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Austrian Economics: A Science of Meaning

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A lecture delivered by Dr Carmelo Ferlito (IDEAS Senior Fellow) at the Jakarta Seminar on Political Economy and Austrian Economics organized by Students for Liberty Indonesia. Favehotel Wahyd Hasyim, Jakarta, Indonesia, 12-13 February 2018.
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   Austrian Economics: A Science of Meaning by Carmelo Ferlito Jakarta Seminar on Political Economy and Austrian Economics -  Jakarta, 12-13 February 2018  The Speaker Austrian Economics: A Science of Meaning by Dr Carmelo Ferlito •  Senior Fellow, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. •  Adjunct Faculty Member, INTI International College Subang, Subang Jaya, Malaysia. •  Commercial Director Southeast Asia, Petersime NV, Olsene, Belgium. Email address: carmelo.ferlito@gmail.com  –  carmelo@uow.edu.auWeb page: https://carmeloferlito.academia.edu  Incipit To be an Austrian economist is to be concerned with meaning. If we hope to understand human action, then we must pay attention to the meanings that individuals attach to their actions, and to the actions of others, and to the various choices that they are considering, and to the possible outcomes of those choices.Ours is at root a science of meaning. Storr , V.H. (2017) ‘Ludwig Lachmann’speculiar status within Austrian economics’, TheReview of Austrian Economics , DOI: 10.1007/s11138-017-0403-2.  The starting point: Human action as purposeful behavior A new definition of economics: the task of economics is  “to  investigate the marketphenomena, that is, the determination of the mutual exchange ratios of the goodsand services negotiated on markets,  their srcin in human action  and their effectsupon later  action”  (Mises).Action always motivated by the urge to remove a felt uneasiness. “Human  action is  purposeful behavior  . Or we may say: Action is  will   put intooperation and transformed into an  agency  , is aiming at ends and goals, is the  ego’s meaningful   response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person’s  conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his  life” (Mises).  Human action as purposeful behavior: consequences 1. Economic analysis cannot be reduced to the allocative problem (economizing).- Before economizing we must choose our purpose, arising from our interaction withreality.- Interaction between people and between them and the surrounding world initiateshermeneutical processes, interpretational moments necessary to identify the endswe think are worth striving for.- We engage ourselves with hermeneutical processes of identifying the means wethink suitable in order to reach our ends.- Conscious choices, emerging from interaction between acting people. - Active minds interpreting the situation around them. - Dynamic nature of human action.- Identification and implementation of plans,  in time .
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