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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5711/schmoller-revisited/

Schmoller Revisited

October 4, 2006 by

[Cross posted at Organizations and Markets]

The Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung, und Volkswirtschaft, edited by Gusav Schmoller — commonly known as Schmollers Jahrbuch — was one of the most important and influential economics journals of the nineteenth century. Schmoller was the leader of the younger German Historical School and the main opponent of Carl Menger in the Methodenstreit, or battle over methods, that raged between the German historicists and the fledgling Austrian School. (It was Schmoller and his followers who coined the phrase “Austrian School,” the word Austrian being synonymous, among German-speaking intellectuals, for “inferior” or “second-rate.”) Schmoller and his school are little known to contemporary social scientists, suffering the same fate that befell their American disciples, the Institutionalists Thorstein Veblen, John R. Commons, and Wesley Clair Mitchell. (As Coase once remarked: “Without a theory they had nothing to pass on except a mass of descriptive material waiting for a theory, or a fire.”)

To my surprise I received an email today announcing a new issue of Schmollers Jahrbuch. I had no idea the journal was still being published. The announcement was for a special issue, “Schmoller’s Legacy for the 21st Century.” Papers include “Schmoller’s Impact on the Anglophone Literature in Economics” by Geoffrey Hodgson, “Schmoller and Modern Sociology” by Yuichi Shionoya, “Gustav Schmoller, His Heirs and the Foundation of Today´s Social Policy” by Gerold Blümle and Nils Goldschmidt, and “Gustav Schmoller and Globalisation” by Heinz Rieter and Joachim Zweynert.

Incidentally, Murray Rothbard used to tell the story that during an intense (but friendly) disagreement between himself and Mises at Mises’s New York seminar Mises teasingly called him a “Schmollerite” — the ultimate insult to an Austrian economist!

{ 3 comments }

Dennis Sperduto October 4, 2006 at 5:51 pm

“Incidentally, Murray Rothbard used to tell the story that during an intense (but friendly) disagreement between himself and Mises at Mises’s New York seminar Mises teasingly called him a “Schmollerite” — the ultimate insult to an Austrian economist!”

Professor Klein, can you elaborate as to what the disagreemnt between Mises and Rothbard entailed? Was it regarding a question of economic theory or methodology, or did it involve political science, ethics, or law?

Thanks.

Peter G. Klein October 4, 2006 at 11:12 pm

I’m sorry, I forget the subject of the disagreement (though I believe Rothbard did mention it). It might have been monopoly theory, or perhaps Rothbard’s objective view of ethics. Perhaps someone else knows the details.

Conza88 February 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

“MNR: I don’t know because he never said. Mises and I had only two friendly arguments. One was on monopoly theory where he wound up calling me a Schmollerite. Although nobody else in the seminar realized it, that was the ultimate insult for an Austrian. The other argument was on his utilitarian refutation of government intervention. I argued that government officials can maximize their own well-being through economic interventionism, if not those of the public. He in turn argued that those kind of politicians wouldn’t survive popular vote, thus changing the terms of debate.”

No worries… :)

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