Was the School of Salamanca Proto-Austrian?

20 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017

See all articles by Andy Denis

Andy Denis

City, University of London

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

Denis, Andy, Was the School of Salamanca Proto-Austrian? (April 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3056804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3056804

Andy Denis (Contact Author)

City, University of London ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/andy.denis/

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