Professor Ludwig M. Lachmann (1906-1990): Scholar, Teacher, and Austrian School Critic of Late Classical Formalism in Economics
Posted: 20 Nov 2000
Ludwig M. Lachmann was born in Berlin in 1906 and died in Johannesburg in 1990. For more than forty years, until his retirement in 1972, Lachmann established himself as a prominent South African economist and for a time served as head of the economics department at the University of Witwatersrand. From 1974 to 1987, he worked with Professor Israel Kirzner in New York City to give new shape and life to the older Austrian school of economics. Lachmann influenced a small army of modern Austrians to discard the elaborate formalisms of orthodox economics for a "radical subjectivism" that had its roots in the teachings of the founder of the Austrian school, Carl Menger. Here a small platoon of scholars offer their thoughts about Lachmann, his contributions to economic reasoning, and his eccentric but explain what their mentor taught and what his students took away. Lavoie makes the case that Lachmann's "radical subjectivism" took a rhetorical turn toward the end of Lachmann's career in New York City. In addition, Kirzner reports on his long and most productive relationship with Lachmann and provides additional insights about the seminal role of the Austrian Economics Seminar at New York University from 1985 to 1987 in giving shape to the modern Austrian revival. This article is the written version of a "Remembrance and Appreciation Session" held on June 28, 1999 at the History of Economics Society meeting at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. It is one of an ongoing series that appears in the July issues of this journal.
JEL Classification: B30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation