2013년 3월 2일 토요일

[발췌: Hayek's] The Pure Theory of Capital

출처: F.A. Hayek (Lawrence H. White 편집), Collected Works of F.A. Hayek, vol. 12: The Pure Theory of Capital, 2007년 재판.
자료: 구글도서 (cf. Mises Institute's version) ; 차례 및 일부 독서노트

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※ 발췌(excerpts):

1. Editor's Introduction (by Lawrence H. White)

(...) Years of painstaking intellectual effort had produced a dry treatise that became, not coincidentally, Hayek's last book in economic theory. The Pure Theory of Capital offers a detailed account of the equilibrium relationships between inputs and outputs in an economy where production takes time and where some capital goods are not completely versatile. It moves from the relatively simple type of input-output mapping assumed in Prices and Production to increasingly complex types of relationships between dated inputs and outputs.

Hayek's stated objective was to make capital theoryㅡwhich had previously been devoted almost entirely to explanation of the interest rateㅡ"useful for the analysis of the monetary phenomena of the real world,'[3] His ambitious goal, then, was nothing less than to develop a capital theory that could be fully integrated into business cycle theory. That no subsequent writers have actually applied ^The Pure Theory of Capital^ to business cycle analysis suggests that what he ultimately produced was overly elaborate for the purpose.

The Book's Place in Hayek's Research Programme

The Pure Theory of Capital began as attempt to re-state the business cycle theory of Prices and Production with a more rigorous capital-theoretic foundation. As Don Bellante and Roger Garrison note, Prices and Production "was intended only as an outline".[4]  (...)

Among the key simplifications of Prices and Production was Hayek's well-known graphical device in Lecture II representing an economy's aggregate 'structure of production' as a series of 'stages' leading to the output of consumers' goods. (...)

(... ...)

In tandem with his work in business cycle theory, Hayek by 1941 had done important work on the meaning of economic equilibrium through time. He had addressed the question in a 1928 essay, "Intertemporal Price Equilibrium and Movements in the Value of Money".[12] In the 1937 essay "Economics and Knowledge" he argued that an economic equilibrium through time is best conceived as the ongoing compatibility of various agents's plans.[13] The Pure Theory of Capital puts the compatibility-of-plans concept to work. Though the book begins with the simple case of a stationary economy, Hayek notes that to grapple with many important problems of capital theoryㅡsuch as the use of inherited capital 'relics' that it does not pay to reproduce in the same form, or the transition to a more or less capitalistic structure of productionㅡanalysis must go beyond examining stationary states.[14] The broader plan-coordination notion of equilibrium then serves as the relevant benchmark. (... ...)

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※ It seems that there is no mention in this introduction about how Hayek, in his endeavors to prepare this work, tried to explain the key role money plays in an economy. By the way, some source says:
“[Hayek's] ambition for [The Pure Theory of Capital] was to expand on his "stages of production" notions. But for the next four years he struggled to explain to his own satisfaction the key role that capital and money played in an economy. The more he worked at it, the more the scale of his task appeared to grow ...” (form some source: NWKH)
I came to look at this question in wondering that Hayek's efforts to explain capital and its accumulation and decumulation in the business cycle did not deal with money proper in its full properties.

2. The Author's Preface (by Hayek)

This highly abstract study of a problem of pure economic theory has grown out of the concern with one of the most practical and pressing questions which economists have to face, the problem of the causes of industrial fluctuations. The attempt to elaborate a chain of reasoning which seems to throw important light on this question had made it painfully clear to me that some of the theoretical tools with which we are at present equipped are quite inadequate for the task. The nature of the contribution to the explanation of industrial fluctuation which I had attempted involved an extensive use of concepts and theorems which fall within the province of the theory of capital and interest. This is, of course, a field which almost above all others has been the centre of theoretical interest since the beginning of our science. The reason why, in spite of this, the results of past work on these problems proved unsatisfactory tools in the analysis of more complicated phenomena seems to be, as I try to explain in the introductory chapter, that in the past these phenomena have been studied for a different purpose and on assumptions which deprive them of most of their significance in a different context.

In this state of affairs it seemed imperative, before going on with a further elaboration of the explanation of industrial fluctuations, to turn back to the revision of the fundamentals and to work out a theory of capitalist production which would prove adequate for the analysis of dynamic changes. It was with great reluctance that I convinced myself of this necessity, and I have much sympathy with the prevailing attitude which shows an increasing impatience with all attempts at further refinement of the abstract groundwork and which is anxious to proceed with the more concrete work on the process which we observe in the real world. Yet I have become definitely convinced that nothing holds up real progress so much as this very impatience which disregards the necessity of first getting the foundations clearly laid out.

My reluctance to undertake this work would have been even greater if from the beginning I had been aware of the magnitude of the task that awaited me. As at first contemplated, this study was intended as little more than a systematic exposition of what I imagined to be a fairly complete body of doctrine which, in the course of years, had evolved from the foundations laid by Jevons, Böhm-Bawerk, and Wicksell. I had little idea that this task of systematisation would uncover serious gaps in the reasoning which had yet to be bridged, and that some of the simplifications employed by the earlier writers had such far-reaching consequences as to make their conceptual tools almost useless in the analysis of more complicated situations. The most important of these inappropriate simplifications, of the dangers of which I became aware at a comparatively early stage, was the attempt to introduce the time factor into the theory of capital in the form of one single relevant time intervalㅡthe "average period of production". But it gradually became clear that this supposed simplification evaded so many essential problems that the attempt to replace it by a more adequate treatment of the time factor raised a host of new questions which had never been really considered and to which answers had to be found.

It was inevitable that in a first approach to an analysis of the dynamic problems in this field I should have used whatever tools were available, and I must not complain of the manifold misunderstandings which the use of these imperfect instrument caused and of the objections to which it has given rise. And it would be idle to pretend that I was myself always aware of all the limitations and dangers of what I then still regarded as legitimate simplifications. But while I still believe in the fundamental correctness of the general approach which I then followed, it would be inexcusable if at this stage I neglected to attempt to remedy the all too evident defects of the older theoretical tools.

It might be objected that whatever revision of pure theory may be necessary should be done in connection with the work on the concrete phenomena, where all its results could immediately be tested for their usefulness; and that all that has been said here does not justify the publication of a volume of this size confined entirely to pure theory. I hope that the reader, before he has proceeded very far in this book, will realise that the difficulty and complexity of the problems involved make a systematic treatment of these questions by themselves very necessary. The fact is that as soon as we remove the more important of the simplifications traditionally employed in this field by economists, we face new problems of a type which in other parts of economics have been solved long ago by patient analysis, while in the field of the theory of capital this task still awaits fulfilment. In other departments of economics there may be much justification for the impatience often shown for any further refinements so long as we have not successfully made use of the more abstract work already done. But it is precisely further analysis which the theory of capital requires.

I fear, however, that the reader will find the actual shortcomings of this book not so much in its limitation to the more abstract problems but rather in the fact that even within these limits it leaves some problems of real importance unsolved. In particular I am painfully conscious that the discussion of the important problem of the effects of changes in the supply of capital on the relative prices of various factors of production in the later sections of Part III is not fully adequate and would require considerable elaboration to make it anything like exhaustive. It would be undoubtedly be highly desirable, granted that we must retrace our steps and go once again over the whole field of the pure theory of capital, that this should be done once and for all. I can make no pretence to have succeeded in doing this. It will no doubt require a good deal of further discussion before this part of general theory is in an entirely satisfactory state. I can only plead that I have grappled honestly and patiently with what even now appears to me by far the most difficult part of economic theory, and that the present book with all its shortcomings is the outcome of over a period so prolonged that I doubt whether further effort on my part would be repaid by the results. Perhaps there is even something to be said at this stage in favour of an exposition which confines itself to the central problems without pursuing into all its ramifications and details the consequences of the solution offered.

In addition to these limitations, to which I had voluntarily resigned myself, the circumstances of the time have now enforced a further curtailment of the orignial plan of the book. The final draft was in an advanced state of completion when the war broke out, and it became clear that, if I could hope to publish the book at all, I must not delay too long nor make it unduly large. The result of this is that Part IV has become rather more condensed and sketchy than I had intended and that several further appendices had to be sacrificed in which I had hoped to deal with controversial points which in recent years have been the subject of extensive discussion. The same fate has also befallen a mathematical appendix in which I had at one time hoped to restate the central theoretical propositions in algebraic form. But I am not sure that its abandonment is to be regarded as a loss. The mathematical form of expression is of assistance where it helps us to deal with a great number of variable than can conveniently be dealt with in ordinary language. But the power of the mathematical toolsㅡand most certainly of those which I could commandㅡalso has its limits. And the problems with which we have to deal here are so complex that I soon found that, in order to make them amenable to exact mathematical treatment and at the same time to keep this treatment on a plane where I could even attempt it, I had to introduce much more drastic simplifications than seemed compatible with the object.

KHNW p183-3 {{
So far as was practicable I have tried to keep the body of the book free from controversy. This has not always been easy, since in recent years during which the volume has been in preparation its subject has once again become the centre of extensive discussions in the learned journals. But although the book is to some extent intended as an answer to many objections raised against the approach I have employed in my earlier work on industrial fluctuations, and although I hope in the course of the systematic exposition to touch on most of the important points made by way of criticism, I have generally found it inadvisable to interrupt the main argument by explicit references to particular views. Even where the more famous doctrines and disputes of the past are concerned, I have considered them in greater detail only where this seemed to shed further light on a point under discussion. Apart from this, an attempt to trace the development of particular doctrines has been made only in a few instances in the appendices. Attractive as the task of writing a history of doctrines in this field would be, it cannot be combined with a systematic exposition without obscuring the main outlines of the positive solution. In so far as the more recent contributions are concerned, I have listed those which have come to my knowledge in the bibliography at the end of the volume. Absence of further references to any particular work must not be taken to mean that I have not profited from it in one way or another.

It only remains for me to acknowledge my numerous obligations to those who otherwise than through their published work have helped me in the development of the ideas here outlined or in the actual preparation of the book. (... ...)

F.A. Hayek
The London Scholl of Economics and Political Science
June 1940

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