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Volume 6, No. 2 - Spring 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM, PART II:
AYN RAND AMONG THE
This symposium is the second of two commemorating the centenary of Ayn Rand's birth.
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
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
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
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
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.
REPLY TO WILLIAM THOMAS:
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:
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.
6, NO. 2:
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