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《The Austrian School- Market Order and Entrepreneurial Crea


作者:Jesús Huerta de Soto


Jesús Huerta de Soto Ballester (Madrid, 1956) is a Spanish economist of the Austrian School. He is a professor in the Department of Applied Economics at King Juan Carlos University of Madrid, Spain and a Senior Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Huerta de Soto received a bachelor's degree in economics in 1978 and a PhD in economics in 1992, from Complutense University. His MBA in actuarial science is from Stanford University, 1985. In 2000 he became a full professor of Political Economy at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid.
Huerta de Soto was Editor of seven volumes of the Spanish language version of the University of Chicago Press's The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek. In that capacity, he was responsible for bibliographies, footnotes, introductions, and hiring translators. He is a member of the editorial board of New Perspectives on Political Economy and on the advisory editorial board of the Journal of Markets and Morality. Huerta de Soto is a Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is on the editorial board of its Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He was formerly a Trustee of the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies (IMDEA) in social sciences and was a vice-president and director of the Mont Pelerin Society from 2000 to 2004.






time preference 是奥地利学派提出来的,非常有意思的概念,企业管理有时候就是协调团队的 time preference,让人的相对随机行为转变为统一协调的行为,从而产生更明显的波峰和波谷,完成个人所难以达到的目标,管理者需要具备调整相关人员 time preference 的能力。








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Austrians are particularly critical of the narrow concept of economics which originated with Robbins and his well-known definition of the subject. In his own words, “economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses” (Robbins 1932, 16). Robbins’s conception implicitly presupposes a given knowledge of ends and means and reduces the economic problem to a technical problem of mere allocation, maximization or optimization, subject to certain restrictions which are also assumed known. In other words, Robbins’s concept of economics reflects the essence of the neoclassical paradigm and can be considered completely foreign to the methodology of the  Austrian school as it is understood today. Indeed, Robbins portrays man as an automaton, a simple caricature of a human being, who may only react passively to events. In contrast with this view, Mises, Kirzner and the rest of the  Austrian school maintain that man does not so much allocate given means to given ends, as constantly seek new ends and means, while learning from the past and using his imagination to discover and create the future (via action).  Thus, for  Austrians, economics forms part of a much broader and more general science, a general theory of human action (and not of human decision or choice).  According to Hayek, if for this general science of human action “a name is needed, the term  praxeological sciences now clearly defined and extensively used by Ludwig von Mises, would appear to be most appropriate” (Hayek 1952a, 209).


Economics is not about things and tangible material objects; it is about men, their meanings and actions. Goods, commodities, and wealth and all the other notions of conduct are not elements of nature; they are elements of human meaning and conduct. He who wants to deal with them must not look at the external world; he must search for them in the meaning of acting men. (Mises 1996, 92)


For the above reasons, members of the  Austrian school find that many of the theories and conclusions that neoclassicals form in their analysis of consumption and production make no sense in terms of economics. One example is the “law of equality of price-weighted marginal utilities”, which rests on very shaky theoretical foundations. In fact this law presupposes that the actor is able to simultaneously assess the utility of all goods at their disposal, and it overlooks the fact that every action is sequential and creative, and that goods are not assessed at the same time by equalizing their supposed marginal utilities, but rather one after the other, within the context of different stages and actions, for each of which the corresponding marginal utility may be not only different but incomparable (Mayer 1994, 81–3)


The great merit of the  Austrians is to have demonstrated that it is perfectly possible to develop the entire corpus of economic theory in a logical manner, while introducing the concepts of time and creativity  (praxeology); that is, without any need of functions nor assumptions of constancy which do not fit in with the creative nature of human beings, who are the only true protagonists of social processes, the object of research in economics.


et us bear in mind that it fully agrees with the original etymological meaning of the word “enterprise” (empresa in Spanish). Indeed both the Spanish word  empresa and the French and English word  entrepreneur derive etymologically from the Latin verb  in prehendo-endi-ensum, which means “to discover, to see, to perceive, to realize, to capture”; and the Latin term  in prehensa clearly implies action and means “to take, to seize”. In short,  empresa is synonymous with action


We  could also cite, following Polanyi, the example of a person who is learning to ride a bicycle and attempts to maintain their balance by moving the handlebars to the side toward which they begin to fall, creating in this way a centrifugal force which tends to keep the bicycle upright; yet almost no cyclist is aware of or familiar with the physical principles behind this ability. On the contrary, what the cyclist actually uses is a “sense of balance”, which in some way informs them how to behave at each moment to keep from falling. Polanyi goes so far as to assert that tacit knowledge is in fact the dominant principle of all knowledge (Polanyi 1959, 24–5). Even the most highly formalized and scientific knowledge invariably follows from an intuition or an act of creation, which are simply manifestations of tacit knowledge. Moreover the new knowledge we can acquire through formulas, books, charts, maps and so on is important mainly because it helps us to reorganize our entire framework of practical, entrepreneurial information from different and increasingly rich and valuable perspectives, which in turn opens up new possibilities for the exercise of creative intuition.  Therefore the impossibility of articulating practical knowledge manifests itself not only “statically”, in the sense that any apparently articulated statement contains information only insofar as it is interpreted through a combination of prior, inarticulable beliefs and knowledge, but also “dynamically”, since the mental process used in any attempt at formalized articulation is itself essentially tacit, inarticulable knowledge.


Another type of knowledge that cannot be articulated and that plays an essential role in the functioning of society is composed of the set of habits, traditions, institutions, and juridical and moral rules that comprise the law that make society possible, and that human beings learn to follow, though we cannot articulate in detail nor theorize about the precise functions that these rules and institutions perform in the various situations and social processes in which they are involved.

  1.各种令人眼花缭乱的食物=the bewildering variety of foods,其中variety表示“种类,多样性”。

The exercise of entrepreneurship does not require any means.  That is to say, entrepreneurship does not entail any costs and is therefore fundamentally creative.  This creative aspect of entrepreneurship is embodied in its production of a type of profit which, in a sense, arises out of nothing, and which we shall therefore refer to as pure entrepreneurial profit.  To  derive entrepreneurial profit one needs no prior means, but only to exercise entrepreneurship well. It is particularly important to emphasize that any act of entrepreneurship brings about three extraordinarily significant effects. First, entrepreneurship creates new information. Second, this information is transmitted throughout the market.  Third, the entrepreneurial act teaches each of the economic agents involved to tune their behavior to the needs of the others.  These consequences of entrepreneurship, as the authors of the  Austrian school have analytically formulated them, are so important that they are worth studying closely one by one.

  2.从认知的角度理解=in cognitive terms,其中in terms表示“从……角度理解”。

Each entrepreneurial act entails the  ex nihilo creation of new information or knowledge.  This creation takes place in the mind of the person who initially exercises entrepreneurship. Indeed when a person we shall call “C” realizes that a profit opportunity exists, new information is created in his mind. Furthermore once “C” takes action and contacts, for instance, “A” and “B”, and buys cheaply from “B” a resource that “B” has too much of and then sells it at a higher price to “A”, who needs it urgently, new information is also created in the minds of “A” and “B”. “A” realizes that the resource she lacked and needed so desperately to accomplish her end is available elsewhere in the market in greater quantities than she had thought, and that therefore she can now readily undertake the action she had not initiated before due to the absence of this resource. For his part, “B” realizes that the resource he so abundantly possesses yet did not value is keenly desired by other people, and that therefore he should save and protect it, since he can sell it at a good price.

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