John Blundell on the Rebirth of Austrian Economics
By David Henderson
Starting in 1974, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), based at that time in Menlo Park, California, began an ambitious plan to resurrect the then near to dead Austrian school of thought in economics. The first three steps were conferences at South Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont in June 1974, run by Ed Dolan; Hartford, Connecticut in June 1975, run by Dominick T. Armentano; and Windsor Castle, UK in early September 1976, run by Arthur Shenfield and myself (but see below for University of Delaware, June 1976).
This is the opening paragraph of John Blundell, “IHS and the Rebirirth of Austririan Economics: Some Reflections on 1974-1976,” in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Spring 2014, Vol. 17, No. 1: 92-107.
For those who have wondered about the famous South Royalton meeting in 1974, John provides some valuable background, not so much about the content of the various lectures as about the interaction of the various personalities. He also, as the passage above notes, discusses the Hartford, Connecticut meeting, which I also attended, and the Windsor Castle meeting, which I didn’t.
John sent me a draft months before and incorporated virtually all my comments, typically in footnotes. John quotes attendee Karen Vaughn on the significance of the South Royalton meeting:
Perhaps all dated beginnings are arbitrary, but surely some are less arbitrary than others. An excellent case can be made that the official rebirth of the Austrian school took place in June of 1974. That was when the Institute for Humane Studies sponsored a week-long conference on Austrian economics held at South Royalton, Vermont.
Note: The picture above was taken at the South Royalton conference during a spirited debate among Milton Friedman and the others pictured here. Just behind Milton and a little to the left is Harry Watson, a fellow Canadian with whom I drove down to “the States” to attend graduate school at UCLA. Then, left to right, Milton, me (notice my keen sense of style in clothing), Jerry O’Driscoll, Jack High, and Richard Ebeling.
Thanks to Roger Garrison for the photo.