Murray Rothbard has been called the last of the great universally influential Austrian School of Economics champions. He was a personal disciple and student of the legendary economist Ludwig von Mises, attending his lectures at New York University in the 1960s and 1970s until Mises eventual retirement and death. In 1963, Rothbard released his still widely read Man, Economy, and State. This work tightened and improved on Mises’ original Austrian School economic ideas.
Next Murray Rothbard turned his attention on to the Great Depression. He studied and then produced an economic treatise of this terrible period in human geopolitical history, applying the Austrian business cycle theories to demonstrate that the Black Monday stock market crash and subsequent economic collapse could be blamed on the previous over- expansion and –extension of bank issued credit. He followed this up with a series of studies and papers on government policy in order to craft groundwork to examine all sorts of government interventions within the markets.
Murray Rothbard himself deserves the credit for finally entrenching the Austrian School and liberal economic ideologies within the United States after several generations of failed Keynesian economic policies and arguments. His four volume history of colonial America (and its eventual declaration of independence from Britain) was known as Conceived in Liberty. Subsequent works of his included The Ethics of Liberty and the two volume work Logic of Action, itself a part of the important “Economists of the Century” series produced by Edward Elgar.
These still influential works produced by Rothbard became the bridge between the earlier generations of von Mises and Hayek and the younger Austrian School economists and students who were striving to advance and improve upon the growing tradition. Thanks to Rothbard’s deep and wide level of scholarship, encyclopedia-like personal knowledge base, unquenchable personality, and eternally-optimistic outlook, he fostered unknown numbers of up and coming students to focus their attention on the cause of liberty as it pertained to economics.
It is no exaggeration to claim that the once-despised and even -ridiculed Austrians have taken center stage in today’s Anglo-American economics policy universe. They had not enjoyed this position and level of influence since the 1930s and earlier. This resulted at least in significant part because of the Rothbard-assisted founding and leadership of the Mises Institute in 1982.
Legendary Austrian economists Hayek, Hazlitt, and widow Margit von Mises combined their powers, influence, and resources to create a host of new opportunities for the Austrian School and Murray Rothbard via this increasingly important institute and think tank. These included continuously hosted instructional seminars, academic conferences, monographs, books, newsletters, studies, and even movies produced by Rothbard and his disciple contemporaries. Rothbard (as leader of and with the support of the Institute) led the Austrian School on into the post-socialist era with an enthusiastic following of young economists charging in his wake.
The Review of Austrian Economics began publishing in 1987 with Rothbard as editor-in- chief. It evolved into a semiannual publication by 1991 and eventually a quarterly by 1998 under the revised name of The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. Each year from 1984 on, the Mises Institute has hosted its influential Instructional Summer School. For a great number of years, Rothbard himself presented his latest research on the history and development of economic thought at this program. It led to his two volume magnum opus, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought. In this seminal achievement work, Rothbard brought the discipline full circle by covering literally centuries of important writings relevant to the Austrian School and the study of economics.
Today’s Mises Institute is an ongoing concern and critically important supporting organization. It provides fellowships to students, bibliographies, study guides, and hosts and sponsors conferences around the United States and English-speaking world. Thanks to this now thoroughly grounded institute and the years of tirelessly effective leadership of leading modern era Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard, the Austrian School thought and practice today is influential on every level of developed nation government policy and in all academic departments of social sciences and economics throughout both the United States and many foreign countries too.