Carl Menger and His Legacy in Economics (1990)

Carl Menger and His Legacy in Economics. 1990. Edited by Bruce J. Caldwell. Supplement to volume 22 of HOPE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

"Editor's Introduction," by Bruce J. Caldwell (pp. 3–14)

"The Papers of Carl Menger in the Special Collections Department, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University," by Mason Barnett (pp. 15–28)

I. Origins and Economic Policy

"The Influence of German Economics on the Work of Menger and Marshall," by Erich W. Streissler (pp. 31–68). Three myths are uncovered: that Menger was indepedent of the German economics of his day; that the Prussian-dominated, unified Germany of c.1900 was the same as the Germany of 1825 or even 1850; and that German economics around 1850 was unimportant.

"The Cameralist Roots of Menger's Achievement," by Paul Silverman (pp. 69–91). While the genius of Austrian culture left its mark on the Austrian school of economics, that school's specifically Austrian roots is found in the history of Austrian economic thought.

"Menger, Classical Liberalism, and the Austrian School of Economics," by Israel M. Kirzner (pp. 93–106). The early Austrians occupied a posiiton that recognized both the efficacy of markets and scope for useful government intervention—a position suggesting a more radical appreciation for free markets than the early Austrians themselves in fact displayed.

"Carl Menger on Economic Policy: The Lectures to Crown Prince Rudolf," by Erich W. Streissler (pp. 107–30). The notebooks of Crown Prince Rudolf present Carl Menger as a very neoclassical economist—in fact, hardly "neo" at all but nearly a pure classicist.

II. Successors

"Austrian Capital Theory: The Early Controversies," by Roger W. Garrison (pp. 133–54). The development of capital theory along formalistic lines (e.g., by Wicksell) rather than along subjectivist lines (e.g., by Mises) provides some justification for Menger's claim that Böhm-Bawerk's theory is "one of the greatest errors" ever made.

"Lionel Robbins and the Austrian Connection," by D. P. O'Brien (pp. 155–84). Robbins regarded Austrian economics as a whole to be of very considerable importance, and the LSE was prominent in making Austrian works available to a wider audience.

"Comment on O'Brien's 'Lionel Robbins and the Austrian Connection,'" by Mark Blaug (pp. 185–88)

"From Hayek to Menger: Biology, Subjectivism, and Welfare," by Jeremy Shearmur (pp. 189–212). In appraising the subjectivism of the later Austrians, one should go back to Menger and (1) consider that our concern with welfare may be taken beyond a concern with subjective satisfaction and (2) make something of Menger's concern with human nature.

III. Methodology

"Menger's Methodology," by Karl Milford (pp. 215–39). Menger's Principles attempted to show the possibility of a theoretical economics that could solve the urgent problems of economic theory, precisely because Menger's book was based on methodological individualism.

"A Roundabout Solution to a Fundamental Problem in Menger's Methodology and Beyond," by Jack Birner (pp. 241–61). More than wanting to show that the methods of the historical school were unscientific, Menger wanted to clarify the fundamental differences between the approach of the historical school and the one followed in his Principles.

"Aristotle, Menger, Mises: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Economics," by Barry Smith (pp. 263–88). The invisible background that holds Menger's work together is Aristotelian.

"Mengerian Economics in Realist Perspective," by Uskali Mäki (pp. 289–310). It is in many ways sensible to see Mengerian economics as exemplifying a version of essentialist realism.

IV. General Themes

"What Do We Know about Menger?," by Max Alter (pp. 313–48). Menger's unpublished manuscripts will reveal a great deal about his life, his thought, and his intellectual development and should be used to critically reexamine claims made based on his published writings.

"Restoring an 'Altered' Menger," by Lawrence H. White (pp. 349–58). 

"Understanding Differently: Hermeneutics and the Spontaneous Order of Communicative Processes," by Don Lavoie (pp. 359–77). Hermeneutics, which is a general theory of understanding, can help us better appreciate how communicative processes work in economics and in the economy.

"The Mengerian Roots of the Austrian Revival," by Karen I. Vaughn (pp. 379–407). The Austrian revival in the United States is the continuation of a research program begun by Carl Menger in 1870 but truncated in the early twentieth century as economics became entranced with Marshall and Walras.