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John E. King

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John E. King

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John E. King

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John E. King

This chapter draws on Nicholas Kaldor’s pre-1960 writings on money, which have received less scholarly attention than his later work. They reveal that Kaldor was always an opponent of monetarism, even if he was not always a consistent critic of exogenous money. They also show that monetary endogeneity was never the central question for him, since his critique of the quantity theory was always much broader than this. Long before Margaret Thatcher made her celebrated declaration, Kaldor was vigorously denying that ‘there is no alternative’ to deflationary monetary policy as a remedy for inflation and affirming instead the case for incomes policy and commodity price stabilization.

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John E. King

For most economists, ‘Austrian economics’ refers to a distinct school of thought, originating with Mises and Hayek and characterised by a strong commitment to free-market liberalism. This innovative book explores an alternative Austrian tradition in economics. Demonstrating how the debate on the economics of socialism began in Austria long before the 1930s, it analyses the work and impact of many leading Austrian economists through a century of Austrian socialist economics.
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John E. King

Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to the book, explaining the nature of the alternative Austrian economics and justifying the choice of the theorists whose work is discussed in the remaining chapters, each of which is briefly summarised.

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John E. King

Chapter 2 describes the economic, political, cultural and intellectual background to the alternative Austrian economics, drawing on some of the huge literature on ‘Red Vienna’ before and after 1914. I set out the main principles of Austro-Marxism, emphasising both its similarities with and the significant differences from other versions of the Marxism of the Second International. I conclude the chapter by introducing the socialist participants in Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s famous graduate economics seminar, whose ideas are discussed in detail in the other chapters.

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John E. King

Chapter 3 deals with the early work of the young Rudolf Hilferding, ending in 1906 when Hilferding moved to Germany and effectively ceased to be an Austro-Marxist. He had already made a substantial contribution to the theory of value, to the analysis of economic crises and to documenting the rise of financial capital. The bulk of the chapter consists of a detailed account of his book, Finance Capital, which had been substantially completed before he left Austria and is perhaps the most important single work to be written on Marxian political economy since the death of Marx.

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John E. King

Chapter 4 is devoted to Otto Bauer’s work in economics until 1914, beginning with his first attempt to construct a model of economic crises and concluding with an assessment of his second crisis model, which was developed in the course of his critique of Rosa Luxemburg’s Accumulation of Capital. In between there are sections on his general approach to Marx’s political economy, set out in articles on Capital and Theories of Surplus Value; the small but significant economic component of his first and perhaps most influential book, The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy; his criticisms of the crisis theories of Georg von Charasoff, Hilferding and Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky; and his analysis of the policy issues raised by the Austrian experience of inflation and unemployment in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War.

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John E. King

In chapter 5, on the economics of socialism, several distinctive Austrian visions of a post-capitalist future are compared. I contrast the alternative approaches to the economics of socialism taken in the first three decades of the twentieth century by Otto Neurath, who advocated a moneyless planned economy; Otto Bauer, who was strongly influenced by the ideas of the Guild Socialists in Britain; Karl Polanyi, who spent the 1920s in Vienna and was an early proponent of market socialism; and Otto Leichter, who argued that the labour theory of value could be used by future socialist planners. The chapter ends with two very different proposals, by Rudolf Goldscheid, who advocated a ‘state capitalist’ system, and by Walter Schiff, who mounted a vigorous (though not uncritical) defence of the central planning system that had recently been introduced in Stalin’s Russia.