Karl Mittermaier’s Pursuit of Classical Liberal Coherence

20 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2019 Last revised: 2 Sep 2019

See all articles by Daniel B. Klein

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 21, 2019

Abstract

Karl Mittermaier (1938-2016) was a classical liberal economist at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He completed a work in 1986 titled The Hand Behind the Invisible Hand: Dogmatic and Pragmatic Views on Free Markets and the State of Economic Theory, being published in 2020 for the first time. Here I treat Mittermaier’s rich meditation, which I interpret as a pursuit of greater coherence in classical liberal thought. Mittermaier emphasizes the moral, cultural, and institutional preconditions of a liberal market order, and he says that some of the preconditions depend on people feeling that they have reason to embrace such classical liberal principles. The preconditions, then, depend in part of the perception of coherence and appeal of the liberal order. The present essay is written for the new volume presenting The Hand Behind the Invisible Hand.

Keywords: Adam Smith, invisible hand, commutative justice, equilibrium, jural

JEL Classification: A13, B1, B4, B53

Suggested Citation

Klein, Daniel B., Karl Mittermaier’s Pursuit of Classical Liberal Coherence (August 21, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 19-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3440643 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3440643

Daniel B. Klein (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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