Contemporary Austrian Economics and the New Economic Sociology

October, 2015

Contemporary Austrian economics and the new economic sociology have much in common. First, they share intellectual influences, especially Max Weber. Second, they offer similar critiques of neoclassical economics, and both stress the importance of Verstehen. Third, they have complementary conceptions of rational action and of the role of social institutions in shaping rational action. Specifically, these schools agree on a number of key theoretical propositions and empirical approaches, including but not limited to the notions that economic institutions are socially constructed and that actors are neither social automatons nor asocial creatures (actors are embedded). Although there has been some effort to bring the two traditions together because of these similarities between them, more can be done to bring these schools into conversation with each other. This chapter seeks to tease out the connections between the two schools and discuss possible gains from trade between them.

Christopher Coyne
Peter J. Boettke

The Moral Meanings of Markets

December, 2012

Market supporters have consistently emphasized that markets make it so that self-interested or even greedy individuals can only help themselves by serving their fellow men and women. This channeling of self-interest away from predation and toward profit seeking explains why market economies tend to be materially prosperous. Yet if markets only succeed in providing a wealth of goods and services at the cost of turning people into myopic hedonists, then it might very well be reasonable to despise them. The moral meanings of markets, however, are not suspect. This article offers a critique of the traditional defenses of the morality of markets and explains how markets depend on and promote virtue.