On George Selgin, Fractional Reserve Banking, and the Curious Sport of Insulting Austrian Economists

August 12, 2013
Don't make cats sad.

Don’t make cats sad.

Insulting Austrian economists is a popular sport among non-Austrian economists. Paul Krugman reigns as champion, with his latest feat of derogatory dexterity appearing in his column of July 16th, entitled The Paradox of Flexibility:

Well, Hazlitt has been wrong about everything for more than 80 years, and is still regarded as a guru. Bad ideas, it appears, are extremely robust in the face of contrary evidence.

Nice jab, Paul. Good one!

I was nonplussed this morning to witness George Selgin get in on the fun. Selgin is a self-styled former Austrian economist whom I understood as well regarded among the Austrian marketeers that I’ve heard speak. His lecture for the Austrians at the Ludwig von Mises Institute entitled The Private Supply of Money is one of my all time favorites from that outfit, so imagine my perverse interest when I happened upon a post of his entitled A Theory of Banking Made Out of Thin Air, which began thus:

Instances of self-styled Austrian economists bungling their banking theory seem almost as common these days as instances of theologians bungling their cosmology were six centuries ago.

Ouch, George! I didn’t know you could dish ’em out like that!  Read the rest of this entry »

The Amazing Atheist: Capitalism doesn’t work because shoppers are too stupid.

July 4, 2013

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” ~ Murray Rothbard

The Amazing Atheist thinks he’s got this economics stuff figured out. The relevant part begins a minute in:

Mr. Atheist actually begins his account of market economics with uncommon accuracy. He describes hamburger/harmonica exchange well enough, at least to start:  Read the rest of this entry »

If housepets could whine like human beings….

June 15, 2013

A good friend of mine posted the following cartoon to facebook, with instructions: “If house pets were libertarians. (And someone, please sketch the opposite…)”

If housepets were libertarians.

If housepets were libertarians.

The middle panel begs the question, in the logical sense. Of course, we humans have outside knowledge that the filter is absolutely necessary for the survival of the fish. The necessity of myriad government boondoggles however, is not so well established. The other two panels are reasonable to the extent that libertarians say these sorts of things.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Libertarians Mean By “The Free Market”: My Two Cents

May 26, 2013

From  Libertarianism.org, via Cato.org

I’ll just add my two cents to this:  Read the rest of this entry »

Student Loan Interest Rates: Elizabeth Warren Promises Bread and Circuses

May 24, 2013

At least two of my followees posted this on their FB feeds:

Oh gawd.

Oh gawd.

Posting something like this, without any caveats or qualifications, to me, is a symptom of Acute Economic Unawareness (AEU). Read the rest of this entry »

Yahoo! News republishes odd smear against Ron Paul and the Ludwig von Mises Institute

May 1, 2013

Yahoo! News always gets me with its bizarre headlines, so I had to stop for this one, published today, April 30th, 2013:

Ron Paul slams Boston Police. Has he gone too far?

Well, a side observation:

Beyond that, the article, penned by Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor, is an empty critique of Ron Paul’s blog post for LewRockwell.com entitled Liberty Was Also Attacked In Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Maher Criticizes Libertarians, Ignores Costs

April 7, 2013

Facebook: the ceaseless source of late-night blogfodder. I caught this post from Progressive Libertarianism and I had to investigate:

Screenshot from 2013-04-06 23:56:23

Those who follow the Progressive Libertarian page long enough discover that the people behind it are very thoughtful, apparently Austrian-inspired libertarians who regularly post progressive-inspired criticisms and interrogatories of libertarianism. It is a great page to follow for libertarians who are interested in isolating their core beliefs and discovering where they stand on various issues of contention among the libertarian community. Very well done, and kudos to them.

Regarding the above comment, I was immediately skeptical of Edgardo’s claim that intellectual superiority “does not matter when it comes to life itself”. Forget about whether libertarians are actually intellectually superior to anyone. I’m not vain enough to comment on that issue, but does intelligence generally carry no substance? If a guy happens to be intellectually superior to other people, and he uses his smarts to, say, invent something that millions of people find useful—perhaps something that makes acquiring food easier for millions of people—I would say that that “matters when it comes to life itself”, wouldn’t you? Read the rest of this entry »


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