University Austrian Economics

What is Austrian Economics

The Austrian School

The story of the Austrian School begins in the fifteenth century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization.

These Late Scholastics observed the existence of economic law, inexorable forces of cause and effect that operate very much as other natural laws. Over the course of several generations, they discovered and explained the laws of supply and demand, the cause of inflation, the operation of foreign exchange rates, and the subjective nature of economic value-all reasons Joseph Schumpeter celebrated them as the first real economists.

The Late Scholastics were advocates of property rights and the freedom to contract and trade. They celebrated the contribution of business to society, while doggedly opposing taxes, price controls, and regulations that inhibited enterprise. As moral theologians, they urged governments to obey ethical strictures against theft and murder. And they lived up to Ludwig von Mises's rule: the first job of an economist is to tell governments what they cannot do.

The first general treatise on economics, Essay on the Nature of Commerce, was written in 1730 by Richard Cantillon, a man schooled in the scholastic tradition. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to France. He saw economics as an independent area of investigation, and explained the formation of prices using the "thought experiment." He understood the market as an entrepreneurial process, and held to an Austrian theory of money creation: that it enters the economy in a step-by-step fashion, disrupting prices along the way.

What's wrong with Krugman?

by causeimthesquid


Robert Murphy has a PhD in economics from New York University. He is a firm believer in the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which blames the boom-bust cycle on the Federal Reserve, not the free market. In contrast, Paul Krugman—Nobel laureate in economics, and writer for the New York Times—is a Keynesian economist who thinks the Fed and the government can jumpstart the economy out of recession by printing more money and increasing the deficit.
Murphy has challenged Krugman to a public debate on Austrian vs

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