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Pete is right.

Luigi Einaudi was an important person from an "Austrian" perspective.

So, why?

Richard Ebeling

Would a total shot in the dark by a non-student be acceptable? Non-student as in not currently pursuing a degree, but also not formally trained in economics... or philosophy or history for that matter. I'm an amateur learning about this stuff on the side.

From what I've read, Einaudi, was a student of Ludwig Von Mises in Vienna. He later became a high ranking politician in Italy after the war, and helped provide the conditions for the "Italian economic miracle".

"A lover of paradox is the one who discovers the truth by exposing research and to irritate the common opinion, causing her to reflect and be ashamed of herself and lying unconscious acceptance of vulgar errors." Luigi Einaudi, The Desk of The President, Wikiqoute Translation. I could hardly think of a better description of the plight and the steadfast dedication of the followers of the Austrian School.

If I'm not mistaken, he edited the Italian translation of Robbins' The Great Depression and Cantillon's Essai. He was a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and was influenced by the Austrian school in his economic prescriptions.

I believe that Professor Boettke was "fascinated as an Austrian economist" to learn of the Piazza Luigi Einaudi because of his efforts, not only in promoting laissez-faire policies, but also in opposing socialist ideas through his role as statesman. The Piazza therefore is a tribute to Lange's wish that the opponents of socialism forever be memorialized in order to serve as solemn reminders for all state planners.

-student

I believe he is interesting from an Austrian perspective because, although he did not share the same epistemological foundations, he reached similar conclusions. Perhaps most importantly, as a semi-positivist economist, he nonetheless endorsed the Austrian business cycle theory, arguing that, "if it is true that an increased discount rate accelerates warehouse clearance and a price collapse, then a rapid reduction of the discount rate is obviously a means likely to prolong the crisis. Merciful reductions in the interest rate bring relief… In short they defer the ending of the crisis." This argument seems particularly pertinent now.

Having the classical liberal Luigi Einaudi in our history is one of the few sources of hope for us State-oppressed Italians: reading his name in public places is like being subtly whispered "ne cede malis".

Here in Rome? Wow. See you tomorrow in Sestri Levante!!!

"I will be presenting remarks on the application of agent based modeling"

Where can I learn more about that? Sounds really good!

Luigi Einaudi was a classical liberal thinker. He saw economic crises’ with a monetary interpretation of business cycles. There are long and short-term cycles with some being caused by monetary means and others non-monetary. The former being more complex in nature while the latter is more often the mistakes of men or inventions. He saw the problem of a major economic crisis being due to inflation on an international scale during and after WWI. He also emphasized work, saving, and the positive role in which entrepreneurialism and imitators can help an economy revive after a crisis.

I am glad I am not a student because I would not have a chance of winning.

Most of the Italian "liberals" were not very good by Anglo-American and even French standards. They were quite half-hearted. I recently took a look at Einaudi's translated articles:

http://www.amazon.com/Luigi-Einaudi-Selected-Economic-Essays/dp/1403947775/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317919802&sr=1-1

I was initially intrigued by his critique of Keynes's "End of Laissez Faire". But then I found that all he said was that Keynes was mistaken to think that the 19th century economists (and before) were for laissez faire in any strict sense. Lame.

Perhaps it is true, however, that in the Italian context he was important. But from my point of view today, there is not much to learn from his work.

I think one should think of the ancient world in Rome and of all the gods we no longer worship. But more importantly, of how Rome lasted for a thousand years. They thought their nation was eternal. The US has survived about 240 years and we think that is a long time. What will replace it?

So, you're in Roma, eh, Pete? I take it that is where the Piazza Luigi Einaudi is? From here in Florence, I would guess that what is important is not the Piazza itself, other than that it exists indicates that Einaudi was taken at least somewhat seriously by someone at some point, but the work of Einaudi himself. On that, I have no comment. Too bad you did not make it here. Ciao.

Isn't it ironic to name a centrally planned structure "in honor" of a pro-Austrian? May as well dedicate the Central Bank to F. A. Hayek.


Anyway, the learning of the Piazza Luigi Einaudi fascinated Peter Beotke perhaps because Beotke (ex-ante) didn’t expect that such attention would be given toward a pro-Austrian in Italy. But more importantly, the Piazza is an example of spontaneous order. The parking garages, the walkway, and the grassy fields all set the stage for individuals with their various objectives to coordinate around each other without the direct need of a central planner.

(http://wikimapia.org/#lat=45.4830442&lon=9.1944999&z=18&l=0&m=b).

I can certainly see why an Austrian economist would be excited to hear about the Piazza Luigi Einaudi. Not only was Einaudi one of the founding members of the widely influential Mont Pelerin Society, but he was also president of Italy from 1948-1955 where he made many monetary and policy changes that brought Italy closer to being an economically free society. Also, piazzas are very conducive for the voluntary coordination of individuals, so it's a great thing that one would be named after a pro-Austrian economist and politician.

-Jathan Sadowski

Einaudi wrote that the economic advisors to government "indispensable, extremely learned, extremely informed, the experts, the only people who know the jargon, have become … one of the seven plagues of Egypt, a disgrace to humanity." A "plague," Einaudi wrote, because of the typical economist's view that "I have performed my duty fully when I have decided whether the proposed means or other alternatives are consistent with the end prosecuted by the politician."

Value Implications of Economic Theory, Rothbard, 1973

For Italy he has been a pivotal man: the right person, doing the right things in a key moment. He gave his contribution in each “stage” of the life of ideas: like economist and intellectual, like economic journalist, like influential politician (after WWII he has been Governor of the Bank of Italy, member of constitutional assembly, minister for economic affairs and then President of the Republic).

From what I've read in addition to his Mont Pelerin connection and his ability to fight inflation as minister of the budget, he had some interesting insights in political economy and economics. I wonder how relevant his work in constitutional economics is since he considered a constitution to include laws and statutes as well as manners and customs. If that doesn't smack of institutional economics or Hayek I'm outta luck.

For the other students frantically searching the internet I found this source as helpful as wikipedia and Britannica http://www.mmisi.org/ma/35_01/campbell.pdf

Headline of p. 3 of today's La Repubblica, Italy's second largest newspaper, reads "Napolitano cita Einaudi, 'Ridare dignita alla politica' " ["Napolitano cites Einaudi, 'Return dignity to politics' "].

Giorgio Napolitano is the 86-year old President of Italy, who has been criticizing Premier Berlusconi and his government increasingly frequently. A former longtime member of the old Italian Communist Party, he evolved into a centrosinistra (center left) political leader who was appointed to the not very powerful Head of State position some years ago. Polls put him as by far the most respected and popular politician in the country right now at about 80% favorable, and he is citing Einaudi.

BTW, piazzas are generally built by local governments, which makes them not exactly the best candidates for being "spontaneous orders," although they may encourage the development of such once built.

Here's a thought...

Austrian economics studies the institutional foundations of spontaneous orders, both perverse and healthy. Polity is one important spontaneous order. Austrian economists typically see market-conformable political institutions as a normative ideal. A piazza is a symbol of the public space. It’s a locus of commercial and political competition. The activities in the piazza can weaken private property or support it, depending on the rules it’s governed by.

Unconstrained central banking, for example, skews competition in politics and in commerce toward seeking power and privilege. Einaudi was a self-restrained governor of Italy’s central bank and, as an economist , he wrote about the non-neutrality of money and about market-conformable politics. But an interventionist system, central banks can’t help but generate turbulence in money and in markets. Einaudi’s position in the piazza is tension with the nature of the system. So, naturally, an Austrian economist is drawn to this symbol.

Further regarding whether or not piazzas are spontaneous orders, well, of course the activities that occur in them can be. As for they themselves, it really varies from city to city. In an unplanned city with its streets all higgedly-piggeldy, a piazza is more like to have arisen spontaneously out of the intersection of several roads or maybe two major ones that themselves naturally arose out of the process of people moving about and trading and so on.

In planned cities with rectangular grids or radial spokes, piazzas are more likely themselves to have been planned, such as DuPont Circle in Washington where several radial grid avenues named after states come together (Washington also has a rectangular frid of numbered and alphabeted streets).

However, even in planned cities there are sometimes unplanned streets that are remnants left over from an unplanned previous existence. Thus, Broadway in New York is the old country road from Nieuw Amsterdam at the south end of Manhattan to Haarlem near its north end, cutting across the rectangular grid of streets and avenues, and in Washington Wisconsin Avenue is the old road coming out of Maryland that the Indians used to roll barrels of tobacco down to Georetown on the Potomac River before there was any Washington or District of Columbia.

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