The Viennese Students of Civilization: The Meaning and Context of Austrian Economics Reconsidered

The Viennese Students of Civilization: The Meaning and Context of Austrian Economics Reconsidered

by Erwin Dekker


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This book argues that the work of the Austrian economists, including Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, has been too narrowly interpreted. Through a study of Viennese politics and culture, it demonstrates that the project they were engaged in was much broader: the study and defense of a liberal civilization. Erwin Dekker shows the importance of the civilization in their work and how they conceptualized their own responsibilities toward that civilization, which was attacked left and right during the interwar period. Dekker argues that what differentiates their position is that they thought of themselves primarily as students of that civilization rather than as social scientists, or engineers. This unique focus and approach is related to the Viennese setting of the circles, which constitute the heart of Viennese intellectual life in the interwar period.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107565661
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/16/2019
Series: Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics
Pages: 234
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)

About the Author

Erwin Dekker is Assistant Professor in Cultural Economics at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. He has published in the fields of cultural economics, economic methodology and intellectual history, and he is currently working on valuation and the qualitative measurement of quality.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Cultivating economic knowledge; 3. Trapped between ignorance, customs and social forces; 4. The market - civilizing or disciplinary force?; 5. Instincts, civilization and communities; 6. Therapeutic nihilism or the humility of the student; 7. The student as defender of civilization; 8. The student of civilization and his culture; 9. Meaning lost, meaning found; 10. What it means to be a student of civilization.

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