Ludwig Lachmann

Ludwig Lachmann

German economist
Date of Birth: 01.02.1906
Country: South Africa

  1. Biography of Ludwig Lachmann
  2. Contributions to the Austrian School
  3. Legacy and Influence

Biography of Ludwig Lachmann

Ludwig Lachmann was a German economist and one of the key representatives of the fifth generation of the Austrian School, also known as the Vienna School of economics. He was born on February 1, 1906, in Berlin, Germany. Lachmann completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Berlin, where he studied from 1924 to 1933. His interest in the economic theory known as the Austrian School began in the summer of 1926 when he spent time at the University of Zurich.

Ludwig Lachmann

In 1933, Ludwig Lachmann left Germany and moved to England. During the 1930s, he was a student at the London School of Economics and worked alongside Friedrich August von Hayek, an Austrian economist and philosopher who was also a Nobel laureate and a supporter of the Austrian School. This collaboration greatly fueled Lachmann's interest in the Austrian School. In 1948, he relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was offered a professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand. Lachmann lived there until his passing on December 17, 1990, at the age of 84.

Contributions to the Austrian School

Over time, Ludwig Lachmann came to the conclusion that the Austrian School had deviated from the original vision of its founder, Carl Menger. According to Lachmann, the Austrian economic theory should be characterized as evolutionary or "genetic-causal." Lachmann's "fundamental Austrianism" was a rare approach, as few remaining representatives of the Austrian School considered their work as a deviation from the mainstream. Lachmann emphasized that he regarded economic subjectivism, imperfect knowledge, capital heterogeneity, business cycles, methodological individualism, alternative cost, and market processes as deviations from the mainstream.

The direction Lachmann took formed the basis for a radical subjectivist branch of the Austrian economic theory. His works had a significant impact later on, influencing the development of the American branch of the Austrian School.

Legacy and Influence

To commemorate Ludwig Lachmann's memory, his widow established the Ludwig M. Lachmann Research Fellowship and Fund at the Faculty of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics. It is also known that Professor Lachmann was a strong advocate for the use of hermeneutic methods in studying economic phenomena. Lachmann's ideas continue to influence contemporary research in the field of social sciences. Many social science disciplines explicitly or implicitly rely on the "radical subjectivism" of the Austrian School.