Unmixing the Metaphors of Austrian Capital Theory
Forthcoming, Review of Austrian Economics
18 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2020 Last revised: 26 May 2020
Date Written: April 19, 2020
A complement of metaphors inherited from the classical era has held back progress in Austrian capital theory (ACT). In particular, the attachment to circulating capital as the paradigmatic capital good, largely motivated by the business cycle theory, has locked ACT into a nonoperational point-output model of production. This paper draws out a distinct flow-output approach from work by Lachmann, Lewin, and Cachanosky, contrasts its associated metaphors and paradigms with those of the canonical Hayek-Garrison model, and argues that the former has the potential to bolster both the analytical coherence and the empirical relevance of ACT that it has so far found elusive. By focusing on the investment project rather than the capital good as the object of planmaking, the flow-output approach affirms the core appeal of ACT – a heterogeneous capital structure and a market process approach – by declaring independence from the business cycle theory.
Keywords: Capital, Duration
JEL Classification: E14, E22, E32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation