Since its Founding Fathers, the Austrian School has taken for granted the following two theses: a) subjectivism, and b) the idea that the free market satisfactorily coordinates the actions of people. Lachmann’s works show that the two theses are not easily compatible. As he argued, the subjectivism of expectations introduces much instability in the market process: we can no longer be sure that there is a tendency to a state of equilibrium or “rest”. In this paper, I shall focus on a single argument proposed by Lachmann. I believe that this argument is wrong, and yet it is wrong in an interesting way. A critical analysis of the argument leads to a different notion of equilibrium and shows how institutions play a major role in the coordination of human actions. Both theses are not original in themselves. However, the refutation of Lachmann’s argument provides us with new insight on both issues and gives us an idea about how deeply connected they are. My analysis is basically epistemological in kind. As we shall see, Lachmann misunderstood the nature of scientific laws and empirical uniformities, both in the social and natural world.
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