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Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes?: A Tale of Two Schools of Free-Market Economics Paperback – July, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Is the bridge between the Austrian and Chicago schools coming together or moving apart?

In his new book, Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? economist and author Mark Skousen debates the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics, which differ in monetary policy, business cycle, government policy, and methodology. Both have played a successful role in advancing classic free-market economics and countering the critics of capitalism during crucial times and the battle of ideas. But, which of the two is correct in its theories?

Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? includes interviews with economists in both camps, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses. At the end of each chapter, Skousen declares who’s right and who’s wrong either with "Advantage, Vienna," or "Advantage, Chicago." The results are surprising, and Professor Skousen ends his provocative and timely work by attempting to foster common ground between these two warring schools.

From the Chicago school: "This tale is thorough, thoughtful, even-handed, and highly readable. All economists, of whatever school, will find it both instructive and entertaining." —Milton Friedman From the Austrian school: "In his upbeat tale of two schools, Skousen gives us a delightful blend of theory, history, and political science, and shows that there is much common ground and scope for development." —Roger W. Garrison

About the Author

Mark Skousen is a professional economist, financial advisor, university professor and author. He teaches economics at Columbia University, and is the editor of Forecasts & Strategies, an award-winning investment advisory service. He is the author of 20 books, including The Making of Modern Economics. He resides in New York and Florida.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895260298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895260291
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ken Schoolland on November 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Finally, there is a book to compare the agreements and disagreements of the Austrian and Chicago schools of economics. This will definitely be required reading for my university students in History of Economic Thought courses. I am especially thrilled to see such an evenhanded approach to so many issues, from causes of the Great Depression to types of monetary systems. Skousen is insightful, humorous, and always full of interesting tidbits that are available in no other source...because he knew so many of the players. His books are always user friendly and this is no exception. He also offers his views, but is ever respectful to all.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on May 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a heady book - you really have to be interested in economic history and policy to dissect the finer points between the Austrian and Chicago schools of free market economics. Mark Skousen, a free market economist with strong sympathies to both camps (perhaps Austrian in the end?) writes of the history and differences between the two.

The book sides with the Chicago school on it's focus on empirical data, where the Austrians prefer theoretical and logical arguements. The Chicago school suggests business cycles are purely a function of money, while the Austrian school gets solid marks for it's explanations of the temporal (capital overinvestment over time) natures of business cycles.

The book is balanced enough that one can learn and make the most out of both schools. It's rooted in both the history of the ideas, as well as how they've fared over time. It also covers how the ideas have changed over time. (Chicago was initially anti-concentration of industry, but changed over time, as the data suggested industry concentration rarely created true pricing power.) Take the book with a warning though - it's not an introductory textbook, and not aimed at the uninitiated. But for those interested in various approaches to free market economics (it's not a monolith) it's an outstanding resource.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Lockwood on March 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best economics books I have read. It provides a good overview of the ongoing debate on some of the most relevant and still unresolved issues confronting economists today. But, unlike many economists, Skousen avoids verbosity and jargon; he presents quite complex issues simply and clearly. I also greatly enjoyed one of his other books, 'The making of modern economics'. Together, these books have challenged my views on many issues, including the causes of the great depression, the role of government in the economy, and the merits of a gold standard. The contribution of the Chicago and Austrian schools was badly neglected by my university lecturers, and I found 'Vienna & Chicago' a thoroughly fascinating read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on September 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a lovely addition to the history of economic thought, and aptly describes the modern 'methodenstreit' between the Austrian and Chicagoan schools. Skousen fails only in one regard: his understanding of Misesian apriorism is horrific. Granted, Mises was not clear enough and reintroduced arcane terms into his exposition on method (i.e. rationalism vs empiricism; see on this the source 3, provided below) that have largely obfuscated his contributions, and indeed some of his writings were incorrect. However, even an undergraduate in Economics myself with a modest understanding of praxeology can see massive holes in the author's understanding. Austrians emphasize the value and necessity of theory in interpreting data which has no voice of its own. Contra Skousen, they do not disregard history or empirical evidence. That is nonsense, and his writings on Mises show an utter misunderstanding (he does not even sufficiently disentangle Mises from Ricardo and other classical economists.) It is praxeological theorems (e.g. law of demand) that are necessary to approach statistical data, and formulate complete economic theorems, and are themselves logical truths. It is a common misunderstanding that Austrians completely disregard empirical data, and I was hopeful that Skousen would not repeat it - yet he does, and more ineptly than usual even. Economists serious about understanding the Austrian School comprehend this. It was Mises' position that neither mathematics nor statistics can yield praxeological truths.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ian Mackechnie on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Austrian and the Chicago schools of economic thought have both made important contributions to our understanding of economics. Dr Skousen has, in an understandable and entertaining manner, presented these contributions to the general reading public.

I thought Dr Skousen was very game in suggesting that the Mises Institute had a siege mentality when it came to the defense of the Austrian school. I would also suggest that their partisan position is actually hindering further research and developments based upon the Austrian paradigm.When you regard your leader or school as been the final repository of truth and wisdom, where can you go from there? This may be one reason why most Austrian economists find it so hard to get good positions in top universities. They are regarded by their peers as being closed minded!

I also thought this book so good I gave it away to one of my graduate students who was leaning towards the church of Keynes. This book helped save him!

A great buy and a great read!
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