Don Lavoie

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Don Lavoie
Born(1951-04-04)April 4, 1951
DiedNovember 6, 2001(2001-11-06) (aged 50)
School or
Austrian School
Alma materWorcester Polytechnic Institute
New York University

Donald Charles "Don" Lavoie (April 4, 1951 – November 6, 2001) was an Austrian school economist. He was influenced by Friedrich Hayek, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Michael Polanyi and Ludwig Lachmann. He wrote two books on the problem of economic calculation. His first book on this subject was Rivalry and Central Planning (Cambridge University Press 1985). This book stressed the importance of the process of competitive rivalry in markets. His second book was National Economic Planning: What Is Left? (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1985). This book dealt with the problem of non-comprehensive planning.

Among his students, there are a number of "contemporary Austrian" economists: Peter Boettke, David Prychitko, Steven Horwitz, Thomas Rustici, Mark Gilbert, Ralph Rector, Emily Chamlee-Wright, Howie Baetjer and Virgil Storr.

Don Lavoie was co-founder of the interdisciplinary unit known as the Program on Social & Organizational Learning at George Mason University which offers a Master's degree in Organizational Learning. He also worked at the Cato Institute.

Lavoie was awarded a Ph. D. in economics from New York University in 1981 for thesis entitled Rivalry and central planning : a re-examination of the debate over economic calculation under socialism under Israel Kirzner.[1]

As a scholar, he studied the philosophy of the social sciences (especially the application of hermeneutics to economics) and Comparative Economic Systems (especially Marxian theories of socialism). Along with Richard Ebeling, Lavoie pioneered the attempt to merge Austrian Economics with philosophical hermeneutics in the late 1980s, and in particular with the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. His influence here extended to many of his students mentioned above. His effort drew criticism from several members of the Austrian School associated with the Mises Institute, especially Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

As a young professor, he worked on the philosophy and practice of electronically mediated discourse. He knew the importance for organizations of new ways of cultivating interactive learning environments (groupware and hypertext software environments) in order to enhance communicative processes. He showed the fundamental nature of social learning processes, whether in market exchanges, in verbal conversations, or in hypertext-based dialogue.[2]

In the book Culture and Enterprise: The Development, Representation and Morality of Business (New York: Routledge, 2000) written with Emily Chamlee-Wright, they take into account the important role of culture in a nation's economic development.

Lavoie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2001. He died of a stroke later that year.


  1. ^ "Rivalry and central planning: a re-examination of the debate over economic calculation under socialism". New York University Libraries Catalogue. Retrieved 17 Dec 2012.
  2. ^ "New Collaborative Learning Environments : The Convergence of Hermeneutics and Hypertext by Virgil Henry Storr". Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved 2013-09-24.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

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