Creative Commons License


"defense" spending action theory action-based jurisprudence actions altcoins American history Amsterdam anarchy antifragile Arthur C. Clarke audio YouTube Australia Austrian school Ayn Rand banking Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitstamp block size debate books bubble bureaucratic budgets business cycles Carl Menger civilization climate change collectivism commodity community Constitution deflation deflationary spiral demonetization digital signatures dualism duality economic cycles Economic history Economic theory economic theory economic voting economics Economics and society education encryption Energy entrepreneurship environment ethics evolution Evolutionary health exchange rates fantasy fear and media ffiat money fiat money Fiction Films flow Francis Pouliot game of thrones gaming Gavin Andresen Gaza Gedauges global warming gold gold standard Hans-Hermann Hoppe Happiness hashing Health Henry Hazlitt history Hugo Award winners hyperinflation hypermonetization ideology iintegral theory individual rights individualism inflation inherent value integral theory Isaac AsimovFri Jane McGonigal Jeff Volek Jeffrey Tucker Jörg Guido Hülsmann journalism JP Koning jurispurdence justice Katrina law legal theory legal theory lipid profiles litecoin Low carb Ludwig von Mises Matt Ridley media Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Military mining Mises monetary theory monetization money Mt. Gox Murray Rothbard Nassim Nicholas Taleb Nebula Award winners network effect Nolan Chart Nutrition Objectivism open-source Paleo paradox Peter Šurda Philipp Bagus philosophy police policy drivers policy objectives policy success Political philosophy political power political spectrum political voting Politics politics politics and science praxeology prcing Prices & Markets pricing Primal propaganda property rights psychology Randy Barnett redistribution of wealth regression theorem remittances reputation research Reviews Reviews revolution Rick Valkvinge rivalry Roderick T. Long Ron Paul Rothbard Satoshi Nakamoto satoshis scarcity science science fiction silver singularity state state and education state/business partnership statefree statistics Stephan Kinsella supreme court theocracy Training Biochemistry transaction malleability US history value voluntaryism Voting

The gutting of economics as an anti-state force by fear of offending the powers

The corruption of the academic world by state influence becomes more palpable the more one opens ones eyes to it. Why has economics, the most potent potential political force in history, become to most people an incomprehensible and seemingly pointless exercise, or the mysterious incantations of an anointed priesthood conversing with one another in their own secret language?

The following quotes from a recent biography of economist Ludwig Von Mises shed light on this question and also helped me more clearly understand why I chose not to continue in the academic economics track in the early 90s, and not to enter graduate school, but instead to continue studying on my own.

Even as an undergraduate, I was politely "guided" toward "more practical" directions than my study of classic treatises in Austrian economics in the Mengerian tradition onward, a discipline that is eminently comprehensible and offers clear policy prescriptions. Fortunately, the college culture was "free thinking" enough that I was able to continue on my course and still complete my degree (that's why I had chosen the college to begin with, in fact).

The discussion below is about the 1920s (emphasis mine).

"Because of this ostracism of genuine economists, those who held (or hoped to hold) academic positions in political economy became eager to avoid any behavior that could offend the powers that be. The most innocent strategy was to understate one's findings when they risked upsetting certain powerful social groups."

"In a similar vein, an increasing number of young economists turned their attention to abstract and technical problems that did not have any political implications unwelcome to their employers. This helps explain the success of mathematical economics, econometrics, Keynesian economics, and game theory after WWII."

"The transformation of economics into a self-absorbed technical discipline made it politically toothless. A mere 'theory' based on fictitious stipulations and therefore without scientifically valid implications for public policy was no threat to vested interests, and the champions of this theory did not have to fear reprisals. Clearly, this state of affairs suited the majority in the economics profession, both employers and employees. But it was disastrous for science, human liberty, and economic progress."

Hülsmann (2007), Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 549-552.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Prices should be falling | Main | The intellectual disease, and part of the inoculation »