About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Attention: Austrian Economics Nerds!

There is an interesting discussion in progress over at Cato Unbound called "Theory and Practice in the Austrian School."

Steven Horwitz kicked the debate off with an article titled: The Empirics of Austrian Economics.

Essentially Horwitz argues that Austrian economics has been given a bum rap by mainstream critics. Austrians, Horwitz says, are not all merely armchair theorists. Some Austrians actually do empirical research, he states, and in many cases do it better than mainstream economists.

In a post at The Circle Bastiat, Daniel James Sanchez contributes his two cents worth writing:
Horwitz’s error is to think that, if you introduce assumptions to your theorizing because of experience, that makes the result “empirical” or “applied theory”.  But that is not the case.  For the truth of a theory, it makes no difference why it was constructed the way it was (that is to say, why it includes the assumptions it does).  A self-contained theorem is true or false based on its logical structure, regardless of whether the assumptions are introduced because of experience, because of pure fancy, or for any other reason.
Bryan Caplan takes a completely different tact in criticizing the Horwitz article. He claims that the Austrians Horwitz cites as doing empirical research are really doing mainstream economics using Austrian lingo:
But if Austrians can translate their empirical insights into mainstream language and sell them to a broad audience, why don’t they use mainstream language in the first place? Austrian contributions will continue to be undervalued as long as they continue to spend most of their time talking to each other in their own eccentric dialect.
Though they do empirical research, Caplan asserts, Austrians contribute no insights to this research that are "uniquely Austrian."

On Monday, George A. Selgin will weigh in. On Wednesday, Antony Davies has his say. 

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