[star]The American Mind[star]

November 11, 2003

Kling's Take on Austrian Economics

Arnold Kling is confusing the Austrian School of economics with the paleolibertarianism of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell. Kling comments:

The reason that I only scored a 78 is that I took the title of the quiz literally ("are you an Austrian"), so I answered with my own beliefs, knowing that they diverged in some cases with the Austrian School. For example, I subscribe to the quaint notion of national defense. When tyrants and would-be tyrants ask about our President, as Stalin once asked Churchill about the Pope, "How many divisions does he have?" I would like the answer to be "more than enough to smash you!" The Austrian School thinks that you do not need a government to provide national defense. The Mises.org weblog is as eager as any Dean Democrat to see the U.S. fail in Iraq.

The Mises Institute group is deeply influence by Murray Rothbard, a student of Mises and and the second-most influential thinker (behind Ayn Rand) of the libertarian movement. These Austrians are highly critical of any governmental activities. Why they don't overtly call themselves anarchists, I don't know. They don't even admit to being anarcho-capitalists. To them, government fails at everything it touches. It's not only bad at educating children, managing trade, writing environmental regulations, managing health care for the elderly and poor, running welfare, and running the post office; it's also bad at defending the country (even though we haven't endured a serious invasion since the War of 1812) and handling monetary policy.

But the Rothbardians aren't the only branch of the Austrian School. From my observations, most non-Rothbardians focus more on economic research than libertarian political economy.

For a response to Kling's article, Mateusz Machaj has a post on the Mises Economics Blog.

"The Sect of Austrian Economics"


Charles Oliver took the Austrian quiz and notes, "Actually, it should be how Rothbardian are you? Mises, Hayek, Kirzner and many other Austrians would have failed to get 100% if they took this quiz."

Catallarchy.net also has a few posts on Kling and the quiz.

"The Ubiquitous Quiz"

"Burn the Heretics"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:04 PM | Comments (5)