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My Review of Wasserman’s The Marginal Revolutionaries

Summary:
The first part of my three-part review of Janek Wasserman's *The Marginal Revolutionaries* is now up at EconLib. Parts 2 and 3 will follow on Monday and Wednesday. Here's the intro paragraph: In the world since the 2017 publication of Democracy in Chains, Nancy MacLean’s near-slanderous “history” of public choice economics and the contributions of James Buchanan, it is understandable that a reader sympathetic to Austrian economics might approach Janek Wasserman’s 2019 history of that school of thought with some trepidation. The good news is that Wasserman’s book is a far better effort than MacLean’s, as he suffers from none of her problems with accuracy of source material and he understands the economic ideas he’s working with well enough to convey them accurately to a general

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The first part of my three-part review of Janek Wasserman's *The Marginal Revolutionaries* is now up at EconLib. Parts 2 and 3 will follow on Monday and Wednesday. Here's the intro paragraph:
In the world since the 2017 publication of Democracy in Chains, Nancy MacLean’s near-slanderous “history” of public choice economics and the contributions of James Buchanan, it is understandable that a reader sympathetic to Austrian economics might approach Janek Wasserman’s 2019 history of that school of thought with some trepidation. The good news is that Wasserman’s book is a far better effort than MacLean’s, as he suffers from none of her problems with accuracy of source material and he understands the economic ideas he’s working with well enough to convey them accurately to a general reader. His careful work with archival sources provides a richly detailed account that adds to our understanding of the Austrian school’s evolution and the roles its members played in influencing 20th century economic policy. The book is not without its flaws, however. In much the same way that MacLean starts with the assumption that classical liberal ideas are racist and otherwise evil (rather than attempting to provide evidence for that claim), Wasserman’s progressivism affects his broader narrative, though in much more subtle ways than MacLean’s. In particular, he assumes that the liberalism of the Austrians was simply ideological cover for defending the power and privileges of the elite. As a result, his history of the school’s evolution in the 20th century tells an incomplete tale.
Steve Horwitz
Steven "Steve" Horwitz (born 7 February 1964) is an American economist of the Austrian School. Horwitz was born in Detroit, Michigan to Ronald and Carol Horwitz. He was raised in Oak Park, Michigan and graduated from Berkley High School in Berkley, Michigan in 1981. He graduated cum laude with an A.B. in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1985, where he was also active with several libertarian student groups and where he wrote and performed with the Sunday Funnies/Comedy Company sketch comedy group.

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