October, 2015

From Subsistence to Advanced Material Production

Austrian Development Economics
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This chapter provides a summary of the lessons that the Austrian theory of capital holds for the field of development economics. It provides an introduction to the concepts of the structure of production and time preference and a brief overview of how the rate of time preference limits both the available pool of savings and the extent of capital formation. The implications that this uniquely Austrian insight holds for the theory of economic growth are spelled out, in particular the fact that what constrains the growth of developing countries is not the availability of technology but the availability of savings to undertake investment. The chapter also provides a brief exposition of the concept of capital heterogeneity and its implications for the impossibility of economic calculation under a system of central planning. A critique of some popular models that advocate planning as a means of economic development is also provided.

The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics is available through Oxford University Press.