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On the Irrelevance of Ethics in Menger's and Hayek's Thoughts


  • Cubeddu Raimondo

    (Université de Pise)


Lanalyse économique des Autrichiens se fonde aujourdhui comme hier sur la notion de subjectivisme, dans les deux voies économique et méthodologique héritées de Carl Menger. Aujourdhui le débat sest déplacé vers lanalyse des rapports entre éthique et catallaxie, sujet dautant plus important pour juger des aspects normatifs de la position Autrichienne que les différents représentants de lécole ny ont pas des positions homogènes. Lauteur se concentre sur les développements de Carl Menger et Friedrich Hayek. Il se fonde sur lexistence de résultats involontaires connexes des actions individuelles volontaires, qui interdisent de statuer sur la justification éthique des institutions à partir du caractère éthique des motivations initiales des agents. In fine léthique nest pas pertinente pour traiter du problème. Marché et éthique interagissent de facon indissoluble et ne se trouvent plus dans une opposition factice, dès lors quavec les Autrichiens on délaisse la vision strictement instrumentaliste du marché.The analysis developed by the Austrian school is rooted in subjectivism as expressed by Carl Menger at the twin levels of economics and methodology. Nowadays the debate shifted towards the relationship between ethics and catallactics, a strategic issue conceiving of the normative aspects of classical liberalism where the Austrian themselves do not defend an homogeneous position. The author refers only to Carl Menger and Friedrich Hayek in the paper. He explains that the very existence of unintended consequences of voluntary actions does forbid any ethical analysis of the institutions on the basis of ethical considerations of individual motivations. In fine, ethics is irrelevant to address the question. Market and ethics cannot remain in a kind of opposition, and their relationship can be understood on the basis of their interaction instead, as soon as the instrumentalist vision of the market has been left away.

Suggested Citation

  • Cubeddu Raimondo, 1996. "On the Irrelevance of Ethics in Menger's and Hayek's Thoughts," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 7(4), pages 1-25, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:7:y:1996:i:4:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buchanan, James M. & Vanberg, Viktor J., 1991. "The Market as a Creative Process," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 167-186, October.
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