Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
Mueller and Mises: Integrating the Gift and "Final Distribution" within Praxeology
Symposium: Is There A Missing Element in Economics?
ABSTRACT: John Mueller claims that Austrian economics does not have the tools to explain the economy. His major criticism against Neoclassical economics and its Austrian variant is that Austrian economics does not have an economic theory of the gift and does not treat persons as ends. Institutions like nonprofits, charities, churches, and especially families cannot be explained with the concepts that Austrians and Neoclassicals use: utility, production, and exchange. There is a missing element, which he calls the “final distribution.” I concede that Austrian literature neglects the gift and distributive economy, but argue that Ludwig von Mises gave us a concept—autistic exchange—from which a theory of the gift can be developed. I also discuss how that relates to the Austrian discussion of the catallactic and non-catallactic economy.