Essays after the Collapse of Communism
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 15: Thoughts on Austrian Economics, ‘Austro-Punkism’, and Libertarianism
15. Thoughts on Austrian economics, ‘Austro-punkism’ and libertarianism The preceding chapters were written with a peculiar, overarching normative vision of mine. I would be untruthful were I to claim that I wrote them in a manner totally divorced from my normative concerns. My criticisms, for the most part, are immanent – attempting to get within the framework of Marxism or that of my Austrian colleagues, to determine whether their own arguments logically support their grand claims, whether or not those claims favor self-managed socialism, which I have no special fondness for, or anarcho-capitalism, which lies closer to my own sentiments. As I mentioned in several places throughout the book, against a handful of my left-wing interpreters and critics, my vision is, of course, neither a Marxist nor generally a socialist vision. I have no interest in rehabilitating Marx, nor in envisioning some new system of decentralized socialism. Perhaps misinterpretation is a potential peril with immanent critique: if one takes an opposing argument seriously, others might wrongly interpret that as an eﬀort to improve those arguments – in this case, the Marxist and post-Marxist claims regarding the viability and desirability of socialist selfmanagement. Actually, I’m more fascinated by the responses I’ve received directly, and also indirectly through the hallowed ‘verbal tradition’, from my Austrian colleagues. For here is the other side of the perils associated with immanent critique: if one strongly criticizes arguments within one’s own school of thought, one’s allies might wrongly interpret that as an eﬀort to destroy those...
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