Rothbard notes in the introduction that the book was originally conceived as a “standard Adam Smith-to-the-present moderately sized book”; however, in the process of writing it, Rothbard expanded the project into a multi-volume series, and expanded the scope of the project to include economists who preceded Smith. Only the first two volumes, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith and Classical Economics, were completed before Rothbard’s death in 1995. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Austrian_Perspective_on_the_History_of_Economic_Thought

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