[OPE-L] Non equilibrium & Austrians

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sat Apr 21 2007 - 06:35:08 EDT

Paul wrote:

"I think that the Austrian predilection for the individual entrepreneur
reflects a fixation with an early stage of capitalism."

However, I think the argument does not really change whether or not we see
the entrepreneur as an early-capitalist investor, or as a modern corporate
investor. It is the same as when Marx talks about the "generic capitalist".
It's just that you have this entrepreneurial function, and whether that
function happens to be embodied by capitalists, managers, workers etc. is a
side-issue. Somebody has to be creative and knowledgeable, sure, but "the
function gives you the organ".

I'm very interested in the Austrian- and Langean-economic concepts of
prices. The reference to prices as objective data or information is in a way
a red herring though.

What you learn in information science is that an organisation has
information needs to reduce uncertainty. In other words, an organisation
requires information to orient behaviour, to make good choices and
decisions. However, there exist billions of prices and they cannot all
orient behaviour, in fact they could confuse behaviour.

To orient behaviour, you need price-valuation knowledge of a certain
relevant kind, and that is not the same as information as such. This
knowledge is lodged in human subjects who select out some data and infer
relationships among them. So it is impossible here to discuss prices without
reference to the economic actors who are the knowers and evaluators of

This remains true whether it's Austrian or Marxian economics. If it exists
at all, the law of value is not a law which can assert itself independently
of human consciousness - it is precisely mediated through human

This whole topic is very important - Marxists typically want to defend a
theory of value, but the best defence of a theory of value is by getting
very clear about the nature of prices.


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