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

  • Cubeddu Raimondo

    (Université de Pise)

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    L’analyse économique des Autrichiens se fonde aujourd’hui comme hier sur la notion de subjectivisme, dans les deux voies économique et méthodologique héritées de Carl Menger. Aujourd’hui le débat s’est déplacé vers l’analyse des rapports entre éthique et catallaxie, sujet d’autant plus important pour juger des aspects normatifs de la position Autrichienne que les différents représentants de l’école n’y ont pas des positions homogènes. L’auteur se concentre sur les développements de Carl Menger et Friedrich Hayek. Il se fonde sur l’existence 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 l’éthique n’est pas pertinente pour traiter du problème. Marché et éthique interagissent de facon indissoluble et ne se trouvent plus dans une opposition factice, dès lors qu’avec 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.

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

    Volume (Year): 7 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 1-25

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:7:y:1996:i:4:n:1
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