CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM, PART II: AYN RAND AMONG THE AUSTRIANS

This symposium is the second of two commemorating the centenary of Ayn Rand's birth.



Volume 6, No. 2 - Spring 2005 Issue #12

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: AYN RAND AMONG THE AUSTRIANS, pp. 241-50

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA AND LARRY J. SECHREST

This article surveys Rand's relationship to key thinkers in the Austrian school of economics, including Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, and F. A. Hayek. Austrian theory informs the writings of Rand and her early associates (e.g., Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, and George Reisman) on topics ranging from monopoly to business cycles. Some post-Randian thinkers (e.g., Richard Salsman), however, have repudiated many of these insights, thus constituting a movement away from the historically close relationship between Objectivism and Austrianism. This symposium explores the distinction between these approaches and the possibilities for a shared vision.

AYN RAND AND LUDWIG VON MISES, pp. 251-58

GEORGE REISMAN

Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises share the distinction of being the leading advocates of laissez-faire capitalism in the twentieth century, and, indeed, in any century. Their ideas are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The differences that exist between them are essentially minor and superficial. The serious and comprehensive study of both authors is essential to the educated advocacy of capitalism.

AYN RAND AND AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS: TWO PEAS IN A POD, pp. 259-69

WALTER BLOCK

Ayn Rand highly recommended the economic writings of the Austrian school, particularly those of Ludwig von Mises. At least insofar as regards antitrust, money, and government, for the most part, paradoxically, the subjectivist Austrians, and the objectivist Randians, are as two peas in a pod. On the first two of these three, moreover, Rand and Murray Rothbard are on similar sides of the argument, at least vis-a-vis Mises and F. A. Hayek. With regard to the third, there is disagreement amongst the Austrians, and this is matched by ambivalence on the part of Rand herself.

ALAN GREENSPAN: RAND, REPUBLICANS, AND AUSTRIAN CRITICS, pp. 271-97

LARRY J. SECHREST

This paper has two principal components. First, it provides a sketch of Alan Greenspan's life, with emphasis on his attraction to Objectivism in the 1960s and his "public service" since 1974. This sketch is based primarily on three recent biographies of Greenspan---books by Bob Woodward, Jerome Tuccille, and Justin Martin---which are themselves reviewed. Second, it explains why Austrian business cycle theory is crucial to a proper assessment of Greenspan's performance as head of the Federal Reserve. The paper concludes that that performance has been significantly overrated by almost everyone except Austrian economists.

PRAXEOLOGY: WHO NEEDS IT, pp. 299-316

RODERICK T. LONG

Despite her admiration for the economic theories of Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand rejects Mises's central concept of "praxeology," the science of human action. Yet the features of Misesian praxeology that Rand finds most objectionable---its aprioristic methodology, its value-subjectivism, and its claims about motivational psychology---can be reinterpreted in ways that make them congenial to Rand's philosophical principles while still preserving the essential points that Mises wishes to make.

SUBJECTIVISM, INTRINISICISM, APRIORISM: RAND AMONG THE AUSTRIANS? pp. 317-35

RICHARD C. B. JOHNSSON

With its features of subjectivism, intrinsicism and apriorism, how could one possibly integrate Austrian economics with Ayn Rand's Objectivism? This paper does not argue that it is possible; rather, it sets out similarities on some central tenets, and suggests means to resolve the apparent obstacles. Possible directions for future thought are outlined with an emphasis on the works of Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, and others.

MENGER, MISES, RAND, AND BEYOND, pp. 337-74

EDWARD W. YOUNKINS

By combining and synthesizing elements found in Austrian economics, Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, and the closely related philosophy of human flourishing that originated with Aristotle, we have the potential to reframe the argument for a free society into a consistent reality-based whole whose integrated sum of knowledge and explanatory power is greater than that of its parts. The Austrian value-free praxeological defense of capitalism and the moral arguments of Rand, Aristotle, and the neo-Aristotelians can be brought together, resulting in a powerful, emergent libertarian synthesis of great promise.

TWO WORLDS AT ONCE: RAND, HAYEK, AND THE ETHICS OF THE MICRO- AND MACRO-COSMOS, pp. 375-403

STEVEN HORWITZ

Although both Rand and Hayek supported capitalism, their ethical systems were distinctly different. This paper explores these differences and how they apply to the institution of the family. It concludes that Rand's ethical system matches very well with what Hayek sees as necessary in the "Great Society" of the macro-cosmos, but that our understanding of the institution of the family seems better suited to a more altruistic ethical code. The challenge for a Hayekian ethics that pays attention to institutional contexts is how to ensure that the complex process of making those distinctions is learned as children pass into adulthood.

OUR UNETHICAL CONSTITUTION, pp. 405-44

CANDICE E. JACKSON

In this article, the political ethics of Ayn Rand and Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard are compared. Rand and Rothbard championed nearly identical fundamental principles of political ethics---chiefly, the right of every person to control his own life. Both Rand and Rothbard argued that the American system of government was originally intended to be grounded in this individual rights ethic. However, examination of historical and contextual factors demonstrates that the U.S. Constitution fails to embody the political ethics espoused by Rand and Rothbard.

TEACHING ECONOMICS THROUGH AYN RAND: HOW THE ECONOMY IS LIKE A NOVEL AND HOW THE NOVEL CAN TEACH US ABOUT ECONOMICS, pp. 445-65

PETER J. BOETTKE

The effective teaching of the principles of economics requires both a clear presentation of the logic of economic argumentation and the evidence of economic forces at work in the real economy. One of the most effective ways to communicate these principles is through the telling of a memorable story. The skillful telling of economic history is one way to accomplish this, but so is the use of literature. Ayn Rand's novels (especially Atlas Shrugged) are a prime example of how an economically literate author can construct meaningful and memorable stories that illuminate the principles of economics and political economy.

DISCUSSION

REPLY TO WILLIAM THOMAS: AN ECONOMIST RESPONDS, pp. 467-71

LELAND B. YEAGER

Yeager thanks William Thomas for a generally favorable review of his Ethics as Social Science, but he does reply to a not-quite-explicit charge of vague, wishy-washy, middle-of-the-roadism.

REJOINDER TO LELAND B. YEAGER: CLARITY AND THE STANDARD OF ETHICS, pp. 473-76

WILLIAM THOMAS

Thomas clarifies his basic criticism of Yeager's book, Ethics as Social Science, emphasizing his concern about lack of clarity of argument rather than style. Thomas discusses the role of ethical standards in contextual moral reasoning and defends Rand's rejection of ethical altruism against criticisms that it represents a "corner solution" or an unrealistic slippery-slope argument.

CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES

CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM, PART II: AYN RAND AMONG THE AUSTRIANS

Volume 6, No. 2 - Spring 2005 Issue #12

WALTER BLOCK

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, is also Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute and at the Hoover Institution. He has previously taught at the University of Central Arkansas, Holy Cross College, Baruch (C.U.N.Y.) and Rutgers Universities, and has worked in various research capacities for the Fraser Institute, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Tax Foundation, The Financial Post, and Business Week magazine. Having earned his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University, he has published numerous popular and scholarly articles on economics. An economic commentator on national television and radio, he lectures widely on public policy issues to university students, service, professional and religious organizations. He is the editor of a dozen books and is the author of seven more (the most famous of which is Defending the Undefendable). He has served as editor for The Journal of Labor Economics, Cultural Dynamics, The Review of Austrian Economics, The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, The Journal of Accounting, Ethics and Public Policy, and The Journal of Libertarian Studies. He has contributed over 160 articles and reviews to these and other refereed journals. He was converted to libertarianism by Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand, whom he first met when the latter lectured at Brooklyn College, where he was an undergraduate.

PETER J. BOETTKE

Director of Graduate Studies (Ph.D. Program) and Deputy Director of the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy at George Mason University, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, MSN 3G4, Fairfax, VA 22030, is the editor of The Review of Austrian Economics.

STEVEN HORWITZ

Associate Dean of the First Year and Professor of Economics, St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York 13617, is the author of two books, Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective (Routledge, 2000) and Monetary Evolution, Free Banking, and Economic Order (Westview, 1992). He has written extensively on Austrian economics, Hayekian political economy, monetary theory and history, and macroeconomics. His work has been published in professional journals such as History of Political Economy, Southern Economic Journal, and The Review of Austrian Economics. Horwitz currently serves as the book review editor of The Review of Austrian Economics and is past president of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics.

CANDICE E. JACKSON, ESQ.

Jackson & Shoemaker, Inc., A Professional Law Corporation, 1411 Fifth Street, Suite 400, Santa Monica, California 90401, is an attorney in southern California. After serving as Litigation Counsel in the California office of Judicial Watch, Inc., she began her own law practice, Jackson & Shoemaker. She also co-authors articles with economist William L. Anderson critiquing the federal criminal justice system. Their articles have appeared in The Independent Review, Reason magazine, and The Freeman. Her forthcoming book from World Ahead Publishing, Inc. explores the connection between former President Clinton's leftist ideology and his rampant mistreatment of women (expected Spring 2005).

RICHARD C. B. JOHNSSON, Ph.D.

in economics 2003 from University of Uppsala, Sweden, address: Katarina Jagellonikas väg 14, SE-193 31 Sigtuna, Sweden, has been published in top mainstream economics journals, while secretly pursuing his interest in political and economic freedom. He has been working as a researcher at The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden during 2003-2004 and is currently contemplating the historical evidence of extraterritorial constitutions, personal law, and panarchy as a freelance reader.

RODERICK T. LONG

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, 6080 Haley Center, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, A.B. Harvard 1985, Ph.D. Cornell 1992, is the author of Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand (The Objectivist Center, 2000) and Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action: Praxeological Investigations (Routledge, 2006). He edits The Journal of Libertarian Studies ; runs a fledgling think tank, the Molinari Institute ; blogs at Austro-Athenian Empire ; and is currently engaged in translating some of the works of Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), the originator of free-market anarchism.

GEORGE REISMAN

Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, 6100 Center Drive, Los Angeles, California 90045, is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Jameson Books) and The Government Against the Economy (Jameson Books). He received his doctorate under Ludwig von Mises and is the translator of Mises's Epistemological Problems of Economics (Van Nostrand/Mises Institute).

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA

NOTABLOG

received his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy,” which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995; expanded second edition, 2013), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is also coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), and a founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (1999–present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, the Village Voice, and the Economist, and has published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as Critical Review, Reason Papers, Liberty, Reason, the New York Daily News, Film Score Monthly, Jazz Times, Just Jazz Guitar, and Billboard.

LARRY J. SECHREST

Professor of Economics and Director of the Free Enterprise Institute, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas 79832,is the author of Free Banking: Theory, History, and a Laissez-Faire Model (Quorum Books). His research interests include free banking, business cycles, history of economic thought, economic history, maritime history, law and economics, and the philosophical foundations of economics.

WILLIAM THOMAS

Director of Programs, The Objectivist Center, 11 Raymond Avenue, Suite 31, Poughkeepsie, New York, 12603, earned an M.A. in economics from the University of Michigan (1991), where he taught the economic history of the United States and China. He is the editor of the Objectivist Studies series of philosophical monographs, and is the editor of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand (2005). His essays on topics in literature, politics, ethics, and epistemology have appeared in publications such as Ideas on Liberty, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, and Navigator, where he is a contributing editor. His essay "Ayn Rand: Radical for Capitalism" was recently published in Frost and Sikkenga, eds., History of American Political Thought (2003).

LELAND B. YEAGER

Department of Economics, College of Business, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849-5242, is Paul Goodloe McIntire Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Virginia and Ludwig von Mises Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Auburn University. His most recent book is Ethics as Social Science: The Moral Philosophy of Social Cooperation (Edward Elgar, 2001).

EDWARD W. YOUNKINS

Professor, Department of Business, Wheeling Jesuit University, 316 Washington Avenue, Wheeling, West Virginia, 26003, is the author of numerous articles in accounting and business journals. In addition, his many free-market-oriented articles and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications. He is the author of Capitalism and Commerce: Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise (Lexington Books, 2002). He also edited a collection of Michael Novak's articles and essays entitled Three in One: Essays on Democratic Capitalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001). His newest book, Philosophers of Capitalism: Menger, Mises, Rand, and Beyond will be published by Lexington Books in 2005.