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The Marginal Revolutionaries

How Austrian Economists Fought the War of Ideas
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A group history of the Austrian School of Economics, from the coffeehouses of imperial Vienna to the modern-day Tea Party 

The Austrian School of Economics - a movement that has had a vast impact on economics, politics, and society, especially among the American right - is poorly understood by supporters and detractors alike. Defining themselves in opposition to the mainstream, economists such as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Joseph Schumpeter built the School’s international reputation with their work on business cycles and monetary theory. Their focus on individualism - and deep antipathy toward socialism - ultimately won them a devoted audience among the upper echelons of business and government.

In this collective biography, Janek Wasserman brings these figures to life, showing that in order to make sense of the Austrians and their continued influence, one must understand the backdrop against which their philosophy was formed - notably, the collapse of the Austro‑Hungarian Empire and a half‑century of war and exile.

©2019 Janek Wasserman (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

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too much about the economists

not enough focus on ideas and theories . too much focus on the economists and their relationships with each other. not enough about the differences in theory with other schools

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Very good economic history, terribly narrated

Some narrators put on accent when pronouncing foreign words and names. This narrator's attempted accent is pretty bad, which by itself is no great sin. But he butchers names to the point of non-recognition. Worse, he says them several different ways. Carl Menger's surname is variously pronounced Maynard, Maynor, and possibly Minor at some point. He usually pronounces Eugen Bohm-Bawerk's name as simply "Berm," and it took me the better part of a chapter before I caught on to this, necessitating a second listen. Pronunciation mistakes are ok, but narrators should at least be consistent about them.

Even American-born economists such as George Stigler and Israel Kirzner get the narrator's bad accent, worse pronunciation treatment. Readers not familiar with the names should have either the print version or Wikipedia handy, because the narrator's attempt at authenticity nearly ruins an excellent work of economic history. It needs to be re-recorded with a different narrator.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-24-19

an excellent sociobiography

Considering the controversial topic, it is surprising that the author neither fawns over nor sets out to destroy its subject matter. The result is a well researched, rich in scope, fair and balanced intellectual biography of the Austrian School. Its central characters are all the major thinkers of the school, from Menger and Böhm-Bawerk to Hayek, Morgenstern, and Haberler. Impressively, the book brings to life dozens of thinkers, institutes, and societies spread across a century of history and several continents. It manages to cover a lot of ground without losing track of the overall narrative. It is entertaining and educational in equal measure, and full of real world relevance. Although neutral in tone, the book is not entirely without its share of editorializing, especially towards the end. But for the most part the author wisely keeps editorial comments at a minimum and places them in parentheses and epilogues. And to the extent that the normative focus emerges, it is very commendable in its call for a "progressive" rediscovery of the Austrian school against reactionary appropriations and American simplifications. In reminding the reader of the dangers of dogmatism and narrow sectarianism, the book celebrates the pluralistic and cosmopolitan intellectual tradition of fin-de-siècle Vienna as the complex cradle of socioeconomic and scientific innovation.