It has been suggested that younger Austrians are unaware of the rich literature in heterodox economics, and in particularly the heterodox literature that addresses Austrian economics. So I wanted to provide a partial and incomplete list of some of the individuals who I have learned much from over the years who I would recommend that students of Austrian economics read and study to get a sort of 'heterodox' reading of Austrian economics. While I have learned from these individuals, I also have disagreements about fine points in economics and political economy.
My educational pedigree in Austrian economics is fairly well documented: I studied with Dr. Hans Sennholz at GCC, and then came to GMU where I wrote my dissertation under the direction of Professor Don Lavoie. I then became an Assistant Professor of Economics at NYU, where Israel Kirzner served as my mentor. At GCC, in addition to Sennholz I also benefited greatly from the graduate students that were studying with Dr. Sennholz -- Philippe Nataf, Esteban Thomsen, Alfredo Irigoin, and Eduardo Zimmerman. Eduardo Zimmerman, who unforutnately I have not seen since my GCC days, spent many hours talking to me about Austrian economics, Henry Hazlitt and classical liberalism. He, in fact, gave me my first copies of Menger's Principles and Investigations to read. Funny how small gestures of kindness and intellectual encouragement can have huge impact on young scholars. At GMU, not only the Austrian faculty of Lavoie, Jack High, Viktor Vanberg, Karen Vaughn, Tom DiLorenzo, Don Boudreaux and George Selgin, but also the public choice faculty of James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Dwight Lee, and Robert Tollison had an extremely positive influence on me. And David Levy's original insights in lectures that he gave in the mid-1980s are still popping in my head today when I finally understand their brilliance. And at NYU, Mario Rizzo was a huge influence on me, but so were the faculty fellows of Joe Salerno, Roger Koppl, Sanford Ikeda, Young Back Choi, Bill Butos and David Harper.
But none of this is really that surprising. Austrian and public choice influences on an Austrian and public choice thinker. Some of the influences on me have been more orthodox --- e.g., Paul Milgrom and Barry Weingast during my time at Stanford, and Andrei Shleifer from reading him first on issues on the transition and then on issues of legal origins and institutions and public policy. My good friend Jeff Friedman actually dates my decline as an original thinker to the influence of Weingast during my year at Stanford. And Barkley Rosser believes my intellectual bankruptcy is complete with my endorsement of the work of Shleifer.
However, there is also a set of heterodox teachers and writers and colleagues that have taught me much throughout my career.
First, Kenneth Boulding was actually my teacher when he was a visiting Robinson Professor here at GMU. David Prychitko and I actually camped out to talk to Boulding and he never once sent us away. Instead he welcomed us.
Second, I met Warren Samuels when I was a first year graduate student and he served as a mentor for me for the next 20 years.
Third, reading G. L. S. Shackle was an eye opening experience and the meeting of Ludwig Lachmann and having the opportunity to discuss economic ideas with him produced a "mind quake" in me.
Fourth, Warren's student and my contemporary Steve Medema picked up where Warren left off and pushed me on arguments that I thought were settled and made me rethink my own understanding of institutional analysis and the history of our discipline.
Fifth, Gary Mongiovi, who I met upon my arrivial at NYU, welcomed me into the NYC intellectual scene and pushed me to think about the philosophy of economics and the contribution of post Keynesian and Scrafian economics.
Sixth, Ted Burczak and I are roughly contemporaries and his work on Hayek's post modernist moment as well as his rethinking of the project of the Left after Hayek made me rethink some cherished beliefs. Actually David Prychitko used to press me on these points first, and then Ted's work pushed that door in my mind open even further.
Seventh, Mat Forstater introduced me to the work of Adolph Lowe and showed me the common ground among German language economists in the 1920s and 1930s.
Eighth, Paul Lewis is a profound and critical thinker in economics --- perhaps the most penetrating critique to my way of thinking besides David Prychitko and Jeff Friedman that I have ever met.
Ok, enough for right now. There are many more, but I just wanted to give a list of heterodox thinkers that have made me think twice (sometimes more) about positions I was perhaps too quick to believe were settled. I would recommend the work of these critical thinkers to any young economist of the Austrian persuasion to test their thought process. Matthew is right --- we need critical dialogue, not just edifying works. Austrianism and classical liberalism must embrace a culture of criticism. But I would insist not just criticism for criticism sake, but real criticism that puts a certain responsibility on the critic as well as the author putting forth the argument. Deconstructionism can be useful, but it can also be an intellectual disease. Deconstruction of the argument of others can be a tool for productive intellectual intercourse if done right, or it can devolve into little more than an exercise in mental masturbation.
Who have been the most influential thinkers on you that hold beliefs that radically diverge from yours?