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John E. King

Chapter 8 is devoted to Josef Steindl, who began his career as an economist in Vienna in the mid 1930s. Exiled to Britain after the Anschluss in 1938, he returned to Austria after the war and soon gained an international following for his 1952 book Maturity and Stagnation in American Capitalism, which combined elements of Marx, Keynes and Kalecki. The book attracted renewed critical attention in the depressed 1970s, and more recently has been cited approvingly by some radical macroeconomists in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–08. Steindl also made important contributions to the emerging Post Keynesian literature, including some penetrating criticisms of neoliberal ideas, which are discussed at the end of the chapter.

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John E. King

Chapter 9 is devoted to the work of Kurt Rothschild, who spent the war years in exile in Scotland, where he graduated in economics at Glasgow University and then began his academic career there. Returning to Austria after the war, Rothschild soon established an international reputation as an eclectic theorist who combined elements of Marxian, institutionalist, Post Keynesian and neoclassical thinking in his extensive writing on economic theory, policy and methodology. Towards the end of his remarkable life – Rothschild’s last book appeared in 2009, when he was 94 – he had become an influential advocate of pluralism in economics.

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John E. King

Chapter 10 identifies some of the important social democratic economists in later twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Austria: Wilfried Altzinger, Gunther Chaloupek, Kazimerz Łaski, Egon Matzner and Brigitte Unger. I also discuss the work of two distinguished historians of heterodox economic thought, Christian Gehrke and Heinz Kurz, summarise the work of the Post Keynesian macroeconomist Engelbert Stockhammer and provide a brief appraisal of two of the more prominent younger Austrian writers in the social democratic tradition, Jakob Kapeller and Miriam Rehm. The chapter concludes by assessing the prospects for the alternative Austrian economics in the 2020s.

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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.

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John E. King

Chapter 6 deals with the work of the mature Otto Bauer between 1917 and his death in 1938. In the 1920s he published books and many articles on the contemporary problems of the Austrian economy that touched on important economic issues. Later in the decade he gave a course of lectures on Marxian political economy, the text of which constitutes a long and systematic textbook on Marxian economics. With the onset of the Great Depression and the Stalinist industrialisation of the Soviet Union, Bauer returned to the question of crisis theory and revised his views on the Soviet economy. I conclude this chapter by discussing his books on Capitalism and Socialism After the World War: Rationalisation and False Rationalisation, the still unpublished manuscript on The Economic Crisis, and his last major work, Between Two World Wars? The Crisis of the World Economy, Democracy and Socialism.