An Essay by a good friend of mine

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Elutherian, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. Elutherian
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    Elutherian BadMother****er

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    You don't have to read it, but for those who want to know about Austrian vs. Keynesian economics it's a damn good read:

    At the end of the day Liberal economists must recognize that they do not have a clue when it comes to the business cycle. And that the Austrian track record is second to none. But rather than concede to the point they have taken an arbitrary way of attacking the Austrian school of economics. Rather like a child who knows that he has just been caught doing something wrong many in the mainstream economics community simply resorts to pointing out nonsensical and irrelevant (to the argument of who's theories are correct) points about the Austrian School. There favored attack being that Austrian Economics is a non-empirical approach to economics.

    Now what does it mean to be empirical to them? They hold that looking through history and lumping arbitrary figures (sometimes two economic statistics that have nothing to do with one another) and then have the audacity to claim that they can predict the future based upon there statistical findings. Mises illustrated it best when he criticized the "empirical" approach in the following way: They claim to have economic knowledge predicated on their gathered statistics, the statistics themselves are chosen at random (meaning that an economists could conveniently warp the figures to appear in his favor...we will discuss GDP and Employment stats at the end, with them being a case in point). Upon randomly selecting these statistics the economists will use these for his or her claims about the future. The absurdity of this as Mises so masterfully pointed out can be represented in an example: Let us say that we took all the average ages of all U.S Senators over the history of the U.S and then we claimed to be able to predict the future average ages of the U.S Senators for the 2010 election based on our average. The past senators have absolutely no relevance to the the current senators in terms of ages. As senators are not elected based on ages...this does not me that we cannot come to a conclusion as to the historical average...and certainly does not negate lucky guesses. But it still in no way shape or form can help us to accurately predict the future ages of senators.

    So what then of the Mises tradition? How do we come to our economic conclusions? Our approach is deductive. We first reason based upon given human knowledge about the human existence as to what occurs in economics life. It is indeed philosophy, and that is where the critics come in. We are attacked because are approach is said to be philosophical and therefore irrelevant to any conversation on the topic of economics. But consider this Supply and Demand were concepts developed based on philosophy, the "empiricist" argument would claim then that these concepts are irrational, and unrealistic. Therefore if the price of something were to exponentially rise...you wanting less of it is unrealistic and irrational. Consider further the deductive approach in the development of most empirical sciences is an integral part of the sciences development. Physics was derived from mathematics which was derived from philosophical reasoning. Are we to say now that all mathematics and Physics must therefore be irrational and unrealistic (well if the Keynesian says so because we all know that Paul Krugman is way smarter than Steven Hawking or Einstein or Newton)?

    Even after the Austrian economics deductive approach we then look at the statistics much the same as physicists apply their mathematics to experiments. If the statistics are completely opposite to the deduction then the theory is reconsider, but the theories are born out of reasoning.

    The next criticism is one of strict mathematics...the other schools are critical because Austrian economics is less mathematical in its approach. The folly here on the part of the mainstream is that when they state mathematics they typically mean their basic linear math. They apply this math to the actions of man...degrading the position of a human to a being with a more Static approach to his reality than a Dynamic approach. Essentially the simplistic math when applied assumes that humans have constant behaviors. And considering linear functions...they typically only look at a few variables. For instance a mans supply and demand for bread v.s cheese. Now while these simple situations might be great for illustrating economic points and concepts, to claim at any time that they represent reality is absolutely foolish. Any one of us might want bread, cheese, fruit roll-ups, candy, or it doesn't even have to be food perhaps we want a gun or a book. These linear functions will always fall short of explaining the true dynamic nature of man. Each man or woman will have millions of considerations in his or her economics life...base on millions of factors. Consider the fact that your economic opinions in reality are based even upon your location...if I for instance am in Old Town Fort Collins and am hungry at the moment I will be more likely to go out to eat in old town. As opposed to home, unless I haven't any money then I would head home. If I'm home and have a lot of money I might go out or might not for food depending on my mood (the mood being something completely unquantifiable). So with completely unquantifiable moods and millions of inputs for my decision making process the Austrian approach is much more scientific than that of the so called "empiricist."

    Now to further consider the claim that is made by the empiricist and the approach of the Austrians. We need to further look into Human Action and moods of a man in the realm of reality. The best approach will be to understand Epicurus' Dilemma. This deals with essentially the problem that physicists have been trying to solve for years. In certain areas of our reality Newtonian physics is the best approach for trajectories of objects and that sort of thing. But the Dilemma lye's within man himself, a human can choose various options and can reason different decisions his reality is non-deterministic whereas a trajectory would be. His reality is probabilistic, subject to choice. The true brilliance of Ludwig von Mises was shown in the fact that he seemed to recognize the faults of the other economic approaches as being non nonsensical. We can take this further by saying that when a Keynesian or Monetarist claims that they can make inferences on human action based upon their simplistic linear mathematics they are essentially making the claim that once again they are smarter than the bests physicists and have solved Epicurus' Dilemma a concept which has been in existence since the time of the ancient Greeks.

    As for the future of Austrian economics and its approach to Human Action...there are now advancements being made in the area of probabilistic realities. As the years go by I do believe we will see Austrian School become more mathematical in its approach...but the math that will be its basis will be grounded in with the sound concepts of drawn out in "Human Action." Some books that I would recommend for my friends interested in mathematics that could be applied to economics in a rational way can be found in these books: Ilya Prigogine's "The End of Certainty," and "Chaos" by James Gleick. (They are oriented towards quantum physics, but are written clearly and concisely the compliments to Human Action are astounding).
     
  2. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Yes but has it (a) been implemented anywhere? and (b) if it was implemented anywhere, did it work?

    Sorry about the empiricism :D
     
  3. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    There is an Austrian working out in California, that is not working out so good.
     
  4. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    :lol:

    Yep if they win a Total Recall he'll simply tell them "I'll be back!" :redface:
     
  5. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    If they vote him back then they should learn to live with empty wallets.
     

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