In this episode, Erwin Dekker talks about his book The Viennese Students of Civilization: The Meaning and Context of Austrian Economics Reconsidered. We discuss Erwin’s cultural approach to the history of economic thought in general, before Erwin talks about the cultural context and historical developments which he argues are important to understand the development of early Austrian economics from its beginning in the late 19th century until the emigration of Austrian scholars in the 1930s. The interview also covers how Austrian economists adapted to their exiles in the English-speaking world and how modern Austrian economics differs from the approach used by Austrian economists in Austria. Towards the end of the interview, we discuss the challenges of writing a book that covers a large group of people, the endeavour of transforming a PhD thesis into a book published by the Cambridge University Press, and the role of historians of economic thought as the last generalists.
Erwin is a post-doctoral researcher at the Erasmus School of Economics where he is working on the intellectual biography of Nobel laureate and Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen. He is also assistant professor in cultural economics at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication and has been post-doctoral fellow at the Economics Department of George Mason University. His research focuses on the intersection of art and culture with economics. He has published in the fields of cultural economics, economic methodology and intellectual history, and he is currently working on the moral frameworks which sustain markets. And he is a co-host of this podcast.