Template talk:Austrian School economists

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Schumpeter was Austrian, but...[edit]

Schumpeter was from Austria, but he was never an Austrian School economist. -- (talk) 15:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC) Schumpeter never identified himself with the school--like all really great thinkers, he was too unique to do so. But he was Wieser's student, and as such far more fit to be included here than such non-economists as Ron Paul (!) or non-Austrian economists as Robert Higgs. Whatever some American fans of "Austrian economics" may think, the term ought not to be treated as a synonym for "libertarianism," radical or otherwise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonidepoli (talkcontribs) 01:38, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Alpha Sort[edit]

Should tis list be alphabetized. Could this be done by a bot? Trasel (talk) 00:27, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I just did. The next time I touch it, it will be categorized in some way. InMooseWeTrust (talk) 12:20, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Legitimate Austrians vs. fellow travelers[edit]

The persons who keep adding names of non-economists (e.g. North and Schiff), and of economists who aren't Austrians (e.g. Higgs and Holcombe), or of utter unknowns (e.g., themselves), need to cut it out. Ron Paul is a doctor and a politician; Robert Higgs has never called himself and Austrian, etc. Just because someone favors free markets, or is a fan of von Mises, doesn't qualify! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonidepoli (talkcontribs) 13:08, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Also, political categories ("classical liberal," "anarcho-capitalist") are inappropriate means for categorizing members of a school of economic thought--and particularly so in light of the fact that many members of the school don't fit any of the categories. The writer apparently doesn't know the difference between free-market ideology and Austrian economics, as anyone with some knowledge of the school's history ought to. Mises and Rothbard were to be sure libertarians; Weisser and Menger were not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonidepoli (talkcontribs) 01:34, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

The real problem is that the actual division between modern Austrians is Rothbardians versus non-Rothbardians, but if you try to distinguish it that way, you'll accomplish little more than angering people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:59, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Fellow travelers?[edit]

If the template is supposed to list Austrian School economists, my feeling is that it probably should limit itself to doing so. BigK HeX (talk) 19:27, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Several of the fellow travelers were previously listed among the other headers. There is a great deal of debate over whether figures like Schumpeter or Shackle or Wicksell were "really" Austrians. The others, such as Ostrom or Buchanan, emphatically cite the Austrian school as a major influence in their work and it's ambiguous whether history will judge them as "really" Austrians or not. Given the level of disagreement (and the general controversy that exists within the school itself over such semantic issues), I don't see anything wrong with a half-loaf approach, so to speak. Darsox64 (talk) 05:25, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

If they are Austrian economists, then please cite the information. If they are not Austrian School economists, then there's no need to fluff up the box and possibly make misleading characterizations of every one who may have ever shown a moment of sympathy with the school of thought.
It's probably not commonplace, but I'd even be satisfied with the citations to be listed on the talk page. BigK HeX (talk) 11:28, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Here is a link to modern Austrians (professionals and amateurs) bickering over who should be referred to as an Austrian- http://austrianeconomists.typepad.com/weblog/2009/11/can-you-guess-how-many-austrian-economists-made-the-aea-calendar.html . If you read the pages themselves about people like Lionel Robbins, you'll see that these things aren't at all clear cut. Here is an academic article discussing whether Robbins should be counted among the Austrians- http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae12_4_7.pdf . Here is an article wherein James Buchanan says he is closer to Lachmann and Shackle than to the mainstream- http://mises.org/journals/aen/aen9_1_1.asp . Elsewhere, he has described himself as mostly a fellow traveler.
This comes down to how you would define the Austrian school, and there isn't a very good way of doing so without a) focusing too much on praxeology, which Hayek rejects and b) not allowing for a very important figure like Lachmann to remain in the school (and on the other hand without allowing every post-Keynesian and New Institutionalist in as well). If we just follow the very broad definition given at the beginning of the wiki article itself, you'll force every single person listed as a fellow traveler in.
I wasn't planning on sitting down and digging up two citations for every fellow traveler listed, but every single one of them, to my knowledge, would have someone reputable saying they are an Austrian and someone reputable saying they aren't. That even goes for those who weren't originally listed among the fellow travlers, such as Lachmann and Robbins. (A citation on Lachmann arguing one way or the other can be found in the introduction of Subjectivism and Economic Analysis: Essays in memory of Ludwig M. Lachmann, Ed. Roger Koppland Gary Mongiovi, and citing the fact for Robbins is bordering on citing the sky is blue, since he both wrote methodological works strongly in the tradition of the Austrian school, but later turned on them).
If you think that renaming fellow travelers as "controversial figures" and dropping one or two of the more strained examples (Douglass North and Ronald Coase, perhaps), but I hardly believe that this category is just "fluff." It's representative of controversy of the school itself. Darsox64 (talk) 22:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I think Buchanan highlights my problem with the ambiguity. I know that philosophically he was sympathetic to the Austrian school and certainly had no objections, but are there reliable sources that characterize his actual work as that of Austrian economics (or being dependent on Austrian economics in some way)? IMO, if none of his work can be reliably cited as being developed from any foundations ascribed to Austrian economics, then placing him under the heading of "Austrian School Economists" creates a misleading assertion about him. If it is the case that Buchanan's work was developed independently of Austrian economics, then the "Fellow Traveler" label would loosely translate to mean that "this guy is NOT an Austrian School economist, but sympathizes with the school and possibly comes to many of the same conclusions"; given my loose translation, the key here for me would be that he actually would NOT be in the Austrian School, and yet listed under the heading of "Austrian School economists."
Ultimately, it seems the question of these debatable people comes down to whether persons should be included based on philosophy or judged strictly by the (intended) basis from which they worked in their professional contributions. There's a lot of gray area in there, but personally, I feel more strongly against judging an economist solely by their affinity for the work of (undisputed) Austrian economics, since that would have an unsettling likelihood of mischaracterizing people.
If, however, the list is about the works of economists, and there is reasonable debate over the development of the works from some of these candidates (instead of just a sympathetic philosophy), then a "Debatable" category could be warranted, IMO. BigK HeX (talk) 22:58, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I think you can make the argument that Buchanan can be reliably cited as an Austrian economist by that criterion. According to Indexes (Vol. 20 in the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan), he cites Hayek three times more often than Milton Friedman or Kenneth Arrow. There are reasons why you wouldn't want to put Buchanan explicitly as an Austrian, for example his writings on macroeconomics and use of rational choice theory, but that's why I used the term fellow traveler (which is Buchanan's own words, I believe) instead of a clunky label like debatable. Buchanan, even, is one that I would side with you perhaps more on than some of the others by your criteria; Knut Wicksell was basically checking his work against Bohm-Bawerk when coming up with his natural rate of interest, but at the same time doesn't fit neatly with the methodological underpinnings of Mises. I don't think calling him a classical liberal and leaving at that provides that intuition at all.
I only started editing this template because it's been roughly the same for a while and still a pretty inconsistent and arbitrary system of classification. Perhaps the strangeness of the categorization of fellow traveler is what caught your attention, but your objections go against how the template had been previously constructed as well. I've heard George Selgin (in person, no less, though in 10 minutes I could find a citation to this effect) that he doesn't consider himself an Austrian, but doesn't have a problem with it if you call him one. Doesn't that preclude him from being listed no more or no less than the rationale you gave for precluding listing Buchanan? However, I don't exactly recommend removing Selgin from this list altogether, mostly because he's debatably the most important living Austrian macroeconomist!
Perhaps instead of dumping all the names listed, a more extensive reclassification is in order? If you want the classical liberal and anarcho-capitalist classifications to only include a "narrow tent" list of figures, you would need to remove Selgin, Lachmann, and Robbins, at the very least. And Gottfried Harbeler too (I'm not 100% that he's listed) since at the end of his career he has repudiated Austrianism. You would probably want to remove Ron Paul and Peter Schiff as well since neither are actually economists (perhaps a new sub-category of "public figures" or something?). Schumpter, Max Weber, and Knut Wicksell don't belong in a narrow tent list of Austrians, but they are all extremely important influences on the school, arguably along with Kant and Popper as well, so perhaps they should have their own category as influences? Finally, if you want a broad tent category, it would probably include Selgin, Lachmann, Robbins, Shackle, plus maybe Buchanan, Tullock, Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, Vernon Smith, and a few others who were previously listed among the fellow travelers.
I don't necessarily have a problem with leaving out people like Buchanan from the template, but I don't see a reason for doing it that will let you at the same time leave in Schumpter, Selgin, Lachmann, and Robbins, who were all on it before I started editing the template. Darsox64 (talk) 04:29, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Actually, what mostly caught my attention is that the "Fellow Traveler" label is pretty undefined. I'd heard it mentioned in connection with Buchanan, but was pretty sure it was some sort of neologism. Then, Knut Wicksell was also in that group, adding further to the ambiguity since it was unclear whether he was being categorized under "Fellow Traveler" or "Influence".
I think your suggestions for reorganization would help bring clarity, though I might take issue with a few of the names on the list. In order to get some progress going, I will now take an opposite approach at this point, and just raise an objection on a per-economist basis, instead of challenging WP:V to be applied to each one in the category.
So, I'd like to invite you to implement your idea for reorganizing, just with the cavaet that I'm am fairly skeptical of a few of the names and a further request to give the categories a good name (hopefully one that even laymen would immediately understand). BigK HeX (talk) 04:48, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Just so you can do any legwork you might feel necessary, I'll go ahead and note that I'd question Vernon Smith being on the list. Also, Tyler Cowen seems a bit questionable too (and I'm aware of one instance where he's specifically suggested that he is not an Austrian). I think those are the ones I'd question for now. BigK HeX (talk) 04:48, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

One last note is that, if Selgin really was serious about not being an Austrian, then there might be some BLP considerations which may keep him off the list. I don't really have any opinion myself on that particular issue. BigK HeX (talk) 05:30, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Alright, after looking at it a bit, I can't come up with a reasonable criteria that would keep people like Vernon Smith, Tyler Cowen, and James Buchanan on the list while keeping others who merely think Hayek is nice off the template. I would like to suggest radically changing the template from what is what before all the same, while shifting around the headings in the same spirit as I did before. First, leave the "founders" heading as is, then make the following headings-

1. Public Figures. Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Henry Hazlitt, and Rand Paul (maybe Nassim Taleb as well, although that's a bit more controversial).

2. Austrian School Influences: Shackle, Wicksell, Schumpeter, Weber, Kant, and Bastiat.

3. Austrian Macroeconomics: Benjamin Anderson, William Anderson, Garrison, Fetter, Harbeler, Herbener, Hutt, Lachmann, Robbins, Selgin, Sennholz, Skousen, Hulsmann, de Soto, Horwitz, Salerno, Thornton, and Yeager.

4. Austrian Microeconomics: Davenport, Kirzner, Machlap, Prychitko, Romanchuk, Reisman, Block, Callahan, Holcombe, Klein, Leeson, Murphy, and Strignham. Austrian Theory and Methodology: Caldwell, Ebeling, Maltsev, Boettke, Hoppe, Rothbard, and Woods.

There's a little bit of arbitrariness going on there, especially since Austrians are less prone to remain in their specific fields as typical economists are, but I think this is a massive improvement from the way it looks now. Is this workable? Darsox64 (talk) 06:45, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I have no significant complaints.
I, personally, would classify Thomas Woods along with Hazlitt, but I could well be wrong on that one, and its no biggie to me. I might whine in the future (but I doubt it), though who knows ... someone else might come in and demand that you "fix it back!" or might object to another one of the names.
At the moment though, it looks good to me, and your effort is very commendable. BigK HeX (talk) 07:04, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Limit to the size of the list?[edit]

Of the templates on economic schools, I think this template is currently the largest (measuring over 10 lines of text on my screen, making it roughly a third larger than the next biggest template). I think we might be at a good limit. It may also be feasible to prune a few of names of lesser notability. Thoughts? BigK HeX (talk) 18:04, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I'll talk to a couple people I know about who might be less notable, but I don't feel comfortable eliminating names at the moment. I'll try to find out by next week if I have something to add. Darsox64 (talk) 03:54, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

If I had to suggest some, then I might consider putting these in the batch which can receive consideration for pruning:
Public Figures. Tucker
Austrian Macroeconomics: William Anderson, Harbeler, Herbener, Thornton, and Yeager.
Austrian Microeconomics: Davenport, Prychitko, Romanchuk, Reisman, Holcombe, Klein, and Strignham.
Austrian Theory and Methodology: Maltsev.
Just my 2 cents. BigK HeX (talk) 04:31, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm removing all those you recommended except Harbeler and Thornton. Harbeler was pretty significant mid-century and Thornton was the earliest Austrian "Cassandra" of the contemporary crisis. I decided to remove Kant and Cantillon, and I don't think I'll get disagreement because I was the one who added them. Darsox64 (talk) 18:46, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
List is vastly improved after your efforts! BigK HeX (talk) 20:08, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Garet Garrett[edit]

Would it be appropriate to add Garet Garrett to the list of Austrian influences? I know Mises mentions him, and he's got a few postings on the LvMI site. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I thought about adding him before it was suggested the template should be reduced in size. He was part of the "old right" in general and was respected by Mises and was somewhat of an influence on Rothbard, but that influence had more to do with the libertarian side than the actual economics. I'd put him behind the other influences that are listed in relative importance. Darsox64 (talk) 03:56, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Lew Rockwell as public figure?[edit]

I'm curious to get some feedback on this. It seems as though he is a worthy add to that category, as he's not an economist by trade, but is certainly a public figure for the school, having written and edited various books and publications that deal with the subject, as well as being the founder and chairman of the largest and most well-known organization associated with the school. --JohnDoe0007 (talk) 03:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Renaming Template[edit]

Please don't rename and re-scope an entire template without consensus. And pulling Austrian School economists out from under the label just because they haven't "contributed to Austrian School Theory" is probably a mistake. That seems a bit subjective and unencyclopedic. An economist can fully embrace Austrian theory without adding to its core tenets. For a parallel, look at the Keynesians, for example. Not every economist has published as much as J.K. Galbraith. A lot of well-known mid-level economists that haven't attempted to modify or expand on Keynes are still clearly in the Keynes camp. Expatter (talk) 14:20, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm fine with the old heading/your edit. However, they're not under the label (see the list page). It's just that I don't want the sidebar to have a bunch of people who haven't contributed. The sidebar is supposed to be there for "important people". Otherwise, we'd have to add EVERY Austrian economist. I haven't done anything to the list page and I'm fine with that getting longer and longer. I suppose having "public figures" like Ron Paul would be OK, but we'd have to change the heading to "Notable Austrians". Byelf2007 (talk) 5 March 2012
I agree with Expatter. And I don't think the new list is very fitting. Some important contributors have been pulled out and the list seems to reflect only one specific branch of adherents. Because the edits were so extensive I vote for revertion, for now. Ddnixx (talk) 17:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
"Some important contributors have been pulled out" Who? And how are they important contributors? Byelf2007 (talk) 5 March 2012