Austrian Cycle Theory: Saving the Wheat while Discarding the Chaff

Austrian Cycle Theory: Saving the Wheat while Discarding the Chaff 66 WAGNER more negative than even Yeager’s (1986, p. 378) description of the Austrian theory as “an embarrassing excrescence.” Contrary to such authors as these, I have a much more positive appraisal of the poten- tial value of Austrian cycle theory. The realization of this value, however, requires not continued reiteration with ever louder volume of the canonical formulations of the 1930s, but substantial revision and renovation. While there is validity in the formulations of long ago, there is also obsolescence. Austrian cycle theory was formulated within an early ver- sion of the choice-theoretic framework of general equilibrium that dominates contemporary macro theory. While such an analytical framework was the only one available at the time Austrian cycle theory was formulated, continued developments in that framework have rendered Austrian cycle theory incoherent, as the critics noted above recognize. There is, however, an alternative schema for economic theory that points in the direction of a coordinationist macroeconomics, where macro theory becomes spontaneous order theory writ large. Austrian cycle theory is properly located within the framework of a coordinationist theory even though it was initially articulated within the framework of a general equilibrium theory. To draw an antinomy between these two The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

Austrian Cycle Theory: Saving the Wheat while Discarding the Chaff

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
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