지은이: Heinz D. Kurz (University of Graz)
2. The Austrian theory of production, value and cost
3. The Austrian theory of capital and interest
4. The controversy with Hayek
5. The classical economists and Marx
6. Concluding Remarks.
of which: 4. The controversy with Hayek
This element became visible in Hayek's treatment of "voluntaty" saving and "forced" saving. The first concerns a change in intertemporal preferences. In Hayek's marginalist setting, an increase in voluntary saving means that agents decide to forego present consumption for future consumption. In an economic system with a given and constant labour supply and a given and constant technical knowledge this means that more "roundabout", or "capitalistic" procees of production will be adopted, characterised by a higher consumption output per capital. This, in turn, involves a change in the proportion of gross income spent on consumption and on capital goods (that is, a change in gross savings). Net savings will be positive only during the transitory phase, until a new equilibrium is reached.
While in Hayek's view this case is unproblematic, the other case, forced saving, concerns interventions into the "voluntary decisions of individuals" and thus infringes upon their "freedom of action". A money rate of interest below the "equilibrium" rate leads to an expansion of producers' or of consumers' credits. In the former case producers will find it now profitable to lengthen the "average period of production". This is only possible, however, if labour and non-specific factors of production are shifted from lower stages of production (that is, those close to the "maturing" of the consumption goods) to higher stages, thereby imposing on agents a reduction in consumption (that is, "forced" saving). Eventually incomes will rise; and since preferences of agents have not changed, consumption demand will go up. Prices of consumer goods will rise, indicating to producers that it is profitable to adopt less roundabout processes of production. As a consequence, capital has to be reduced againㅡa process that "necessarily takes the form of an economic crisis" (Hayek 1931a, p. 53). After a costly roundtrip, and on the assumption that the banking system will eventually correct it error, the system is bound to return to its ^original^ equilibrium.
For Hayek(Ibid., p. 57), while the "artificial stimulant" of inflation in the shape of producers' credits can do no good, such a stimulant in the shape of consumers' credits is said to do harm, because it tends "to frustrate the effect of saving". Inflation throught consumers' credits would decrease capital and push the system to a ^new equilibrium with lower consumption output per capita. This elicited Sraffa's dry comment: "Thus Dr. Hayek will have it both ways" (1932a, p. 48). Hayek's claim that the two cases are not analogous finally reveals the "error or irrelevancy" which is responsible for the fact that a rise of fall in the quantity of "emasculated" money can make a difference. As Sraffa stressed: "an extraneous element, in the shape of the supposed power of the banks to settle the way in which money is spent, has crept into the argument and has done all the work. As Voltaire says, you can kill a flock of sheep by incantations, plus a little poison" (ibid., p. 49).
Returning to the case of producers' credits, Sraffa(ibid. p. 48) objected that Hayek had failed to show that those whose real income was curbed during the inflation will be compensated in the end: "One clas has, for a time, robbed another class of part of their incomes; and has saved the plunder. When the robbery comes to an end, it is clear that the victimes cannot possibly consume the capital chich is now well out of their reach". Seen from the vantage point of Paretian general equilibrium theory, which Hayek endorsed, Sraffa's criticism amounts to the objection that the process of inflation (as well as that of deflation) is typically associated with a change in the distribution of wealth and thus affects one of the fundamental data determining general equilibrium. To this is added a further objection which shows that Hayek's attempt to identify his two cases as pure cases is ill-conceived. Since it can safely be assumed that those who gain from inflation will be engaged in "voluntary" saving, the picture gets blurred. Conversely, there will also be a destruction of capital in the case of voluntary saving: "With or without money, if investment and saving have not been planned to match, an increae of saving must prove to a large extent "abortive""(ibid., p. 52).