Lachmann’s “The Market as an Economic Process”

While I took a good three week break from the book  — which turned out to be a grievous mistake — I am now on the final stretch of finishing it.  Before I review it, I will have to go back and re-read several parts of it (including the entire chapter on money).  From what I have read and what I have understood, though, I definitely suggest this book to anybody interested in Austrian economics, and more generally, to anybody interested in expanding their knowledge on the market process.  There is a lot to agree with, and much to disagree with, as well.

I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts on the book,

  • This book is “short” — 165 pages, including the appendix.  This does not mean it is easy.  Included within this book are some of the most difficult to understand insights I have ever run across.  I do not mean Hayek difficult to understand; 1931 Hayek was just a bad writer in English (made straightforward concepts difficult to understand).  Lachmann, with difficult English, attempts to explain very difficult and convoluted ideas.  This means that this alone will necessitate a second or third reading of the book.
  • Lachmann puts a lot of emphasis on the idea of disequilibrium and disequilibrating forces (such as expectations).  He has good reason for all of this, but I think that he “jumps the gun” in the sense that he really does not understand all the forces he is talking about.  By no means do I expect anybody to know all these forces — most likely an impossible task —, but it seems to me that in some senses he puts a greater emphasis on disequilibrium than what is actually do.  As an example, I cite his coverage of expectations.  As I will elaborate in a future post (review of the book), I do not think that all changes in expectations are disequilibrating in the sense that Lachmann means to use the word.  I think that expectations can just as well bring harmony (or convergence between individual plans).
  • Why has this book not been re-published? does not carry it.  I found my copy in my university library (which actually has an astonishing collection of books on economics).  This is a book that would do well to re-publish, and I am sure it will be very popular amongst serious students of Austrian economics.

While Lachmann’s  The Market as an Economic Process  is taking me an ungodly amount of time to finish, I really have had a great experience reading this book.  I would suggest this book to anybody serious in a deeper investigation of economics (not just Austrian).

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