The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 293–312 | Cite as

Uncertainty, human action and scenarios

An Austrian theory based decision support tool for business strategy and public policy
  • Paul Dragos Aligica


The “scenario method,” “scenario building,” or “multiple futures analysis” emerged during the last decades as a premier instrument for strategic planning and decision making in conditions of uncertainty. This article demonstrates that there is an intrinsic link between the scenario method and Austrian theory not only at the level of basic epistemological principles but also at the methodological and applied levels. The article also argues that the scenario method could easily be embraced as a part of the Austrian family of ideas and more precisely as one of the key policy applications or decision support tools informed by that school of thought. Blending explicitly and systematically the scenario method with the Austrian ideas and forcefully making the case for the scenario approach as a policy and business administration tool, is thus one of the most effective ways of reasserting the importance of Austrian insights in areas such as business studies, public policy, and organizational theory, areas that currently have a limited exposure to Austrian ideas.


Austrian economics Scenario building Analytic narratives 



I am grateful to the participants in the “Spontaneous Orders” conference sponsored by Atlas Foundation at Mercatus Center in January 2005 and to the referees for their constructive comments on initial versions of this article. The article contains several paragraphs and a section adapted from Paul Aligica “The Challenge of the Future and the Institutionalization of Interdisciplinarity”, Futures, Vol. 36, 2003, and “Scenarios and the Growth of Knowledge”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, No. 3, 2005.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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