Front cover image for Literature & the economics of liberty : spontaneous order in culture

Literature & the economics of liberty : spontaneous order in culture

This book applies criticism (and a theory of criticism) from a pro-market point of view. This book pursues economic interpretations of literature while respecting the freedom and creativity of authors, drawing upon the Austrian School of economics that places freedom and creativity at the center of its understanding of human action. Austrian economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek deny that human behavior is predictable, not just in practice, but more fundamentally in theory. They view the realm of economics as radically uncertain, and understand economic activity as "creative destruction," a never-ending process of making and unmaking modes of production that is the mirror image of artistic activity. The book further argues that literature is one of the most powerful reflections of humanity's freedom, spontaneity, and creativity. Great works of literature buck the trend and break the mold. No one, not even their authors, can predict where they will come from or what form they will take. They may at first appear chaotic because they violate established literary norms, and only time and greater familiarity reveals the inner logic of their form. Perpetually open-ended in its formal possibilities, literature often celebrates the open-ended nature of human life in general
Print Book, English, 2009
Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Ala., 2009