Internal vs. External Explanations: A New Perspective on the History of Economic Thought
ABSTRACT The present paper is devoted to showing that all externalist explanations for truth in economics are false, but that if there any are used, it should not be the democratic one utilized by Rosen (1997). Rather, even though it is equally fallacious, it should the one proposed in the present paper: the last publication in a debate indicates the substantive winner.
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ABSTRACT: This paper develops a model of the transmission of earnings, assets, and consumption from parents to descendants. The model assumes utility-maximizing parents who are concerned about the welfare of their children. The degree of intergenerational mobility is determined by the interaction of this utility-maximizing behavior with investment and consumption opportunities in different gene rations and with different kinds of luck. The authors examine a number of empirical studies for different countries. Regression to the mean in earnings in rich countries appears to be rapid. Almost all the earnings advantages or disadvantages of ancestors are wiped out in three generations. Copyright 1986 by University of Chicago Press.Journal of Labor Economics 01/1986; 4(3):1-39. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To test a model of rational addiction, the authors examine whether lower past and future prices for cigarettes raise current cigarette consumption. The empirical results tend to support the implication of addictive behavior that cross-price effects are negative and that long-run responses exceed short-run responses. Since the long-run price elasticity of demand is almost twice as large as the short-run price elasticity, the long-run increase in tax revenue from an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes is considerably smaller than the short-run increase Copyright 1994 by American Economic Association.American Economic Review 02/1994; 84(3):396-418. · 2.69 Impact Factor
Internal vs. external explanations: a new perspective on the history of economic thought
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Internal vs. external explanations: a new perspective on the history of economic thought
Abstract: The present paper is devoted to showing that all externalist explanations
for truth in economics are false, but that if there any are used, it should not be the
democratic one utilized by Rosen (1997). Rather, even though it is equally fallacious, it
should the one proposed in the present paper: the last publication in a debate indicates the
JEL Classifications: B0, B1, B2, B4
Key words: truth, economics, majority rule, democracy, debate, argument
Internal vs. external explanations: a new perspective on the history of economic thought1
Consider the following contentious issues in economics:
1. The minimum wage causes unemployment for unskilled workers with Marginal
Revenue Products below that level stipulated by law.2
2. The Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) is a correct explanation of the
Great Depression of the 1930s, and the monetarist view (Friedman and Schwartz, 19xx)
3. The Austrians had by far the better of the argument vis-a-vis their intellectual
opponents in the Socialist Calculation Debate.3
How can the truth or falsity of these claims be established? There are only two
possibilities. One, the internal explanation: through hard work, debate, evidence, logic;
an intensive analysis of each contention must be made. Determining their truth or falsity
calls for painstaking work, hard slogging, in a word, “blood, sweat and tears.” There are,
in this view, no short cuts, no quick fixes.
Two, the external explanation. Here, there are easier and softer ways toward the
truth. There are simple objective criteria that may be employed, which can ferret out the
truth in one fell swoop. That is, there are considerations, totally and completely external
to economic theory per se which, nevertheless, may be employed to distinguish between
correctness of theory and error, in the dismal science.
Just to illustrate this concept, consider the following possible objective external
A. Height. In any debate between two economists, the taller one necessarily wins.
So, if Milton Friedman and John Kenneth Galbraith find themselves on the opposite side
of an issue, e.g., the minimum wage, mentioned above, we deem the latter correct since
he is more than 6 feet in height, and the former mistaken, since he stands at less than 5
feet.4 If the right wing wants to win a debate, they must resurrect George Stigler, a tall
1 The authors wish the thank the following for bibliographical help: Wladimir Kraus,
Doug Mackenzie, Barry Simpson
2 Most economists agree with the contention (Block and Walker, 1988, Frey, et. al., 1984); for an
alternative perspective, see Card and Krueger (1994).
3 Samuelson, Boettke, Lavoie, Brutzkus, Mises, Hayek, Skousen tba
4 That is, we would have to reject Friedman (1977) without even reading it, purely on this ground.
economist, and match him against someone like Robert Reich, a much shorter man, who
pitches from the distaff side.
B. Weight. William Vickery, Murray Rothbard and Robert Mundell were/are
portly economists, while Leland Yeager, Israel Kirzner and Jeff Herbener are on the thin
side. With such an objective criterion to lean upon as our guide, our path to the truth is
clear and straight: when any member of the former set disputes any member of the latter,
the fatties get the nod over the skinnies.5 Generalizing outside of the economic realm,
Nero Wolfe was a heavy detective, while Sherlock Holmes tipped the scales to a more
moderate degree. If the two disagreed as to the evidence of a crime, we know that
Archie’s boss outranks Dr. Watson’s colleague.
C. Economic credentials. Anyone with a Ph.D. in economics shall be considered
more highly credentialed than anyone without such a diploma. We may safely disregard
the opinions of Adam Smith, David Hume, John Locke, Frederic Bastiat, Jean Baptiste
Say, Henry Hazlitt, in favor of any still wet behind the ears graduate fresh off the
assembly lines of any of our modern diploma mills. For similar reasons, the following
world class economists lack the requisite credentials; thus their views on any economic
issue may safely be ignored as fallacious: Gordon Tullock (law degree), David Friedman
(Ph.D. in physics), Henry Manne (law degree), Richard Posner (law degree).
Is there anyone who actually believes in such abject nonsense? Height and
weight as criteria are just plain silly, and credentialism constitutes an informal fallacy in
logic: the argument from authority. Fortunately, for the present authors, there are
scholars who maintain such premises,6 otherwise we would not have had the temerity to
write the present article in criticism of external explanations. Rosen (1997)7 offers one
D. Democracy. That school of thought with the most adherents is closest to the
truth. It is hard to believe that anyone with an I.Q. above the level of room temperature
could take seriously any such contention. It amounts to no more than a nose counting
definition of accuracy in economics. This is democracy run rampant.8 And yet, a
reasonably prestigious journal saw fit to publish this highly problematic contention. This
means that at least a few referees, and perhaps more than one editor of a scholarly, peer-
reviewed journal, saw merit in this thesis. To add insult to injury, yet other authors
supported the Rosen (1997) thesis, to one extent or another (Laband and Tollison, 2000).
Ditto for yet more referees, editors, journals, etc.
5 Or the very opposite; it matters not.
6 Not on height and weight, of course, but on more “reasonable” grounds.
7 For support of the Rosen (1997) thesis, see Laband and Tollison (2000); for a critique of Rosen (1997)
and/or his supporters on this issue, see Block (2000b), Yeager (1997) and Anderson (2000).
8 For a critique of democracy in the political sphere, see Hoppe (2001)
to our profession than it already has. Accordingly, in an attempt to do just that, we offer
the present article. In it we offer yet another ersatz pipeline to the Man upstairs. To wit:
E. He who publishes last in an argument shall be deemed the winner.
Before we even explore what on earth this criterion could possibly mean, we
hasten to state that the present authors, although we shall employ it, do not agree with it.
We utilize it only as a reductio ad absurdum. That is, we do not adhere to the view that
the last speaker in a debate is the man with the truth on his side. We offer this train of
thought only as antidote to the opinions expressed by Rosen (1997), Laband and Tollison
(2000) in support of option D above.
Our argument is of the following form. Alright, Rosen, et. al: you think that in
majority opinion you have uncovered the philosopher’s stone, an inerrant guide to truth in
economics? Well, put this in your pipe and draw upon9 it: there is no short circuiting the
hard labor necessary to uncover the truth in economics, or, more generally, science. But
our criterion, erroneous as it is, is as good as, or perhaps even better than, yours. Since
ours is admittedly silly, so must yours be, and in spades.
With this demurer, and in order to anticipate objections, we are now ready to
more fully articulate this particular externalist10 explanation. In this analysis, whenever
there is a dispute between two economists, the last one to articulate his opinion shall be
deemed the winner of the debate, and thus having had the (more nearly) correct view.11
So, if there is a series of arguments and counterarguments of the sort A, B, where A
publishes first, B replies, and then all is silence, then we conclude that B is correct, and A
incorrect. If the format is of the following variety: A, B, A’, where A starts, B disagrees,
and then A publishes a rejoinder to B in a second round (A’), and that is the last we hear
of this, then it is A’ who has an inner track on the truth, and B who must be consigned to
the outer rungs of darkness. To insure there is no misunderstanding of the criterion we
shall employ, if the debate follows the A, B, A’, B’ pattern, then B gets the thumbs up
and A the thumbs down.
In what is to follow we shall confine ourselves to published debates,12 excluding
oral presentations. There are good and sufficient reasons for this decision. First,
9 We were about to say “smoke it” when a whiff of political correctness came over on us and we forebore.
10 For a not totally unrelated use of the distinction between internalist and externalist explanations, see
Block, Brennan and Elzinga, 1985
11 For an articulation of the “argument from argument,” which superficially supports the case being made in
the text, but really does not, see Hoppe (1993, pp. 204-207). That is, Hoppe maintains that in arguing
against free enterprise, communists must necessarily assume to be true what they oppose: property rights in
persons and in nature. They do this since they could scarcely argue without a body, and a place to put it.
In very sharp contrast, we are herein arguing, for reductio purposes, that the last contributor to an argument
has made the more telling points.
12 We include articles accepted for publication; that is, those that are forthcoming in refereed journals.
This claim must be stopped in its tracks before it does even more irreparable harm
publications are a matter of enduring public record in a way that even transcribed oral
debates are not. Second and far more important, the order of speaking in formal debates
is often determined arbitrarily, for example by a coin toss. It would be reach, even for
rabid reductio ad absurdists such as ourselves, to invest any in meaning whatsoever in the
order of presentation that eventuates from such a process. In contrast, there is a certain
presumption that in published debates, he who laughs last laughs best: the one with the
last word is the only one left standing in the intellectual arena, so to speak. Just as in
boxing, where, typically, the one at the end still on his feet on the canvass is declared the
winner, apart from when judges are called upon to make this determination, so is it for
academic pugilists. The one who is still “swinging away” with the last publication is the
presumptive winner, while his opponent skulks away as the loser.
Before getting to the specifics, let us, in yet a further attempt to distance ourselves
from our own (tongue firmly in cheek) criterion of truth, explicitly mention why it is
erroneous. That is, even though the rest of the paper shall be devoted to an exploration of
the historical and recent debates between Austrian economists and their critics, we now
hereby explicitly disavow this theory. The neoclassical or mainstream economists do
reasonably well with their norm, as it cannot be denied that there are more of them than
there are of us. However, turnabout is fair play. We Austrians do not have much of a
chance in a pure nose counting exercise, but may do better, cannot possibly do any worse,
when we ascertain who was the last contributor to any given debate.
What, then, are the difficulties with this position of ours?
One of the participants in the debate might have died in the very middle of it. That
is, the format might have been A, B, A’, B’. Here, our criterion indicates that the B
position is the correct one. However, at this precise point in time, A might have been in
the process of outlining a devastating rebuttal to B’, which would have converted this
series into A, B, A’, B’, A”, giving the nod to A, not B. But before A could put pen to
paper (so to speak) for his third and final contribution to this compilation, he might have
suffered a heart attack and died. If so, our criterion would be in error.
Then, it is always possible to “pick” on an already diseased economist. For
example, Rothbard (1995b) criticized Smith (1776) and there was little chance that the
latter would offer a rejoinder. On the other, in this particular case, there was no shortage
of modern economists who defended the latter against the former, and, indeed, this
episode is included in our list of debates.
Another possibility concerns A, B, where we would have to call B the winner.
But A might be a genius insight, and B a misbegotten failure to appreciate the sheer
enormity, learning and brilliance of A. But A, instead of replying to a B he considers
beneath his dignity, goes on to other work. Again, our criterion would be
Robert Nozick (1939-2002) had a long and very illustrious career as a
philosopher. His many publications were subjected to the most intensive scrutiny, much
of it critical. Yet, he never once replied to a single solitary published criticism of any of
his works. When asked for an explanation of this behavior, Nozick replied in terms of
“derailment”:13 if he replied to all or even to many of his critics, or, indeed, since there
were so many, to even a small fraction of them, he would never complete the work he
wanted to finish. Instead, he would be derailed from his own goals by writing endless
replies. So, he ignored them all, and focused on work he considered yet more important.
However, in terms of our taxonomy, we would have an endless series of A, B, where A
would be a magisterial Nozickian edifice, B would be, possibly, a carping sniveling14
criticism, barely worth the paper it was printed on, something to which this author did not
condescend to reply to. Yet, in terms of our analysis, we would have to judge that the
critic had the better of the argument -- in each and every case.
Sometimes, the reason an author may fail to respond to a sally against him is fear
of losing a job, or dread.15 Consider a case in point: A (Block, 1977), B (Demsetz, 1979),
A’ (Block, 1995), B’ (Demsetz, 1997), and finally A” (Block, 2000a). Note the long
hiatus between B and A’, a period of 16 years. If matters had ended in 1979, the series
would have been A, B, and Demsetz would have had to have been declared the winner.
In the event, however, it extended all the way to Block 2000a, so our conclusion would
then have to be reversed.16 The gap of more than decade and a half is explained by the
fact that Block (by coincidence, the lead author of the present paper) was employed by an
organization that revered Chicago-esque economics in general, Demsetz certainly
amongst them, and this author feared that writing a reply to Demsetz (B in our
terminology), namely A’, would cost him his job.17 As it happened, Block was fired
from this position in 1991 for other reasons, whereupon he got back into the fray with
13 Informal discussion with the senior author of the present article; paraphrased.
14 We do not necessarily hold the view that Nozick was always in the right, and his critics always in the
wrong. Certainly this would not apply, in our view, to Block (1980), Barnett (1977), Childs (1977), Evers
(1977), Rothbard (1977), Sanders (1977).
15 Alliteration uber alles
16 This is strengthened by Demsetz’s (1997, 101) statement: “I … refuse to join in any future similar
17 Demsetz (1997, 101) completely misconstrues Block’s motives when he says “Block should have put this
matter behind him rather than stewing over it for the 16 years between his current reply and my 1979
paper.” Contrary to Demsetz, there was no “stewing” going on; fear and trembling, rather.
alacrity.18 However, had Block kept that position permanently, and never replied to
Demsetz with his A’, the score card would have continued to read A, B, and we would
have been forced to conclude, using our criterion, that the latter was correct. However,
given A, B, A’, B’, A”, we come to the diametric opposite conclusion. If any one thing
can convince us of the sheer enormity of the error of this last-to-publish criterion, this
incident might qualify.
e. Defeat admission
Suppose the sequence A, B, A’, B’, A’’, B’’. Ordinarily, were we to cleave
strictly to our criteria, we would declare B the winner of the debate, since he was the only
one standing when it ended. But, suppose that B’’ consists of a surrender on B’s part to
A, admitting that the latter was correct, and that he, B, was in error. Logic, coherence,
common sense would all seem to dictate that A was the winner of this debate. None of
this for us, however. Consistency may be “the hobgoblin of little minds,” but in this case
we side with it: in our lexicon, we would declare B the winner, since he came last, and
position uber alles is our motto. Happily, there are no such cases in our inventory.19
At what point in the creation of a publication should we count it as partaking in a
debate? Obviously, when the paper is published, it should be counted. How about when it
is formally accepted for publication, and thus is forthcoming in a refereed journal, but has
not yet appeared in print. We have decided to include this as well, since, usually, it is
only a (short) matter of time before such an essay would achieve the previously
mentioned status. But what about an article that is just an idea in the author’s head, or is
partially completed? What should be the status of a manuscript that has been sent out to
an editor for publication, and is still in the refereeing process? A line has to be drawn
somewhere, and we have decided to do so at this point. That is, we do not count articles
still being refereed, or only partially written and not yet submitted for publication. As a
practical matter, we have very little information about such works in process. Then, too,
not every article undergoing refereeing sees the light of day. The problem with this
otherwise reasonable choice, if we say so ourselves, is that the “winner” of a debate will
continually diverge over time. At one point, we must declare A the victor of a given
argument. But, then, a few months later a refereed article from B is accepted for
publication, and we change our mind on this matter. Etc.
There is a certain amount of dishonesty that earmarks refereed professional
journals in economics. Often, this takes the form of ideological bias (Klein and Chiang,
2005; Thornton, 2004). To the extent that this occurs, we do not have a “level playing
18 A’ (Block, 1995) wasn’t published until 1995, but the writing of it began in early 1992.
19 The closest we come to this, however is the letter from John Bates Clark cited in Hayek, F. A. 1939.
Review of John Bates Clark: A Memorial. Economica. Vol. 6. 23-224.
field.”20 But, if an objective “winner” is to be declared, we must have ceteris paribus
conditions. We can make no such declaration if there is a thumb on one side, but not the
other, of the scales of justice as orchestrated by journal editors.21
Yet another form of dishonesty is the rescinding of an acceptance. There are more
than a few authors who have received letters of acceptance, only to have them followed
up by another missive rescinding the offer to publish.22,23
This compilation is unfair to the mainstream neoclassical economist, and
improperly gives weight to the Austrian side, in that the former may simply be unaware
of critiques published by the latter. The former appear in, and, presumably, read, journals
such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy and
Econometrica. For the latter, the counterparts are the Quarterly Journal of Austrian
Economics, the Review of Austrian Economics, and Advances in Austrian Economics.
Thus, if an Austrian critique of a mainstream publication appears in one of the latter
journals, its target may never have so much as even seen it. Such ignorance may not be
bliss, but it could certainly account for the Austrian having the last word in a “debate” of
which one of the partners to it was completely unaware.
But suppose the Austrian critic actually sends his critical publication to his
neoclassical target. Then, presumably, the latter can no longer plead ignorance? Not so,
not so. One must realize that in terms of prestige within the profession, the neoclassicals
occupy the pinnacle, and the Austrians the outer reaches. The former are to be found at
the top research universities, again in terms of prestige,24 and numerous of them are
winners of Nobel Prizes in economics. Yes, there are some exceptions; Hayek won the
Nobel Prize in economics and taught at the University of Chicago,25 while Kirzner was a
member of the New York University economics department. But these exceptions prove
the rule. The typical mainstream professor located at a prestigious research university
who is sent an offprint criticizing his views published in journal not in the top 50 of the
rankings is likely to toss it in the round file. He would not condescend to even read it, let
alone reply to it. Not very open minded, not very scholarly, not very collegial. But this
sociological reality does account for the one sidedness of the debates listed below. The
20 In international trade, the last thing we want is a level playing field. To the extent that this occurs,
specialization and the division of labor are lessened.
21 Had there been no Austrian journals willing to publish Block (1999) and Hulsmann (1999), Caplan
(1999) would have been declared the winner of this particular debate. See below.
22 For one documented instance of such reneging, see Block and Whitehead (2005, footnote 1).
23 Also, a journal might go out of business before actually publishing an accepted article.
24 For a critique of this situation as itself biased, see Klein and Chiang (2005).
25 But not in the economics department, from which he was blackballed by Friedman and Stigler; instead,
he taught at the Committee on Social Thought (Hulsmann, 2006).
With but a few notable exceptions, the Austrian “debating” a mainstream economist is
likely to be perceived by the latter in the same way as an elephant being bitten by a fly.
Then, to be fair to the neoclassical economists who reside at the apex of the profession in
terms of prestige, for every rejoinder received by an Austrian, they must receive one
hundred, or more. They simply cannot reply to all of those who wish to establish their
own reputations by attacking these leaders. If they published replies to even a small
percentage of the critiques they receive over the transom, they would never be able to do
the research they wish to do.
Often the winner of a debate will depend upon whose article comes last in a
journal. But this is typically determined, solely, by the editor. There is thus a certain
element of capriciousness embedded in our calculations.
To conclude this introduction, we focus on an actual benefit to our procedure,
although, strictly speaking, it is not even tangentially related to “our thesis” that truth
emanates from the man with the last word in the argument.26 The advantage is that our
model looks at the history of economic thought through an entirely different lens than has
ever before been applied to it. The story of the economics profession has previously been
organized in many ways: by date, by topic, by author, by nation, by geographic area, by
school of thought (Heilbroner, 1991; Rothbard, 1995). But our literature search has
failed to discern even a single case of the employment of the present method under
discussion: as a series of debates, culminating with a score of one point for each side that
“wins” it, again according to our (entirely erroneous) criterion.
The history of economic thought is an important subject, contrary to the views of
those graduate economics departments that have busily dropping this subject from their
Ph.D. programs. These are the men who see this subject as of antiquarian interest only.
But, in our view, if you don’t know where you have been in the past, you are less likely
to know where you are going. This de emphasis on the history of our profession makes
sense only on the stipulation of the Whig theory of history: that everything is getting
better and better, continually, as we move through time; the leading lights of the past
have nothing to teach modern economists, since the latest econometric equations, in the
most recent journals, incorporate and amalgamate all that we have learned from the past.
Such is not our position. Very much to the contrary, we are of the opinion that economic
theory can sometimes and even often retrogress; that there is no guarantee of continual
progress. That being the case, it is all-important that the history of economic thought
once again take its rightful place in our profession. And we know of no better way to
help accomplish this task than to look at it in an entirely new way. If the present paper
accomplishes no more than that, it will have been worthwhile.
26 However, “our thesis” can draw some comfort from these words of Rothbard (1962, 548): “Mises, who
has had the last … word in this debate, has demonstrated irrefutably that …” (cited in Boettke and Coyne,
respectively, of a series of debates, ending with a point scored either for the Austrians or
the mainstreamers, depending upon who had the last published word. It is to this, the
heart of our paper, that we now turn. We conclude in section IV.
II. Non annotated debates
Unless otherwise noted, these debates are listed in the order of the last name of
the non-Austrian participant.27
1. Akerlof (economic psychology):
Anderson, Gary M. and Walter Block. 1995. "Procrastination and Obedience: A Reply to
Akerlof," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 54, No. 2, April, pp. 201-
215; abstracted in Sage Public Administration Abstracts, Vol. 22, No. 3, October, p. 411
Akerlof, George A. 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review,
Vol. 81, No. 2, May, pp. 1-19.
Winner: Anderson and Block, Austrians
2. Bagwell (monopoly exports):
Bagwell, Kyle. 1991. "Optimal Export Policy for a New-Product Monopoly," American
Economic Review, December, Vol. 81, No. 5, pp. 1156-69.
Block, Walter. 1999. “Optimal Export Policy for a New Product Monopoly: Comment on
Bagwell,” Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 29-32
Winner: Block, Austrian
3. Bagwell and Ramey (advertising):
Sections II and III consist of non annotated and annotated bibliographies,
27 Were we to include this debate in our calculations, this is how it would lay out: Selgin and White: Selgin,
George, and Lawrence H. White. 1996. "In Defense of Fiduciary Media - or, We Are Not Devo(unionists),
We Are Misesians." Review of Austrian Economics. 9 (2): 83-108; Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, with Guido
Hulsmann and Walter Block. 1998. "Against Fiduciary Media," Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics,
Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 19-50, http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae1_1_2.pdf;
http://www.qjae.org/journals/qjae/pdf/Q11_2.pdf; Hulsmann, Guido. 2003. “Has Fractional Reserve
Banking Really Passed the Market Test?” The Independent Review. Vol. VII, No. 3, Winter, pp. 399-422;
White, Lawrence H. 2003. “Accounting for Fractional-Reserve Banknotes and Deposits – or, What’s
Twenty Quid to the Bloody Midland Bank?” The Independent Review. Vol. VII, No. 3, Winter, pp. 423-
441; Barnett, William II and Walter Block. 2005. In Defense of Fiduciary Media - A Comment or What’s
Wrong with “Monopoly” (or Play) Money? Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; Vol. 8, No. 2,
Summer, pp. 55-69; Winner: Barnett and Block, Austrians. However, we consider this an intra Austrian
debated, and hence do not include it.
Bagwell, Kyle, and Ramey, Garey. 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and
Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, Vol. 84, No. 3, June,
Block, Walter. 2003. “Coordination Economies, Advertising and Search Behavior in
Retail Markets by Kyle Bagwell and Garey Ramey: A Comment,” International Journal
of Value-Based Management, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 67-73
Winner: Block, Austrian
4. Barone, Taylor, Dickinson, Lerner, and Lange (socialist planning):
Barone, Enrico. 1908. “Il Ministro della Produzione nello Stato Collettivista." Giornale
degli Economisti e Revista di Statistica, Vol. 37. Translated in English and Reprinted in
Friedrich A. Hayek (Ed.), Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies on the
Possibility of Socialism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1935.
Mises, Ludwig von. 1920. “Die Wirtschaftsrechnung im sozialistischen Gemeinwesen.”
Archiv für Sozialwissenschaften, Vol. 47, pp. 86-121. Translated into English and
Reprinted in Friedrich A. Hayek (Ed.), Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies
on the Possibility of Socialism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1935. pp. 87-130.
Mises, Ludwig von. 1922. Die Gemeinwirtschaft: Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus.
Jena: Gustav Fischer. Translated from the second revised edition (Die Gemeinwirtschaft:
Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus. Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1932. Appendix: Excerpt
from "Neue Beiträge zum Problem der sozialistischen Wirtschaftsrechnung") into
English as Socialism: an Economic and Sociological Analysis by J. Kahane. London:
Jonathan Cape, 1936.
Taylor, Fred M. 1929. “The Guidance of Production in a Socialist State.” American
Economic Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 1-8.
Dickinson. H.D. 1933. “Price Formation in a Socialist Community.” The Economic
Journal, Vol. 43, No. 170 (June), pp. 237-50.
Dobb, Maurice. 1933. “Economic Theory and the Problems of a Socialist Economy.” The
Economic Journal, Vol. 43, No. 172. (December), pp. 588-98.
Robbins, Lionel. 1934. The Great Depression. New York. Macmillan.
Lerner, Abba P. 1934. “Economic Theory and Socialist Economy.” The Review of
Economic Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1 (October), pp. 51-61.
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1935. “The Nature and History of the Debate.” In Friedrich A.
Hayek (Ed.), Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies on the Possibility of
Socialism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1935. pp. 1-40.
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1935. “Socialist Calculation Debate: The Present State of the
Debate” In Friedrich A. Hayek (Ed.), Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies on
the Possibility of Socialism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1935. pp. 201-43.
Lange, Oskar. 1936. “On the Economic Theory of Socialism: Part I.” The Review of
Economic Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (October), pp. 53-71.
Lange, Oskar. 1937. “On the Economic Theory of Socialism: Part II.” The Review of
Economic Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (February), pp. 123-42.
Robbins, Lionel. 1937. Economic Planning and International Order. New York.
Mises, Ludwig von. 1938. “The Equations of Mathematical Economics and the Problem
of Economic Calculation in a Socialist State.” Published in French and translated from
German by Gaston Leduc. Revue d’Economie Politique, Vol. 97, pp. 899-906. Reprinted
in English in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1 (spring), 2000,
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1940. "Socialist Calculation: The Competitive 'Solution'".
Economica, Vol. 7 (May): 125-49.
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1945. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The American Economic
Review, Vol. 35, No. 4. (Sep., 1945), pp. 519-30.
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1968. "Competition as a Discovery Procedure,” Kieler Vortrage,
Vol. 56. Reprinted in Friedrich A. Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics,
Economics, and the History of Ideas. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Winner: Hayek, Austrian28
5. Bardham and Roemer (market socialism):
Bardham, P. and J. Roemer. 1992. “Market Socialism: A Case for Rejuvenation.” Journal
of Economic Perspectives. Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 101-116
Cottrell, Allin and W. Paul Cockshot. 1993. “Calculation, Complexity and Planning.”
Review of Political Economy. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 73-112
28 The awarding of this debate to the Austrians is perhaps the most controversial of such decisions in this
paper. That is because we somewhat arbitrarily end the give and take with Hayek (1968). But there are
dozens of modern socialist writings on this topic, and not a few Austrian replies as well, with more
appearing in print, seemingly, every month. Thus it is a bit capricious on our part to determine the winner
in this manner. But this emanates from the fundamental flaw in our basic premise: that the winner of a
debate is the author who last publishes.
Adaman, F., and Pat Devine. 1996. “The Economic Calculation Debate: Lessons for
Socialists.” Cambridge Journal of Economics. Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 523-537
Horwitz, Steve. 1996. “Money, Money Prices and Socialist Calculation Debate.”
Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, pp. 59-77
Caldwell, Bruce. 1997. “Hayek and Socialism.” Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. 35,
No. 4, pp. 1856-1890.
Winner: Horwitz and Caldwell, Austrians
6. Barrotta (methodology):
Barrotta, Pierluigi. 1996. “A Neo-Kantian Critique of Von Mises’s Epistemology,”
Economics & Philosophy, 12, April: 51-66.
Winner: Barrotta, non-Austrian
7. Becker (1, demand analysis):
Becker, Gary S. 1962. “Irrational Behavior and Economic Theory.” Journal of Political
Economy, 70(1) (February), pp. 1-13
Kirzner, Israel M. 1962. “Rational Action and Economic Theory. Journal of Political
Economy, 70(4) (August), pp. 380-85.
Becker, Gary S. 1963. “Rational Action and Economy Theory: Reply to I. Kirzner.”
Journal of Political Economy, 71(1) (February), pp. 82-83.
Kirzner, Israel M. 1963. “Rational Action and Economic Theory: Rejoinder.” Journal of
Political Economy, 71(1) (February), pp. 84-85.
Winner: Kirzner, Austrian
8. Becker (2, property rights):
North, Gary. 2002. “Undermining Property Rights: Coase and Becker,” The Journal of
Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 75-100;
Winner: North, Austrian
9. Bernhardt and Scoones (wages):
Bernhardt, Dan and Scoones, David. 1993. "Promotion, Turnover and Preemptive Wage
Offers" American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 4, September, pp. 771-791.
Block, Walter and Robert Lawson. Forthcoming, 2007. "Promotion, Turnover and
Preemptive Wage Offers: Comment on Bernhardt and Scoones. Humanomics. Vol. 23,
Winner: Block and Lawson, Austrians
10. Blaug (methodology):
Blaug, Mark. 1992. The Methodology of Economics. New York: Cambridge University
Winner, Blaug, non-Austrian
11. Bork, Brozen and Posner (Anti trust):
Posner, Richard. 1976. Antitrust Law: an Economic Perspective, Chicago: University of
Bork, Robert H. 1978. The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself, New York,
Brozen, Yale. 1982. Concentration, Mergers, and Public Policy. New York: Macmillan
Smith, Jr., Fred L. 1983. "Why not Abolish Antitrust?," Regulation, Jan-Feb, 23
High, Jack. 1984-1985. "Bork's Paradox: Static vs Dynamic Efficiency in Antitrust
Analysis," Contemporary Policy Issues, Vol. 3, pp. 21-34.
Shugart II, William F. 1987. "Don't Revise the Clayton Act, Scrap It!," 6 Cato Journal,
DiLorenzo, Tom and Jack High. 1988. "Antitrust and Competition, Historically
Considered," Economic Inquiry, July.
McChesney, Fred. 1991. "Antitrust and Regulation: Chicago's Contradictory Views,"
Cato Journal, Vol. 10.
Boudreaux, Donald J., and DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 1992. "The Protectionist Roots of
Antitrust," Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 81-96
Block, Walter. 1994. "Total Repeal of Anti-trust Legislation: A Critique of Bork, Brozen
and Posner, Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 31-64.