A potentially usful reading list for Noah Smith

Noah Smith's "critique" of "Austrian economists" is a poor piece of writing. When you critique an idea, you first need to state the idea clearly. Then name the authors that support this idea and provide evidence for this (i.e., direct quotes). Then, when you have established that you are critiquing actual ideas espoused by actual people, and only then, you can proceed to critique the ideas. In your critique, you need to clearly state which criteria you are using, explain why these criteria are better than any other criteria, and then provide evidence that the actual statements of actual people you listed earlier do not meet these criteria. This piece is missing most of these elements.

While Smith does not mention any names of any actual Austrian economists except for Robert Murphy, Jonathan Finegold Catalan points out prominent Austrian economists who don't fit into Smith's "critique" on the issues of the Federal Reserve, inflation or the use of mathematics in economics. Jonathan makes the point that, even when some Austrians hold the positions that Smith claims they hold, this is only a small minority of Austrians.

But, let's not forget that the Federal Reserve, inflation, and views on mathematical modeling are only a small part of Austrian economics. For an overview of elementary readings in the rich array of topics covered by Austrians, we might refer to this reading list that I borrowed from another Austrian and my former PhD mentor. I will certainly use some of these texts for my Environmental Law and Regulation course this fall. This list includes topics in valuation and prices, competition as a dynamic process, the Economic Calculation Debate, capital theory and production, theory of the firm, and business cycle theory as well as a number of applications of the Austrian theory. I would be happy to see Noah's critique on these topics as well, but this critique should follow the principles of writing integrity described in the first paragraph of this post. Otherwise, it would be just another cheap publicity stunt.

Elementary Readings in Austrian Economics

Carl Menger (1871/1994) Principles of Economics translated by James Dingwall and Bert Hoselitz, Libertarian Press, Grove City.

Ludwig von Mises (1949/1998) Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars’ Edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn.

Murray Rothbard (1962/2004) Man, Economy and State with Power and Market, Scholars’ Edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn.

Peter Boettke (1994) The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

I.       Historical Context

Gene Callahan (2002) “A Brief History of the Austrian School,” in Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School, 2nd Ed., Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, pp. 307-319.

Peter Boettke (1997) “Where Did Economics Go Wrong?  Modern Economics as a Flight from Reality” Critical Review, 11(1): 11-64

Roger Garrison (1982) “Austrian Economics as the Middle Ground:  Comment on Loasby” in Method, Process, and Austrian Economics:  Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises, edited by Israel Kirzner, Heath, Lexington. Pp. 131-138.

II.       Valuation and Prices

Menger pp. 114-225.

Mises, Chapter XVI, pp. 324-394.

Friedrich Hayek, (1945) “The Use of Knowledge in Society” American Economic Review 35( 4): 519-530.

Randy Barnett (1992) "The Function of Several Property and Freedom of Contract" Social Philosophy and Policy 9(1): 62- 94

Steven Horwitz (1994) “Subjectivism” in Boettke, pp. 17-22.

Jack High (1994) “The Austrian Theory of Price” in Boettke, pp. 151-155.

III.       Competition as a Dynamic Process

Friedrich Hayek (1978) “Competition as a Discovery Procedure,” in New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Israel Kirzner (1997) “Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process:  An Austrian Approach” Journal of Economic Literature 35(1): 60-85.     

Israel Kirzner (1973) “Market Process vs. Equilibrium,” in Competition and Entrepreneurship, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-30.

Joseph Schumpeter (2003/1946) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Routledge, London.

Mark Addleson (1994) “Competition” in Boettke, pp. 96-102.


IV.       The Economic Calculation Debate

David Steele (1981) “Posing the Problem: The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism” Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1(1): 7-22

Don Lavoie (1985) Rivalry and Central Planning, Chapter 1, “Introduction” Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-27.

Mises, Chapter XXV and XXVI, pp. 685-711.

Karen Vaughn (1994) “The Socialist Calculation Debate” in Boettke, pp. 478-486.

Peter Boettke (2001) Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy, Routledge, New York.


V.        Austrian Capital Theory and Production

Israel Kirzner (1966) An Essay on Capital, Augustus Kelly, New York.

Mises, Chapter XVIII, pp. 476-520.

Rothbard, Chapter 1, pp. 47-72, Chapter 8, pp. 509-556

Peter Lewin (1994) “Capital Theory” in Boettke, pp. 209-215.

Roger Garrison (1985) “A Subjectivist Theory of a Capital Using Economy” in Gerald O’Driscoll and Mario Rizzo The Economics of Time and Ignorance, Basil Blackwell, New York.


VI.       Austrian Perspectives on the Theory of the Firm

Frédéric Sautet (2000) An Entrepreneurial Theory of the Firm, Routledge, London.

Nicolai Foss and Peter Klein (2002) Entrepreneurship and the Firm:  Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Rothbard, Chapter 5, pp. 319-366.

Richard Langlois (1994) “The Boundaries of the Firm” in Boettke, pp. 173-178.


VII.     Austrian Business Cycle Theory

Roger Garrison (1996) “The Austrian Theory a Summary”, in The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays, Auburn: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, pp. 111-120.

Steven Horwitz and William Luther (2010) “The Great Recession and its Aftermath from a Monetary Equilibrium Perspective” Working Paper 10-63, October, Mercatus Center, George Mason University.

Robert Batemarco (1994) “Austrian Business Cycle Theory” in Boettke, pp. 216-223.


VIII.    Applications

Environmental Economics

Roy Cordato (2004) “Toward and Austrian Theory of Environmental Economics” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 7(1): 3-16.

Charles Steele (1994) “Resource Economics” in Boettke, pp. 300-303.


Economics and Law

Graham Dawson (2013) “Austrian Economics and Climate Change” The Review of Austrian Economics 26 (2):  183-206. 

Linda Schwartzstein (1994) “An Austrian View of the Legal Process” Ohio State Law Journal 55(5): 1049-1078.


Land Use Planning

E. C. Pasour (1982) “Agricultural Land Protection: Is Government Intervention Warranted?” Cato Journal, 2(3): 739-758.

E.C. Pasour (1983) “Land-Use Planning: Implications of the Economic Calculation Debate” Journal of Libertarian Studies, 7(1): 127-139.


Welfare Economics

Roy Cordato (1992) Welfare Economics and Externalities in and Open Ended Universe:  A Modern Austrian Perspective Kluwer, Boston.

Murray Rothbard  (1979) “The Myth of Efficiency” Reprinted from Time, Uncertainty, and Disequilibrium, Mario Rizzo, ed. (Lexington, Mass: DC Heath, pp. 90-95.

Murray Rothbard (1997) “Towards a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics” in The Logic of Action I: Method, Money and the Austrian School, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 211-254.

Jesús Huerto De Soto (2009) The Theory of Dynamic Efficiency, Routledge, New York


Monetary Economics

Andres Alvarez and Vincent Bignon (2013) “L. Walras and C. Menger:  Two Ways on the Path of Modern Monetary Theory” European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 20(1): 89-124.



Roger Garrison (2001) Time and Money:  The Macroeconomic of Capital Structure Routledge, New York


Comparative Advantage

Predrag Rajsic and Glenn Fox. "Implications of Hayek’s and Coase’s Market Process Perspectives for Canadian Supply Managed Agriculture." PAPERS & PROCEEDINGS of the 2nd Annual Toronto Austrian Scholars Conference.


Predrag Rajsic and Glenn Fox. Quota Prices as Indicators of Comparative Advantage in Supply Managed Industries. No. 145972. Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network, 2012.


Network and Information Economics

Jack Birner and Pierre Garrouste (2004) Markets, Information and Communication:  Austrian Perspectives on the Internet Economy, Routledge, New York


Competition Policy

Domenic Armentano (1999) Antitrust:  The Case for Repeal, Revised Second Edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn.


Development Economics

David Harper (2003) Foundations of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Routledge, London.

Peter Bauer (1957) Economic Analysis in Underdeveloped Countries, Duke University Press, Durham

Peter Bauer (1967/1976) Dissent on Development, Revised Edition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 

Christopher Coyne and Peter Boettke (2006) “The Role of the Economist in Economic Development” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 9(2): 47-68.


Intellectual Property

N. Stephen Kinsella (2008) Against Intellectual Property, Mises Institute, Auburn

Rothbard, pp. 745-754.


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