Karl Mittermaier’s Pursuit of Classical Liberal Coherence
20 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2019 Last revised: 2 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 21, 2019
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: Suggested Citation