In Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans, I noted that an attempt by Austrian professors at Loyola New Orleans to establish an Austrian economics master’s program had been rejected by the “Standing Council for Academic Planning.” The program was proposed by the heroic Bill Barnett and Dan D’Amico; Walter Block is also a professor there, making this one of the strongest Austrian econ departments in the world.
The Loyola-N.O. paper The Maroon today, in Where Do Austrian Economics Fit in a Jesuit Education, reports that “The College of Business is working on a second proposal for a master’s program in Austrian economics after the first proposal was denied last spring.” Unfortunately, some Catholic factions are coming out in opposition to Austrian economics, as can be seen in the excerpts below. (h/t Michael Barnett)
“The Austrian economics master’s program would in part support the mission of Loyola, but it would undercut the mission at the same time,” said Thomas Ryan, director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry.
According to the proposal, the master’s program would follow Loyola’s mission by adhering to the analysis and importance of individuals within economics. Ryan said that the master’s program gets that part of the mission correct but leaves out Loyola’s commitment to social justice.
Daniel D’Amico, assistant professor of economics, said that focusing on individual decision making is nothing unique to Austrian economics.
“All economists attempt to adhere to methodological individualism wherein the individual is the central focus of decision making,” he said.
The Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, agreed that the program does not align with Loyola’s mission and values.
According to Kammer, Catholic social teaching takes the position of a market framed by justice and not the free market the Austrian economists propose.
There are also specific conflicts, he said, between Catholic social teaching and the Austrian view of government, unions, taxations, human life and the place of Christianity in the public sector.
Kammer said he also found problems in the Austrian economics master’s program’s funding. He said he believes Loyola would make a mistake by letting the Koch Foundation, the charitable organization derived from Koch Industries, donate such a large sum of money for the master’s program. Koch Industries is one of the largest private companies in the United States and owns operations such as pipelines and chemical refineries.
It would be a mistake, Kammer said, because of the Koch brothers’ controversial political values, which often conflict with the values of Catholic social teaching.