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« Creative Capitalism: a conversation | Main | Quiz: Why Does This Commercial Confirm Economics and Public Choice? »


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Oooh, oooh, oooh, I know! I know! I know! But I'll let everyone else guess.

And, as I remember the Lachmann quote, it was that the train was the only CIVILIZED way to travel.

Wrong answer: The Theory of Money and Credit

Right answer: Beyond Equilibrium Economics

The fiddling thinker is impressive indeed. The two chapters (in his collection of essays) that demolish Austrian formalism are a tour de force.

Pete, did you talk economics while you drove Lachmann? Perhaps your car had automatic transmission. There is a story about Lachmann told by a younger South African colleague. Driving Lachmann in his car, the young man tried to talk some shop and was told abruptly "Don't talk economics and change gears at the same time!";col1

Hayek Admirer gets it right!

What Pete failed to note is that the real secret to that paper was that we had bad cigars, mediocre fried chicken, and decent beer. I'm sure Dave will enjoy describing my abysmal fishing skills, including hooking the back of Pete's t-shirt at one point.

And what Pete also did not mention is that we had a tape recorder with us and the tape remains in my private possession to this day. I may put in my will that it only becomes public after two of the three of us die, sort of like Popper, Hayek, and Friedman. ;)


Union Station is in downtown DC and you have to drive through the traffic on Constitution and then you get on a reasonably open Rt. 66. Lachmann's comment to me (every time I picked him up and dropped him off which was every time during my 4 years in graduate school because I loved doing it) was ... "Now is not the time to talk economics" while we were in traffic, and then once we hit the open road he would say "Now we can talk economics."

One time after Lachmann's talk we went out to dinner, but before we were in a bar drinking beer. Lachmann ordered a dark ale. Don Lavoie tried to ask him a philosophical question. Lachmann's response: "Mr. Chairman, now is not the time to discuss philosophy, now is the time to drink beer." Then he smiled. I loved it.

Mario Rizzo told me that upon Lachmann's first stay at NYU in the early 1970s, he apologized to Mrs. Lachmann about the sketchy nature of Washington Square Park, and Mrs. Lachmann replied: "Ludwig and I survived Berlin of the 1920s, nothing surprises us." (or something along those lines)

Lachmann was a great intellect and a very personable man. My meetings with him and our letter exchanges are very precious memories to me. His importance as a teacher within the Austrian school should never be forgotten, just as his contributions to scholarship should not be as well.


I recall Steve using braided fishing line (in an era of monofilament). He must've thought we were going fishing for Perch off a breakwater on Lake St. Clair.

I always enjoyed Lachmann's visits. Pete, Lachmann himself didn't smoke cheap cigars -- we did.

Steve and Pete: Did either of you guys ever get a copy of Dave Colander's interview with us and the other GMU grad students? It's a shame that Colander and Klamer decided to ditch the interviews of students from the alternative or heterodox grad programs.

It is my understanding that Colander made the decision to ditch, whereas Klamer wanted to keep them. Klamer has talked about the results, but did not reprint them.

Klamer was very good on those visits to GMU and his "advice" to us was very important at the time -- especially his advice for us to "be ourselves" and not to forget "where we came from." He wanted us to embrace our difference, rather than try to hide it. That was a very important message to hear at that time.


As for the great GMU-hobo hoax, I'll just sigh and shake my head. Though many know that I think hobo-ry and vagrancy are fascinating social phenomena in need of good explanation.

In the earliest and throughout the majority of human history wanderers from out of town were treated with extreme caution. Experienced travelers had to carry with them a deep working knowledge of complicated social networks so that they could draw upon names and acquaintances that would resonate amongst people in a new town. "I know so and so from such and such. He said to ask for you."

Then during colonial America paranoia of wanderers and outsiders drove a push for centralized law-enforcement and federally subsidized jails and prison systems. Faced with higher costs, the trend of wandering abated. Then during the great depression, record numbers of teen-agers took to the rails to avoid being a burden on their families and seek migrant labor opportunities. Vast reputation and mutual assistant networks developed as coping mechanisms for hobos (term first coined during the depression) to share information, food, and shelter, work together, and generally get by.

Obviously less popular than the depression era, today various sub-cultures still travel as nomads throughout America shifting jobs and living arrangements as they go and re-creating similar social networks to communicate, cooperate and cope.

can someone please explain to me, why traveling by train is rational? i kind of agree with you if you are in europe, but i'm not so sure about the u.s. - or south africa, for that matter...


That's why I'll swear Lachmann said "civilized" not "rational."

Steve and Finja,

Yes, Lachmann may very well have said "civilized" as opposed to rational, but I heard "rational" as I always do whenever it comes to these sort of discussions. Civilized and rational are not so far apart are they?


Depends. Finja's point is well taken: the train may indeed be more civilized in the sense of more peaceful and less "cattle-car" ish, but also be less rational if one's goal is to get from A to B in the most efficient way. The train from NYC to DC is both civilized and rational, esp. if you're going downtown to downtown, but the same cannot be said of going Detroit to Chicago, which is roughly the same distance.

What a great post. I would have loved to be in Pete's shoes during those days with Lachmann. Please keep sharing anecdotes like these. I can still remember clearly the story Dr. Horwitz shared about Lachmann and the Yogi Berra quote. I have always been fascinated by the personal lives of great thinkers.

The beat generation of the 50s/60s did a lot of cross country driving, think of Kerouac "On the Road"
and the mystique of Route 66

Matthew, there are many anecdotes about Lachmann in the link at the third comment above.

Flying economy ceased to be a civilised way to travel a long time ago!

On the personal lives of great thinkers, with special reference to car driving, Hulsmann has great stories about Mises and his near-lethal driving exploits. Popper was a bit the same, his research assistant tactfully described his attitude to driving as "positive". Fortunately he lived out of town and not far from the local train station.

Beyond equilibrium economics is one of peter boettke's best papers - which is not surprising given that David P and Steven H wrote it!

More seriously, do you guys still buy the argument you made in that classic paper?

Hayek Admirer,

I'm glad to see you have such an accurate command of the history of Austrian economics. ;)

I can't speak for Pete and Dave, but I re-read that piece not long ago and I still think it's pretty much right. I also think it was useful in laying out a kind of vision for us as grad students. That said, I would write it very differently today. It's, for lack of a better word, pretty sophomoric and, as Joe Salerno termed it, a bit punkish. Then again, we were sophomoric punks back then! I also think it has too many endnotes and they are too long.

My favorite note remains #21 where each Austrian's methodological position is specified with one or two name-dropping adjectives. Only graduate students could write crap like that. BTW, for the record, Pete wrote that one. ;)

Note 21: Rothbard (or Rossbott as Miss Rand would have it) as "Neo-Thomist Euclidean"

I like that - very apt

"Don't forget where you came from" (A. Klamer).

So, while "Austro-Punk" is an unfortunate term (again, I was never interested in punk music, yet Joe Salerno actually suggests the link between punk music and punk economics), I don't think we should give up the critical-cynical attitude. The number and length of endnotes, yes. The attitude, never!

On punk economics, I've often thought that you guys are the Clash & Pistols of market process theory.

Salerno and company (the whole dreadful 'lets worship rothbard' crowd) by contrast are the dinosaur rock/stadium rock of austrianism.
Rothbard as Yes anyone?

WHOA!! As a huge fan of 70s progressive rock, I do NOT wish to be favorably contrasted to Yes. ;)

Clearly Mr. Admirer does not know me as well as he should:

And for Dave - "punk" covers a big spectrum from "critical/cynical" at one end to "disrespectful" at the other. I think we were nearer the former; Joe seemed to think we were closer to the latter.

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