catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Austrian Watch

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A heads up on some of the good things generated by the gang of four at The Austrian Economists blog. These guys are running hot, with good stuff posted just about every day. Take a break fellas and help us to enjoy a blog free Christmas. Actually, Chris Coyne and Peter Leeson appear to be on vacation but the other Peter and Frederic Sautet are very much on the job

Most recently Suatet (the French connection) has blown the whistle on his compatriot Jacques Marseille, a rather unusual kind of person, that is a Frog making sense on economic policy. He has a web site which may be of interest, especially if there is anything on it in English.

Marseille is one of those French intellectuals who have done tremendous work showing over and over again the errors of socialism (one may also think of sovietologists such as Alain Besançon and Françoise Thom, and economists such as Henri Lepage and Pascal Salin). France (and Western Europe) needs many more intellectuals like them.

Marseille reflects on the similitude of Argentina and France. Very rich and well-managed 100 years ago, their public finances are now deep in the red and their citizens are much poorer (especially Argentina’s). The interesting parallel however is that of the rise of the dominant ideas, which over a period of 100 years, have led to similar mental models (what I call the “value transfer” mental model as opposed to the “value creation” one). Surely, this process has taken place in most Western countries. However, Argentina and France may have shared a more intimate path than others. I believe (from talking to Argentineans but I may be wrong on this) that French intellectuals of the left, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, have had a particular influence in Argentina. Peron and other Argentinean politicians paid a great deal of attention to the French left, and more so than to any other intellectual movement in Western Europe.

Pete (the Pontif) Boettke has a piece on the role of religion and especially the Catholic Church in the political economy of nations over the centuries. Last weekend I was cleaning out cupboards and re-read an old review by the Pontif of Rothbard’s massive history of economic throught and so these arguments are not a complete surprise but many people are likely to raise their eyebrows over this piece.

More from Pete Boettke on the Mises thesis that liberty is a western invention. This case could be build up with arguments from the German, Gerard Radnitzky (he is marching out of step, like Marseille). This has again raised the issue of the role of religion in the rise of the west.

Rodney Stark has a new book coming out this month on a similar theme dealing with the specific role that Christianity played in the development of Western civilization — including capitalism and science. The book is The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success and will be published by Random House. I’ve ordered my copy for winter break reading.

And there is more! Like basketball and economics and the persistence of basic errors in understanding of economics on the part of journalists.


Written by Admin

December 19, 2005 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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