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Structure, agency and causality in post-revival Austrian economics: tensions and resolutions

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  • Paul Lewis

Abstract

This paper aims to illustrate the benefits that accrue from critical realism's sustained, explicit reflection about ontological issues. The paper pursues this aim by examining the work of radical subjectivist Austrian economists as it has developed since the post-1974 revival in the fortunes of the Austrian school, focusing in particular on their account of the generation of socio-economic order in decentralized market economies. Ambiguities and tensions can be discerned in the radical subjectivist account of the causal forces at work in the market process. It is argued that the conceptual resources required for resolving those tensions and ambiguities are to be found in critical realism. The final section of the paper draws out some of the broader implications of the suggested resolution for radical subjectivist Austrian economics.

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  • Paul Lewis, 2005. "Structure, agency and causality in post-revival Austrian economics: tensions and resolutions," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 291-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:17:y:2005:i:2:p:291-316 DOI: 10.1080/09538250500067320
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hodgson, Geoff, 1986. "Behind Methodological Individualism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 211-224, September.
    2. Vaughn,Karen I., 1994. "Austrian Economics in America," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521445528, December.
    3. Cowan, Robin & Rizzo, Mario J, 1996. "The Genetic-Causal Tradition and Modern Economic Theory," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 273-317.
    4. Boettke, Peter & Fink, Alexander, 2011. "Institutions first," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 499-504, December.
    5. G. B. Madison, 1994. "Phenomenology and economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Peter Boettke & J. Robert Subrick, 2001. "From the philosophy of mind to the philosophy of the market," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 53-64.
    7. Beaulier Scott & Boettke Peter, 2000. "Of Norms, Rules and Markets: A Comment on Samuels," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 10(4), pages 1-8, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Migone, 2011. "Embedded markets: A dialogue between F.A. Hayek and Karl Polanyi," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 355-381, December.
    2. Lewis, Paul & Runde, Jochen, 2007. "Subjectivism, social structure and the possibility of socio-economic order: The case of Ludwig Lachmann," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 167-186, February.

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