Ludwig Lachmann and the Austrians

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Abstract

Ludwig Lachmann looked to the Austrian School of economics as an intellectual space of refuge from the sterile formalism that constituted the academic work of the mainstream economics establishment. From an early interest in capital-theory, he moved to broader epistemological, methodological, and institutional concerns – specifically, from the subjectivism of values to the subjectivism of expectations and the implications thereof for human action. Human action in disequilibrium was his central focus. This paper examines the relationship of Lachmann’s views to the Austrians, those who preceded him, those of his time, and those who have come after him. During his lifetime his views sometimes provoked controversy. I examine this from the perspective of 2017 and the concerns of the modern Austrian intellectual community and find that Lachmann’s views are surprisingly much more complementary to those of his contemporary Austrians than has perhaps hitherto been realized.

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