New Book Launched: “An Austrian in Argentina. Essays in Honor of Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr” (Edited by Juan Carlos Cachanosky, Guillermo Covernton, Federico N. Fernández, and Kurt Leube)

by Federico N. Fernández*

Thanks to the generous invitation of Juan Carlos Cachanosky and Kurt Leube I had the pleasure to co-edit a book in honor of Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr. The Festschrift is titled “An Austrian in Argentina. Essays in Honor of Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr” and is comprised of articles written by some of the greatest contemporary thinkers of the Austrian tradition in Latin America.

Benegas Lynch is a key figure of classical liberalism and Austrian economics for the Spanish speaking world. He has authored more than twenty books and countless articles. Scholars like James Buchanan, Jean-Francois Revel, and the Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek have written forewords for some of his books. He has always been a staunch and uncompromising defender of the ideas of freedom and open society. Benegas Lynch has reflected on many areas and has made multiple original contributions. Lately, he has been writing on matters related to determinism and free will and about education.

By the way, my humble contribution to the book had to do with matters of philosophy of mind. Using a Popperian toolkit, I approached the ideas of Paul Churchland and his so-called eliminative materialism.

The book is a real “who’s who” of the Austrian Libertarian scene of Argentina. From that country come the contributions of Juan Carlos Cachanosky, Martín Krause, Adrián Ravier, Gabriel Zanotti, Guillermo Covernton, Alejandro Gómez, and Sebastián Landoni. These are accompanied by Ramón Parellada (Guatemala), Robert Hessen (USA), and two “real” Austrians — Kurt Leube and Vinzenz von Thurn.

Alberto Benegas Lynch in Rosario for the Fifth International Austrian Conference.
Table of Contents
Preface. Alberto Benegas Lynch, by Vinzenz Thurn
Foreword by Juan Carlos Cachanosky
Justicia y eficiencia: Aportes al debate desde la informalidad (Martín Krause)
Machlup: un puente entre Mises y Lakatos (Gabriel J. Zanotti)
La inmoralidad del populismo (Alejandro Gómez)
Hayek, Pinochet y la democracia limitada (Adrián Ravier)
Función empresarial: entre ignorancia y libertad (Juan Sebastián Landoni)
Socialism: an Obituary? (Robert Hessen)
On Some Unintended Consequences Of The European Welfare State (Kurt R. Leube)
Algunos apuntes sobre la superioridad moral del capitalismo, a partir de “La mentalidad anticapitalista” de Ludwig von Mises y del pensamiento de Alberto Benegas Lynch (h) (Guillermo Luis Covernton)
Against the Old and the Familiar: Popper, Churchland, and Eliminative Materialism (Federico N. Fernández)
Alberto Benegas Lynch H. en Guatemala (Ramón Parellada C.)
Entrerpreneurial Profit: the Metrics (Juan Carlos Cachanosky)

This book simply gathered a group of friends who wanted to celebrate the life and work of a great scholar. Classical liberalism, in Argentina and in the rest of the world, needs more people like Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr. Each and every one who has written for this collection of essays has a debt of gratitude to Alberto which, at least in my case, will be impossible to be paid.

One evening in the late 90s I was watching TV without being able to find anything. Eventually I stopped at a news cable channel where Alberto Benegas Lynch was talking about his latest book at that time. The book was “Las oligarquías reinantes” (The ruling oligarchies) in which he tackled many issues. The discussion was very lively and Benegas gave very clear answers every time he spoke. However, I was not convinced. In fact, I thought that what Benegas was saying was, at best incorrect, and at worst lunatic. Nonetheless, I watched the whole show. And everything he said kept me thinking.

The next morning I woke up still thinking about the words of this person that I didn’t know existed some hours ago. At noon I decided that I would buy his book. Worst case scenario, I’d lose a few dollars. I read it from cover to cover in a couple of hours. I literally couldn’t stop reading it. And I hadn’t stopped ever since. Benegas opened a new world for me and introduced to ideas and thinkers I didn’t know. I remember hunting for his old books at used books shops and being very happy and excited every time I found the next jewel.

I met him some years after my “conversion” and last year he was so kind to accept our invitation to be one of the Keynote Speakers of the Fifth International Conference “The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century.” We organized a small tribute for him and gave him a copy of Juan Bautista Alberdi’s book “El crimen de la guerra” (The crime of war) as a present. Everybody at the conference gladly signed the dedication we wrote that said: “To a life changing lives.”

[“An Austrian in Argentina. Essays in Honor of Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr” is available on Amazon]

* Federico N. Fernández is Senior Fellow of the Austrian Economics Center (Vienna, Austria) and Vice president of Fundación Bases (Rosario, Argentina)

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