Placing myself on this “self-imposed task” of studying about Austrian economics is not easily sustained due to unfamiliarity with the field. You will never know what kind of content you will encounter in your search. You also do not know whether your approach is effective or not. As I mentioned in “My First Article,” I intend to approach the subject by knowing first the existing trend of thought towards this economic school before I will proceed to its roots in the past. I expect to meet my first objective by studying first contemporary articles provided by Google Reader Feeds. And the second objective is best achieved by directly going into the primary books written by the pioneers of the Austrian school.
However, during the initial stage in my research, I encounter two difficulties. The first difficulty is related to misleading Feed from Google Reader. One Feed has a title related to Austrian economics, but its contents have nothing to do with the subject, but filled with irrelevant news and product promotion of all kinds. I consider it a waste of time so I unsubscribed from that Feed. I still do not know the number of such irrelevant Feeds among 28 selected Feeds.
The second obstacle I encounter is the difficulty in handling secondary materials. An example of this is the article I found from Liberty Classroom (This site advocates a fight for liberty with relevant knowledge. Its makers refused to accept the conventional history taught in existing academic institution about European and American history that attribute accomplishment to the government and wary about libertarian principles. They are calling for a better understanding of the world. LC is a website promoting the study of Austrian economics), “Killer Summary of Austrian Views of Money, Banking, and the Fed – Delivered in Congressional Testimony!” At first, I thought the article is an easy read. Though it is very long, its six sub-headings provided me a way to appreciate the whole content and in fact, I was able to rearrange the lesson with three major parts (production test, three claims of fiat money, and the need for monetary reform) focusing on the central theme – Summary of Austrian Ideas of Money. That’s one benefit I received from reading the lesson. Another benefit is connected to the work of Gary North on Mises’ theory of money. This LC article helps me appreciate Dr. North’s work and caused me to consider his summary as my next writing task. Unfortunately, when I attempted to write my own understanding of this LC article, there are questions in my mind that a “Killer Summary” cannot provide sufficient answers. So I changed my mind about my approach in this study (also erased that next task) and instead decided to go directly to primary source.
Carl Menger is the considered reputable founder of the Austrian school of economics. His book, Principles of Economics (1871) is acknowledged as the primary source of the existing core ideas of the Austrian school. It was originally written in German language and was only translated into English after 80 years of existence (p.38).
The book has 330 pages, eight chapters, and a comprehensible outline. Surveying its content, you will easily see that the author is dealing with key economic theories: good, value, exchange, price, commodity, and money. I intend to focus first on “the general theory of the good.”