By Federico N. Fernández
Presentation of the first Juan Carlos Cachanosky Memorial Lecture, given by Federico N. Fernández at the Eighth International Conference “The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century,” held at the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) in Vienna, Austria on November 13 and 14, 2019.
One of the main reasons why there are so many Austrian events and so many Austrian economists in Rosario (Argentina) was Juan Carlos Cachanosky. Why? Because he was in charge of creating an Economics Department at the Catholic University, and he hired quite a few Austrian-leaning professors there, as well as some Chicagoans. Most of these gentlemen are still teaching there to this day. And this was the kind of work Juan Carlos did all his life: everywhere he passed by, he transformed it into a better place.
In the early 80s, Juan Carlos met Hans Sennholz, who happens to be the person to get a PhD under the guidance of Ludwig von Mises. Juan Carlos wanted Sennholz to be the advisor to his doctoral dissertation. In an interview with Adrián Ravier, Juan Carlos said that Sennholz was skeptical at first. When Juan Carlos mentioned the topic of his thesis, however, he agreed almost immediately. It was on the use of mathematics in economics. When Juan Carlos finished his defense, Sennholz told him that Mises had asked him to write about that very same topic, but he never did. So, by directing Cachanosky’s thesis, he felt he was finally paying off the debt to his master. The thesis is available online and in English at this point thanks to the efforts of Journal Libertas and Peter Boettke and Gabriel Zanotti, who translated it with their own comments.
Juan Carlos’ interests were manifold, reaching from value-based management and an analysis of the Great Depression of 1929 all the way to value and price theory. He came up with the illuminating idea that Marx, in fact, did not use an objective theory of value, but of price. And on top of this he was a fantastic entrepreneur. He was a pioneer of online education in Argentina and Latin America back in the 90s. He led many successful educational projects in the region. That is one of the reasons why he created so many disciples and new Austrians.
Juan Carlos had leading roles at the Catholic University, ESEADE, UFM, and CMT group. He had a lovely wife and three great children. His two sons are Austrian Economists themselves. Juan Carlos passed away prematurely in 2015 at the age of 62. He was, without doubt, the most brilliant Austrian economist from the Spanish-speaking world, especially – but not only – because of his intellectual greatness. Beyond that, he was an exceptional human being, one of the most generous and funny I’ve ever met. He is dearly missed.
At least, there are many in today’s world who continue his work and who are equally brilliant in their intellectual work as in their personal character. Robert Murphy is one such figure. Like Juan Carlos, Bob is not only a brilliant economist but an extremely generous person, always helping with projects that promote Austrian Economics and free markets. It is for this reason as well that it was him who we invited to give the first Juan Carlos Cachanosky Memorial Lecture at our Austrian Economics Conference.
Federico N. Fernández is Executive Director at Somos Innovación (a Latin American pro innovation alliance), Senior Fellow with the Austrian Economics Center (Vienna, Austria) and Founder and President of Fundación Internacional Bases (Rosario, Argentina). He is also the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Conference “The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century.”