On Hayekian Triangles


  • William Barnett II Bank One Distinguished Professor of International Business and Associate Professor of Economics. Department of Economics. Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business Administration. Loyola University, New Orleans.
  • Walter Block Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics. Department of Economics. Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business Administration. Loyola University, New Orleans.




The triangle is an integral part of the history of economic thought. It has been used by writers such as Jevons (1871), Taussig (1896), Wicksell (1934, 1969) to illustrate and to help us understand capital theory. Since Hayek (1931) this geometrical figure has been used as a basic pedagogical device to explain the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT). The purpose of the present paper is to argue that the triangle is highly problematic, if not fatally flawed, and that if ABCT is to be made intelligible this tool of analysis must be either completely jettisoned, or heavily supplemented with a list (see below) of its shortcomings. Moreover in some ways the triangle has been responsible for the relative lack of development of ABCT for over a half century.

Key words: Austrian economics, business cycle theory, praxeology, economic geometry, triangles.

Clasificación JEL: E3, E32.

Resumen: El triángulo es una parte integral de la historia del pensamiento económico. Ha sido utilizado por escritores como Jevons (1871), Taussig (1896), Wicksell (1934, 1969) para ilustrar y ayudarnos a comprender la teoría del capital. Desde Hayek (1931) esta figura geométrica se ha utilizado como un instrumento pedagógico básico para explicar la teoría austriaca del ciclo económico. El propósito de este trabajo es sostener que el triángulo es altamente problemático, sino fatalmente defectuoso, por lo que si deseamos que la teoría austriaca del ciclo económico sea comprendida debemos desecharlo comple-tamente, o complementarlo fuertemente con una lista de sus limitaciones. Además, en algunos casos el triángulo ha sido responsable de la relativa falta de desarrollo de la teoría austriaca del ciclo durante un periodo de medio siglo.

Palabras clave: Economía austriaca, teoría del ciclo económico, praxeología, geometría económica, triángulos.


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How to Cite

Barnett II, W. ., & Block, W. . (2006). On Hayekian Triangles. REVISTA PROCESOS DE MERCADO, 3(2), 39–142. https://doi.org/10.52195/pm.v3i2.338