The rise and fall of the subsistence fund as a resource constraint in Austrian business cycle theory

The rise and fall of the subsistence fund as a resource constraint in Austrian business cycle theory The “subsistence fund” was once an integral part of Austrian business cycle theory to indicate the resource constraint on the ability to complete investments. Early agrarian and industrial economies were constrained by resource availability in a manner consistent with that alluded to by the subsistence fund. This link became more tenuous as the growth of the financial economy in the twentieth century removed the apparent importance of pre-saved goods to complete investments. At this point the subsistence fund came to be used only as a metaphor and was jettisoned from Austrian business cycle theory. The present paper points to the merits of the subsistence fund in explaining the turning point of the business cycle as compared to alternative explanations. It also works out the deficiencies in historical expositions of the Austrian theory based on the subsistence fund, and traces the evolution of the resource constraint at the core of Austrian economists´ treatment of the business cycle. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

The rise and fall of the subsistence fund as a resource constraint in Austrian business cycle theory

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11138-016-0347-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The “subsistence fund” was once an integral part of Austrian business cycle theory to indicate the resource constraint on the ability to complete investments. Early agrarian and industrial economies were constrained by resource availability in a manner consistent with that alluded to by the subsistence fund. This link became more tenuous as the growth of the financial economy in the twentieth century removed the apparent importance of pre-saved goods to complete investments. At this point the subsistence fund came to be used only as a metaphor and was jettisoned from Austrian business cycle theory. The present paper points to the merits of the subsistence fund in explaining the turning point of the business cycle as compared to alternative explanations. It also works out the deficiencies in historical expositions of the Austrian theory based on the subsistence fund, and traces the evolution of the resource constraint at the core of Austrian economists´ treatment of the business cycle.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 25, 2016

References

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