The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 123–137 | Cite as

Alienation and rationality—The retreat of postwar socialism

  • Petrik RunstEmail author
  • Steven Horwitz


Postwar socialist thought, such as the Frankfurt School, retreated from the Social Sciences due to its theoretical and empirical failures, as well as the discovery of Marx’ Paris Manuscripts. It shifted its emphasis away from exploitation. Instead, it dealt with human alienation in a prosperous world and other more philosophical concerns, such as the nature of rationality. We show that the Frankfurt School is not unique in dealing with these topics. The writings of F.A. Hayek, and, to a lesser extent, James Buchanan, focus on surprisingly similar observations but arrive at different conclusions. We also argue that the modern version of socialism is flawed.


Frankfurt School Socialist thought Classical liberalism 

JEL codes

B13 B14 P11 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsInstitute for Small Business Economics, Göttingen (ifh)GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsSt. Lawrence UniversityCantonUSA

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