A kind of coda and suggestion for future work regarding Corey’s essay on the links between Nietzschian thought and modern economics. In one respect, I’d ask whether there may be stronger connections than Corey suggests. In particular, I can’t help wondering whether Max Weber might be an interesting vector of contagion. His more sociologically inflected account of the economy clearly had great influence on the Austrians whom Corey is interested in, but his later work, especially Politics as a Vocation, has strong and explicit Nietzschian overtones. However, for Weber, politics rather than the market is the “theater of self-disclosure, the stage upon which we discover and reveal our ultimate ends.” His heroes are politicians, who attach themselves to an end, follow a particular god despite that end’s radical contingency – the value of politics is that it provides a ground in which these very few individuals can fully develop themselves through struggle with others holding equally strongly to other gods who are equally contingent.
Weber’s political aristocracy, however, has little directly to do with the actual aristocracy of German politics in the early twentieth century, despite his right wing views. It’s clear that those on the left, as well as those conventionally subject to contempt as journalists and scribblers can be as heroic as those on the right, as long as they recognize and embrace the paradoxes of political action. It seems to me at least possible that this account might have served as a bridge, through which Nietzschian influences might have escaped into economic thought. If this were so, though, it would suggest that the key was not marginalism, so much as a very particular interpretation of marginalism by Austrians, whose relationship to mainstream economics has always been rather awkward.
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