Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School, read thoroughly Aristotle. The influence of the Ancient philosopher upon his own theories of a subjective value and the role of subjectivism has been recognized by commentators, from Oscar Kraus to Barry Smith. Nevertheless, its philological proof has not yet been given. This is what we intend to do in this article by establishing the first accurate correspondence between the manuscript annotations left by Menger in his copy of the Nicomachean Ethics and his own copy of his Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (1871). For this purpose, we explored the major Menger Archives kept in Japan since 1922 and little examined ever by researchers. Menger upheld the theory of essence and also the scale of goods – “to survive – to live / to live for the good” – common to Ancient Greek thought, yet particularly well illustrated in Aristotle’s works. Menger used these schemes as a means to elaborate his own subjective theory of value that revolutionized late XIXth century economics. This article also outlines why this reading of Menger’s “work in progress” is relevant to a necessary comparison of the two editions of the Grundsätze (1871 and 1923, posthumous and edited by his son).
The contributions of Austrian marginalist Carl Menger (1840-1921) and his first disciple, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (1851-1914), to the analysis of business practice and entrepreneurship reached beyond a mere by-product of the building of the so-called “Austrian school of economics” as an alternative paradigm to the well-known “German Historical School.” Menger’s and Böhm-Bawerk’s multifaceted views on business and analysis of entrepreneurship rapidly emerged among their concerns in their writings and deeds within the Imperial Austro-Hungarian (k. und k.) government. Menger’s and Böhm-Bawerk’s works raise the issue of which traits entrepreneurs and capitalists share, how to differentiate them, and what budding new type of economic agent ought to be observed. As we place their seminal works in the context of the late period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we disentangle their views on the entrepreneur and show how they paved the way for ideas that Schumpeter would later popularize.
The modernization of Japan has been taking place since the last half of the nineteenth century: paradoxically enough, elements of Japan’s geography and culture may explain this evolution. Even though very few Japanese economists would call themselves “liberal,” Hayek’s writings had a large audience. The heir to the Austrian school of economic thought, who was pro-free trade and a supporter of individual liberties has been fully translated (twice in fact, see references of Complete Works, at the end of this essay) thus illustrating his influence in academia, public service, and politics (on economic policies). Hayek anchored his views in those of the early Marginalist Austrian founder Menger (1840-1921), whose archives are also to be found in Japan. The encounter of Austrian thought and the far-away land may create a stir. In order to understand the extraordinary impact that the thought of Friedrich Hayek had, philosophical and epistemological traits are examined in this paper, along with attempts to make sense of this striking occurrence.