He tutored Austria's Crown Prince before being named chair of Political Economy in Vienna's Law Faculty.

According to Ludwig von Mises, "until the end of the [1870s] there was no Austrian School. There was only Carl Menger." Yet Menger's Principles of Economics, the manifesto of the Austrian School, was little read when first published -- the situation for many works ahead of their time.

Many dismissed Menger's theories as "subjectivist" and unscientific. But where others saw subjectivity, Menger saw the heart and soul of economics: individuals acting to satisfy their wants. It was this wholly natural impulse, according to the Principles, that dictated all economic activity, from trade to consumption to price systems.