Co-editor Fred Foldvary has a great essay up on three schools of economic thought that deserves to be read by all. An excerpt:
The Vienna school emphasizes the dynamics of the economy, while the Chicago method is to apply self-interest and economizing in an equilibrium analysis. The San Francisco school uses both equilibrium and dynamics. The dynamic approach of change over time is used to show the advance of rent and lowering of wages as the margin of production moves to less productive land and as land speculation moves the margin out even further. Equilibrium shows that since market rent is based on the fixed supply of land and the demand to rent space, the tax on land not affecting the rent.
The San Francisco school agrees with the Vienna school that the spontaneous order of the free market best allocates goods to human desires. But the San Francisco school points out that if the ground rent is not tapped for public revenue, when taxes on other things finance civic works, then there is in effect a subsidy to land owners, which distorts the market.
The San Francisco school has a theory of the business cycle based on land values, which rise during a boom, when speculation carries land prices so high that investment gets choked off, resulting in a recession. But San Francisco has lacked a consensus on the role of central banking and money.
Check out the rest here.
I tend to pay attention whenever Dr. Foldvary writes, because he is the guy who wrote a book in 2007 accurately predicting the economic collapse of 2008. You can access the book for free here.
One thought on “Chicago, Vienna and San Francisco”
Many economists view cycle theories as superstition, like sunspot theories. This is a mistake. Cycle theories may be well grounded in mass psychology, and in fact sunspots may not be entirely irrelevant to business cycles.