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From Karl Menger to Charles Menger? How Austrian economics (hardly) spread in France

Abstract : The father of the “Austrian” Marginalist revolution and founder of the so-called “Austrian School of economics”, Carl Menger, had a mixed reception during different periods of development of French economics. Somewhat welcomed in the early days, he was rather forgotten later on. Even his major works were not published in translation until recently. What is the reason for such a situation? Criticisms of classical political economy have to be understood in their French context. In comparison to other countries, this paper details the case of France, besides showing how later Austrians, such as Friedrich Hayek, found a limited audience. This comparative study of economic ideas in France must start with the reception of the views of the founder and the role and impact of adopting/adapting or rejecting his views by French scholars. What place did they find in French academia? From Carl Menger to a “Frenchified” Charles Menger, how was Austrian economic thought disseminated in France? This essay starts by recalling the Belle-Époque and an astonishing letter by Charles Rist for the Jubiläum of Menger, in which he deplored the lack of translation of the latter’s works. The Austrian School in France is then discussed as pure economics replaces political economy in the Interwar period, with the 1938 Paris Congress of “liberal thinkers,” as the Vienna Circle became known, also comparing issues in philosophy. The paper considers how Austrian theories of “pure science” were received in Paris from the Vienna of the 1900s, at a time of ”Crossroads,” to the present day, through the Postwar and Cold War, until a revival since the 1990s and a rethinking of economic ideas after 2008.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 4:35:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 3:16:40 AM

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Gilles Campagnolo. From Karl Menger to Charles Menger? How Austrian economics (hardly) spread in France. Russian Journal of Economics, 2018, 4 (1), pp.8-30. ⟨10.3897/j.ruje.4.26001⟩. ⟨hal-01992942⟩

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