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Friedrich von Wieser and Friedrich A. Hayek: The General Equilibrium Tradition in Austrian Economics

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  • Salerno Joseph T.

    (Pace University)

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    Abstract

    Bruce Caldwell has disputed a number of points in my earlier account of the development of the Austrian school of economics from Carl Menger to Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek. The issues in contention regard Friedrich von Wieser’s intellectual affiliation with Hayek and his influence on the formation of Hayek’s economic thought; Wieser’s status as a general equilibrium theorist; and the reason for Hayek’s early flirtation with general equilibrium theory. In this article I argue that Hayek was a self-conscious adherent of the Wieserian tradition and remained so even after he received the Nobel Prize in 1974 and that he distinguished between this tradition and the Böhm-Bawerkian tradition followed by Ludwig von Mises. I also contend that Wieser used the construction of a general equilibrium economy subject to a single will as both a normative benchmark by which to appraise the performance of the real-world market economy and as an analytical tool to explain the formation of market prices. Finally, I argue that Hayek concerned himself with the problems of the Wieser-type general equilibrium economy beginning with his earliest writings as a professional economist, years before he began to focus on the theoretical problems of money and the business cycle.Bruce Caldwell a discuté un certain nombre de points de mon article récent sur le développement de l’école autrichienne d’économie de Carl Menger en passant par Ludwig von Mises et F.A. Hayek. Les controverses concernant l’affiliation intellectuelle de Hayek vis-à-vis de Friedrich von Wieser et l’influence de ce dernier sur la pensée économique de Hayek, le statut de Wieser en tant que théoricien de l’équilibre général, et les raisons pour lesquelles le jeune Hayek flirta avec la théorie de l’équilibre général.Dans cet article je défends la thèse selon laquelle Hayek était conscient du fait qu’il s’inscrivait dans la tradition Wieserienne et qu’il l’était toujours même après sa réception du prix Nobel en 1974 et quand il fît la distinction entre cette tradition et la tradition inaugurée par Böhm-Bawerk et poursuivie par Mises. L’article affirme aussi que Wieser utilisa la construction d’une économie en équilibre général sujette à une volonté unique à la fois comme standard normatif pour évaluer les performances des marchés dans le monde réel et comme outil analytique pour expliquer la formation des prix marchands. Enfin, l’article argumente que Hayek s’intéressa aux problèmes relevant d’une économie en équilibre général à la Wieser dans ses premiers écrits en tant qu’économiste et cela bien avant qu’il ne se concentrât sur les problèmes théoriques de la monnaie et du cycle des affaires.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 1-24

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:12:y:2002:i:2:n:11

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