“We also wanted to draw connections with other schools of though – especially some aspects of Post Keynesianism and other version of subjectivist economics. We saw that, behind political or ideological differences, we had some fundamental ideas that we could share and discuss with these people. We wanted to make clear that Austrian economics is not coextensive with classical liberalism. We were not propagandists for capitalism.”But the political views or prescriptive anti-government ideology of Austrians is precisely what gets in the way of mutual dialogue, since all Austrians appear to be either minimal state liberals or anarcho-capitalists.
For example, can anyone name a modern Austrian economist who is pragmatic on government interventions in economic life? While Hayek appears to have endorsed some government interventions in the mature phase of his career, there is no doubt he was still in essence strongly opposed to government intervention.
But what are the similarities between (some) versions of Austrian economics and Post Keynesianism?
One might list them as follows:
(1) the importance of time in economic life in a dynamic sense and fundamental uncertainty (more or less the same as Knightian uncertainty);But even with these similarities there are important differences.
(2) many events of the future relevant for economic life and decision making today cannot be calculated with objective probability scores.
(3) from (1) and (2) it follows that expectations are subjective, not “rational” in the neoclassical sense;
(4) a rejection of the neoclassical view that markets converge towards general equilibrium states. But here some Austrians have their own substitutes for Walrasian general equilibrium, such as the Misesian final state of rest, plan coordination, or pattern coordination, and accept other (alleged) equilibrating processes such as the Wicksellian natural rate of interest, loanable funds theory, and equilibrium prices, so it is perhaps only the Lachmannian radical subjectivists with whom Post Keynesians are in agreement on the lack of equilibrium tendencies in market economies.
(5) a belief that the quantity theory of money is unsatisfactory, but for different reasons, and the Post Keynesian rejection of the quantity theory is much stronger.
Post Keynesian price theory is radically different from Austrian theory and stresses the importance of administered prices, while Austrian price theory is not much more than a development of neoclassical price theory. Aggregate demand is seen as a fundamental driving force of investment and production in Post Keynesianism (along with business expectations), while Austrians seem to see the driving force as saving, even with some version of Say’s law.
The Austrian business cycle theory is unacceptable to Post Keynesians, and inflation is seen as driven by factor input and wage cost increases (cost push inflation) and not just demand-pull inflation, and so on.
And another fundamental difference is political outlook: Post Keynesians have no dogmatic hostility to government intervention, as their theory tells them (and rightly so) that market economies are in need of macroeconomic steering and regulation.