[OPE-L:4742] Re: opposition to Hayek

riccardo bellofior (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Sat, 12 Apr 1997 09:57:24 -0700 (PDT)

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At 8:53 12-04-1997, Michael Perelman wrote:
>Gerald Levy wrote:
>> Riccardo: what do you think Marxists can learn from the Austrians?
>I am not Riccardo, but let me chip in anyway. Hayek can be useful in
>small doses, but lethal when infused in larger portions.
>Hayek's critique of equilibrium theory shows a glaring problem in
>neo-classical economics.
>More important, Hayek's theory shows the importance of allowing popular
>input into the planning process -- although everybody on pen-l realizes
>how contentious specifying the exact nature of this popular input.

I agree, basically.

That is, Hayek (and Mises) must be studied because:

(i) their criticism against planning was essentially sound (while Marxist
criticism againts the Austrians were not)

(ii) the assimilation of their position with the general equilibrium
approach was wrong, and theirs was a quite radical rejection of
Neoclassical economics a la Walras.

BTW, (i) and (ii) are the same, since for them socialist planning was
nothing but the consequence of the equilibrium theorizing reducing the
market to the auctioneer.


(iii) they were ideologically the winners already in the 80s against
Keynesianism, well before the collapse of actually existing socialism

(iv) their theory of money and banking tried to overcome the defects of
traditional quantity theory without falling in what they saw as the errors
of Schumpeter and Keynes: that is they both asserted the non-neutrality of
money (through the ability of banks to create money ex nihilo) and the
necessity not to intervene on the laisser faire of the market

BTW, on (iii) there are a couple of papers by Desai; in the '30s Hayek was
used by Strachey in a criticism of Keynes - when Strachey was a communist.

Moreover, (iii) and (iv) are linked: the renewal of interest on this topics
was also due, I think, to the fact the aggregate Keynesian macro theorizing
*after* the General theory cancelled all the contending school of thoughts
which were discussing at the begining of this century of the relation
between money, distribution and cycle.

In general, I have the impression that there are important methodological
similarities between an Austrian perspective (more on the Misesian type
than of a Keynesian type) and the TSS; whereas I am certainly a
Schumpeterian marxist.

But, you know, try to tell an "Austrian" true believer that Schumpeter was
an Austrian...


P.S.: if anyone is interested, I wrote a short comment about the socialist
calculation debate in a book about Hayek edited by Marina Colonna (Elgar
1994); and I have a long unpublished essay about Mises on money (but the
Italian version is still longer!). I hope I survived to the larger portions
of Mises I had to study (in any case, he is surely a boring reading!).

Riccardo Bellofiore
Department of Economics
Piazza Rosate, 2
I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
tel: (39) 35 277505 (office)
(39) 35 277501 (dept.)
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