Knut Wicksell: Selected Essays in Economics - Vol. 2

By Knut Wicksell; Bo Sandelin | Go to book overview

33

LUDWIG VON MISES, THEORIE DES GELDES UND DER UMLAUFSMITTEL {THE THEORY OF MONEY AND CREDIT}

München and Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1912 1

A serious book, written with great diligence. Mises eschews the childish superior airs that to my mind spoil so many works by otherwise gifted writers these days; quite the contrary, he is always anxious to pay due respect to the ideas of his predecessors and to make them the foundation for his own thought, in order to press on further in their footsteps—and this is undoubtedly the mark of all truly promising research. Unfortunately, he has not always succeeded in avoiding the danger inherent in this approach: an excessive tendency towards eclecticism and indecision with regard to the issues discussed. As a result, statements that are far too imprecise, that have not been given adequate thought, are not exactly infrequent in his text, nor even are flagrant contradictions. Thus, for example, on pages 170-4 he mentions the view recently maintained by Wagner that the supply side has a permanent predominance over the demand side when it comes to price formation, but finds it ‘decidedly questionable whether this allows the inference of a tendency towards a general raising of prices’ (p. 173). Yet on pp. 180-4, as far as I can see, he adopts this view without reserve, and even attempts to refute the obvious objection that the raised prices would require correspondingly larger cash holdings, which it might be impossible to satisfy with the existing supply of money, by the observation ‘that the very avoidance of unnecessary expenditure forced on individual economies by the rise in prices’ might be ‘more likely’ to lead to ‘a decrease in the amount of money holdings required’—which seems to me a rather speculative idea, to say the least. Similarly, he advances more or less weighty arguments against Wieser’s claim (which in my opinion is completely

Originally published in Zeitschrift für Volksivirtschaft, Sozialpolitik und Verwaltung, 1914.

-220-

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