HOPE 50.4 (December 2018)

"Karl Menger as Son of Carl Menger," by Scott Scheall and Reinhard Schumacher. Relatively little is known about the relationship between Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian school of economics, and his son, Karl Menger, the mathematician, geometer, logician, and philosopher of science, whose mathematical colloquium at the University of Vienna was essential for the development of mathematical economics. Based on Karl Menger’s diaries and correspondence, the present paper considers the development and struggles of the young Karl Menger, focusing on the years 1919–23, when Vienna was a vanquished city. We discuss the various relations within the Menger family and their significance for Karl Menger’s intellectual development. Additionally, we consider his acquaintances with economists such as Knut Wicksell, David Davidson, and Eli Heckscher as well as the younger Menger’s work in economics. We shed new light on his editorship of the second edition of his father’s Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre.

"Denazifying the Economy: Ordoliberals on the Economic Policy Battlefield (1946-50)," by Raphaël Fèvre. This article analyzes the ordoliberal discourse in the early postwar period (1946–50) and the way it gained traction on the political stage. My contention is that the ordoliberals sought to establish a continuity between the economic order of the Nazis and the administration of the Western Allies, and thereby confronted political authorities with the fact that proper denazification could succeed only if Nazi planning methods were rejected. This argument has been constructed around various kinds of documentation, including advisory reports, newspaper/magazine articles, and academic publications. The paper contributes both to a better definition of ordoliberal ideas (especially of their critical scope) and to a better knowledge of competing ideologies in the early Cold War context.

"The Machine Taxers," by Gregory R. Woirol. Despite lack of support from professional economists, the idea of a tax on labor-saving machinery as a policy to help displaced workers had widespread popular appeal in the US throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s. A response to concerns about technological unemployment, loosely organized and widely spread across the United States, the machine tax movement evolved from conversations among friends and letters to the editor in local newspapers to policy proposals at the federal level. The grassroots effort ultimately failed. In the context of the rise of Keynesian analysis, persistent accusations of an antiprogress bias, and the provision of few details about policy applications, the machine tax proposals faded rapidly after 1940. Given familiarity with an active government role in economic policy and knowledge about taxes as tools of these policies, it should not be a surprise that machine tax ideas reappear when the labor displacing effects of technological change are a major concern. The US economy in the 2010s had these elements.

"The Midway and Beyond: Recent Work on Economics at Chicago," by Douglas A. Irwin. Over the last decade, there has been an outpouring of scholarly research on the Chicago school of economics and its leading figures. This paper provides a selective survey of this research, focusing in particular on (1) the origins of a distinctive Chicago economics in the 1930s, (2) the work of Milton Friedman in the 1950s and 1960s in light of the Keynesian consensus of the day, and (3) the relationship between Chicago economists and the idea of “neoliberalism” in economic thought and policy.

Review Essay: "'The Cambridge Tradition' Reconsidered," by Nahid Aslanbeigui and Guy Oakes. Review of The Palgrave Companion to Cambridge Economics, 2 vols., edited by Robert A. Cord (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Review Essay: "Transformative Friendships," by Harro Maas. Review of The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World, by Laura Snyder (New York: Broadway Books, 2011), and The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed the World, by Michael Lewis (London: Penguin, 2017).

Malcolm Rutherford, review of A Worker’s Economist: John R. Commons and His Legacy from Progressivism to the War on Poverty, by John Dennis Chasse (New York: Transaction Publishers, 2017).

Charles Goodhart, review of Till Time’s Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England, 1694–2013, by David Kynaston (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).