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A new kind of class: Austrian economics

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A new kind of class

Austrian economics a different take on an economics course that students praise. 

Oklahoma State University continues to be one of the few universities in the nation to offer an Austrian economics course, and will begin to teach Entrepreneurship in Society at the Spears School of Business.

Available in fall 2021, Austrian economics studies human action and decisions, inspired in self-interest, how the overall economy works, and the origins that drive the market. Developing for 150 years this year, the practice focuses more on the theory of real economics rather than mathematical models or formulas. 

“It’s really helped me understand the economy to where I can explain it to other people. Before taking this class, I didn’t know where prices came from. I was an economics major, and I never thought to question how we got prices, and that’s the most basic thing ever. [Professor Per Bylund] just explained it, and it was crazy. I’ve never talked about this in economics class and I’ve been an econ major for years. It just helped me understand the world and take different Austrian Theories and apply them to other situations as well,” Joey Hoecker, OSU graduate in economics and marketing, said. 

One of the main goals of Bylund, assistant professor at Oklahoma State’s School of Entrepreneurship, with Austrian economics was to allow students to attach all the ideas they have learned in different classes at Spears, granting students a unique perspective over the true meanings and systems behind the economy. Such a perspective is not commonly taught in universities nationally, or even world-wide. 

“It’s just a more unusual approach and not as many scholars are trained in that particular approach, but I think it’s a growing movement and I would expect to see its presence on campuses increase in the years to come. So, you guys are kind of ahead of the curve,” Peter Klein, professor in the department of entrepreneurship at Baylor, said. 

Entrepreneurship in Society will be taught for the first time this fall by Bylund, a course that studies how different political, sociological and economical aspects affect an entrepreneur.

“In entrepreneurship, we teach the first period of the business and how to start it and then you have management, you have accounting, you have marketing, and basically all the departments of a corporation, but we don’t have a real look at the business context. Where is the business? How is the business? How does it work with respect to society and the economy overall? How does it affect the institutions in society? It’s the interplay between business or enterprise and all the levels of society, whether it is politics, war, norms, or culture,” Bylund said. 

According to Bylund, entrepreneurship schools tend to focus more on the establishment of a business in general, which is the reason why the course is so rare. He brought the issue up to Spears, and they were willing to take on the offer. 

“It wouldn’t surprise me if other universities followed suit and do what we are doing,” Bylund said.