New issue of the Review of Austrian Economics in now available, it consists of a symposium edited by Adam Martin and Geoffrey Lea addressing the relationship between Austrian economics and the Virginia School of Political Economy.
Back in the 1980s, I wrote a paper "Virgina Political Economy: A View from Vienna" in the publication of the Center for the Study of Market Process -- Market Process, 5 (2) Fall 1987. The F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center in many ways represents the institutional legacy of CSMP. That older paper concluded that merging public choice analysis of politics with the Austrian analysis of the market process the contemporary political economist will be able to improve their understanding of the social world considerably, and gain greater insight than if either approach is pursued in isolation of the other. It might be important to remember that my main area of research from the beginning of graduate school was comparative institutional analysis and the debates on a theoretical level concerning the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism, and on an empirical level concering the economic performance of the Soviet Union. My research in history of thought and methodology were a by-product of this primary research focus which was examination of the Soviet-type economy -- its origins, its history, its eventual collapse and the troubles with transition. In short, I was a engaged in comparative institutional analysis from day 1 of graduate school, and that was the reason I went to GMU to study with Don Lavoie in the first place rather than alternatives.
The symposium edited by Martin and Lea examines this very question of the compatibility of Austrian economics and public choice for a new generation of scholars. The conference they ran at FEE many years ago which formed the basis of the papers published in the symposium was great, and the subsequent volume is very strong. Enjoy. Just remember as economic scientists we are equipped with many arrows in the quiver to aim at the target of truth in political economy. Reason and evidence suggests that we should not discard any valuable arrow that we have available to us in our hunt for truth. We have a classical economics arrow (Smith/Say/Mill), but we also have a property rights arrow (Alchian/Demsetz), we have new economics of governance arrow (Ostrom/Williamson), we have a law and economics arrow (Coase), we have a new economic history arrow (North/Weingast), we have a new economic sociology arrow (Weber/Boulding/Berger/Swedberg) and we a public choice arrow (Buchanan/Tullock) as well as of couse several Austrian theory of the market process arrows (Mises/Hayek/Kirzner) available to us as we track truth about the social world and how best to study it and gain an understanding of it.
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