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A Capital Approach

| Peter Lewin |

My thanks to Peter Klein (we have to be careful now to indicate which Peter is being addressed :-) ) and to O&M for this wonderful opportunity to participate in this forum. Though I have commented infrequently I have followed its musings with interest and profit. I am delighted to be here.

Perhaps, for my opening post, I might just mention a few areas of my past and current research that might be of interest.

  • As part of the Routledge series on the Foundations of the Market Economy I wrote a book entitled Capital in Disequilibrium which was published in 1999. It is still available, but it is very expensive ($200) — certainly not worth that price! Routledge recently released their copyright to me exclusively and I have just got through revising the book for a second edition to be published very soon by the Mises Institute. I had hoped to have some copies available at the upcoming AOM meetings in San Antonio, but this seems very unlikely now. Still, it will be easily available on their website and an open source version will also be there. The price of the book will be $15 I believe. Based on inquiries I have received, this will be welcome news for a few interested scholars.
  • I have made very few changes to the book — mainly stylistic improvements and corrections — but I have added a few references to relevant work that appeared after the first edition. For those who don’t know the work, it is basically an evaluative survey of capital theory Austrian-style. Capital theory has often been feared or avoided by economics students, never mind other interested scholars. I hoped and still hope that this book will provide them a comprehensive, sophisticated, yet accessible course in the subject. Of course, the amazing thing is the timing. The relevance of capital theory has, all of a sudden, burst upon the field of management and organization studies. Having discovered and digested Schumpeter and Kirzner, management scholars have now, in turn, discovered Lachmann. How delightful it is for me to see Lachmann’s insights being applied in this kaleidic, digital world. I know this would have pleased him beyond words. (A real paradox of sorts, because I cannot imagine he would ever have mastered the technology for his own personal use :-) ).
  • Regarding the book, of course the material is at least twelve years old. Yet, those wishing to understand the recent work using concepts like radical subjectivism, capital heterogeneity, capital complementarity and subsititutability, etc. would probably find it useful — and need not pay attention to the every page. Chapters 2 and 3 seem to me particularly important for an understanding of the concept of equilibrium and disequilibrium about which so much confusion is evident in the literature. Chapter 9, and less so Chapter 10, address specifically the question of capital combinations in business organizations. The final part of the book is about human capital and creates a bridge between the work of Lachmann and Gary Becker. (more…)

7 July 2011 at 2:06 pm 1 comment

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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
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Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

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