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Title: Political economy and the challenge of complexity:responding to the Austrian economists' case for markets
Author: Greenwood, Daniel Martin
ISNI:       0000 0001 2415 8978
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2007
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In the face of ongoing socio-economic problems such as inequality and the degradation of ecosystems, the question of the proper scope of markets remains a pressing one. Here, a theoretical framework for addressing this question is established, that is based upon a close analysis and synthesis of the contributions of the Austrian economists, Mises and Hayek. The radically pro-market conclusions of the Austrians have been strongly criticised by many writers who show them to overlook the normative significance of the problems of the market. Such critics propose that markets be limited in their scope, or possibly even replaced entirely, by non-market, political decision-making. Yet these writers tend to overlook the force of the challenge that the Austrian thesis poses to their proposals. Aside from their commitment to the normative primacy of a strictly procedural, market-orientated conceptionofliberty, the Austrian thesis shares with non-market advocates some important philosophical premises concerning the incommensurability of values and the spatio-temporal dispersion of knowledge. In the face of such complexity, the Austrians argue that the market process, by facilitating the encapsulation and discovery of knowledge, is an indispensible means of achieving coordination between individuals across society seeking to attain a plurality of different ends. The Austrian thesis offers profound insights into the epistemological challenge facing non-market, political institutions seeking to shape socio-economic outcomes. Yet the Austrian critique is directed towards a simplistic, neoclassical-inspired model of non-market decision-making. The Austrians overlook the potential for non-market processes and institutions to be designed to perform the same kind of epistemological functions as they argue can only be fulfilled by markets. Here, Austrian theory is shown to offer valuable insights for assessing the potential offered by a number of different, often recently developed, approaches in the fields of computation, planning, political theory and institutional practice. An 'immanent critique' ofthe Austrian case for markets is thus offered that draws from Austrian-inspired, theoretical insights in order to establish a framework for assessing the potential for non-market institutions to address the challenge of complexity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available