Was the School of Salamanca Proto-Austrian?
20 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017
Date Written: April 13, 2016
In this paper, I challenge Murray Rothbard’s interpretation of the School of Salamanca as proto-Austrian. I argue that Scholasticism is in goals and methods profoundly different from any modern school of economics, and that it is mistaken to use the Austrian school as a standard against which the Salamancans are to be appraised. Further, Rothbard’s interpretation is vitiated by a misconception of the specificity of the Austrian School: while the Salamancans bequeath a lasting heritage for 21st century economists, it is a broad contribution, one for many schools, and not at all one specific to the Austrian standpoint. Finally, the natural law tradition, which Rothbard correctly identifies as a continuity between early modern, classical and Austrian thought, far from an anticipation of scientific thinking in the Salamancans, constitutes a residue of religious thinking amongst at least some Austrians.
Keywords: School of Salamanca, Austrian School, Natural Law, Scholasticism, Murray Rothbard
JEL Classification: B11, B53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation