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The road to Austrian school

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Anton Posted: Sat, Mar 5 2011 11:16 AM

As a newcomer to the Mises Community I would like first of all say "hello" to all of you. Secondly, I would like to share with you my story of becoming an Austrian and, consequently, libertarian.

Reading  in last August comments on an article on The Economist which, as I now realize, contained a fundamental disagreement between keinesians and austrians - on the role of savings in economy,  I was attracted by a post  suggesting reading Henry Hazlitt's "Failure of the New Economics" as a brilliant rebuttal of  keynesism as well as other works on  "Austrian theory of  business cycle". As an undegraduate with major in economics I was intrigued by such an expression unknown to me (even though I've already attended course on macroeconomics),  so I started searching for details. Wikipedia provided me with basic information on the Austrian school and its main scholars. After half an hour or so I visited for the first time Ludwig von Mises Institute site and was at once impressed by the availability of free resouces and studying materials on the subject.

During the following months I' ve been constantly reading articles (particularly enjoing  Robert P. Murphy's ones) published there and looking through Literature and Media sections of the site. I also downloaded some works on ATBC and listened to the audios in Beginner's Guide in order to get some idea of the Austrian school...

Well, that's enough I think. All I wanted to say is that purely by accidence I found out about Mises, Hayek, Rothboard, and their great heritage which has been abandoned for a long time and which is maintained by this great source of knowledge.

So, how did you become an Austrian?

 

Sorry for my English

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Your English is perfect.

Welcome.

My humble blog

It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer

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Anton:
So, how did you become an Austrian?

Ron Paul => Lew Rockwell => Mises.org

And welcome Anton.  :)

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Anton replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 12:52 PM

You are too kind.  How did you become an Austrian?

Ron Paul => Lew Rockwell => Mises.org

I wish I could make such a succinct conclusion :)

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Well, to be more detailed, I was always an Austrian, I just did not know it yet.  Everything about the Austrian approach appeals to my cognitive processes.

Sometimes we are filled up with so much nonsense and lies, we just need one glimpse of truth, to find a way out of that dark place.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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skylien replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 1:12 PM

Hey there!

The crisis in 2008 woke me up. I thought all the things that are happening do absolutely make no sense, and it made me worry about my future. I had the feeling that I completely lost the ability to prepare for the oncoming future accordingly. So I started looking for answers.
All the people who said things which actually made sense to me, mentioned all once in a while the Austrian School, Vienna School, Mises and Hayek etc.. (People like Marc Faber, Peter Schiff, Claus Vogt, Reinhard Deutsch, Alexander Hahn..).

So I ordered a book of Mises at Amazon. It was Theory of Money and Credit. I had no idea of economics, and the expression marginal utility confused me heavily at the beginning...

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, qui custodes custodient? Was that right for 'Who watches the watcher who watches the watchmen?' ? Probably not. Still...your move, my lord." Mr Vimes in THUD!
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Anton replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 1:29 PM

Well, to be more detailed, I was always an Austrian, I just did not know it yet.  Everything about the Austrian approach appeals to my cognitive processes.

As for me, I have not been sure about my views until recently. Undoubtly, I was not a communist but I used to support government social programs until I read Hayek's "Road To Serfdom". This book had a great influence on me.

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Anton:
I was not a communist but I used to support government social programs until I read Hayek's "Road To Serfdom". This book had a great influence on me.

Me too.  It is number one (chronologically) in my list of Ten Books That Influenced Me.  I am an Austrian basically because I liked the sound of what Ron Paul was saying, and wanted to find out more about his views on the Fed, inflation and the business cycle.  So I followed his lead, found mises.org, and was hooked.

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Anton replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 2:36 PM

 It is number one (chronologically) in my list of Ten Books That Influenced Me.

So I can draw a conclusion that there are at least two ways leading to Austrian school: from the side of politics and economics. You and liberty student started with Ron Paul (I have not heard of him before but according to Wikipedia he is a congressman), and I was attracted  by a much more plausible (comparing with mainstream economics) explanation of business cycles.

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Zizzer replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 3:50 PM

I read Ron Paul's book The Revolution: a Manifesto and then got to this site and am still learning.

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G8R HED replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 3:58 PM

Andre Marrrou => Thomas Sowell => Jacob Hornberger => Lew Rockwell => Mises.org

Took me more than 40 years and 9/11 to chance upon mises.org.  I had never heard of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, or Rand before that.

I was an economics major back in the early '80s (punch-card computers and pac-man) but felt that there was something wrong with what they were trying to teach me.  I understood that different economic theories existed  (no mention of Mises or Austrianism) and they all sounded like they were just different approaches to a mathmatical quandry.  I wasn't much interested in pursuing the math required so I left school for an opportunity to be productive.  I've never regretted that decision to leave shool but wish I had come across Mises much earlier in life. 

Glad you showed up here, Anton, though I don't believe you being here is by accident - probably had something to do with just a little bit of rational consideration on your part somewhere along the line ... ;)   

"Oh, I wish I could pray the way this dog looks at the meat" - Martin Luther

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skylien replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 4:04 PM

It seems Ron Paul has an amazing power of getting people to AE. One of the first things I saw of him was his "What if" speech on YouTube. I especially like the Remastered version with Metallica's To Live is to Die as background music.

What if remasterd

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, qui custodes custodient? Was that right for 'Who watches the watcher who watches the watchmen?' ? Probably not. Still...your move, my lord." Mr Vimes in THUD!
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Eugene replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 5:09 PM

Thomas Sowell => PoliticsForum  => Libertarianism => mises.org

Took me about 4 years.

I think the Austrian school, and to some extent the Chicago school is very intuitive, very clear. This is so far from Keynesians with their complex formulas and graphs. The Austrians are very clear, basically you don't need to know anything beside the law of supply and demand. It is much more appealing than most other schools.

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As I recall I somehow stumbled upon Henry Hazlitt on wikipedia.  What follows from that discovery is obvious.

The Voluntaryist Reader: http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/ Libertarian forums that actually work: http://voluntaryism.freeforums.org/index.php
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I'd considered myself a classical liberal of sorts in the past, but I was economically illiterate. After the financial crisis in 2008 I went digging for answers and by chance stumbled upon Peter Schiff and then the Mises Institute, I think. The rest is history. 

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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Conza88 replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 9:05 PM

"So, how did you become an Austrian?"

Intellectual honesty and the knowledge / acceptance that I was completely ignorant, combined with an unyielding passion to find the truth.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Paul replied on Sun, Mar 6 2011 4:05 AM

Hazlitt's 'Failure' was also my first real Austrian experience. At about the same time that I discovered Ron Paul, early 2008. Had been of the 'Capitalist: The unknown ideal' school of economics prior to that, since 2005.

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Anton replied on Sun, Mar 6 2011 12:02 PM

Thank you for the replies. I really enjoyed reading them.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Mar 6 2011 5:53 PM

a

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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mwalsh replied on Sun, Mar 6 2011 6:06 PM

I know my journey goes back several years- it involved/started with Ron Paul's book on the need for a 100% gold dollar, into the recommended books/references, into Haziltt's both "Economics in One Lesson" and "The Failure of the 'New' Economics" to other books to eventually a book that referenced mises.org, and its has continually snowballed- must the the distain of my AP Econ teacher, as according to him, if I took this to heart, I would fail my AP exams.

 

Thankfully, I could write the opposite of what should be done or think through and explain why this would occur and write the right fluff to get a 4 on macro, and micro is the same so I could get a 5.

"To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be." - Unknown
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TANSTAAFL replied on Tue, Mar 8 2011 12:01 PM

I discovered my inner Austrian while at college.

After sitting through countless lectures on business and economics from mostly keynesians and a few monetarists, I became ever more disillusioned with what they were teaching.

The one event in my life that stands out was this meeting the faculty of the College of Business and Economics put on. The subject was the financial meltdown that caught everyone by surprise the previous fall. Most all of the students that attended were either required or recieving extra credit.

The faculty went on to talk about a few things. Made sure to tell us all not to "hoard" our money. The accounting rules would be changed. The bottom would be that coming summer and things would be back to "normal" in a short time.

I asked a question about what if Ron Paul is right, that the Fed is the problem, what will it take for people to see this and what would it take to change the status quo of the Fed. The arrogant dink who is now the dean, flatly stated Ron Paul was wrong and "suggested" I take his class on money and banking.

While walking to my car some kid said something to me about the "Austrians" were right. I had no idea who the Austrians were and when I got home I looked it up online. In short order I found this site. I have since been awakened to the truth.

 

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J.R.M. replied on Tue, Mar 8 2011 9:26 PM

Interestingly enough my entry point was "beltway libertarianism" even though I have always considered myself a radical, and anti-politicians. (although I was left leaning most of my life).  Reason does have some good stuff, and I still subscribe to the feed, but skip most of it.  Cato, I found I could do without entirely. ;)

There were always things that I didn't agree with the left on (such as gun control & democrats), and once I started learning about economics, there came to be many things I disagreed with the left on!

reason.com => lewrockwell.com/rothbard =>mises.org

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Anton:
So, how did you become an Austrian?

Welcome, friend.  I'm always intrigued to hear of other people's journey's here as well.  For me, the short version is

Adam Carolla ⇒ John Stossel ⇒ Ron Paul

(YouTube) ⇒ Thomas Sowell ⇒ Milton Friedman ⇒ Peter Schiff ⇒ Mises.org

 

I actually started really studying after this podcast from Adam Carolla.  It reminded me of John Stossel, whom I used to watch all the time on 20/20.  I started looking for clips from his segments online, and of course found plenty on YouTube.  I discovered Milton Friedman early on thanks to this famous clip, which I'm sure you've seen...and proceeded to devour every bit of content I could that he was featured in.  That of course led me Thomas Sowell, which led me to the Mises Institute (actually because of this critique).  I believe I found Reason through looking through the channel subscriptions and recommendations of channels on YouTube I liked.  It's funny, my first experience with Cato was years ago, when Tom Leykis recommended Warren Farrell's book Why Men Earn More.  I found his lecture at the institute when looking for more info on him.  Had no idea what sort of organization Cato was.  Then a few years later I ran into it again when I came across this write up from Glenn Greenwald on drug decriminalization.  As I figured out more and more that I was libertarian, I looked into the content more.

As far as economics goes, I wasn't sure about the Austrian tradition at first.  I didn't spend a lot of time on Mises.org.  I wasn't sure how exactly it differed from Chicago and I was bit torn.  There was so much content featuring Friedman on YouTube as well as other places and after going through so much of it, and hearing all those ideas for the first time, and the way he presented them, I found it hard to conceive there being much more accurate assessments out there.  Everything he said made so much sense, and the way he was able to explain it, and just destroy anyone who tried to debate him (and with that soft conversational tone too), made me a huge fan.  I discovered Hayek as a founder of the Austrian School partly through his association with Chicago.  And every time I would search for an economic topic online, I almost always came across an article on Mises.org specifically about that subject.  (Thank you Mises Daily).

I also discovered Ron Paul through all the videos posted of him going back and forth with Bernanke.  Then in my looking for Stossel videos, I found his full length interview with Paul, and after watching that, I was a full supporter.  Sometime in there I discovered Peter Schiff.  I think it was when I was looking into explanations of inflation and the economic crisis.  I found his famous "Peter Schiff was right" video  and then his lecture Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One  (video) (which, incidently was a Mises event).  Eventually I made the connection between Schiff, Paul, and LvMI.  As I learned more and more, I evolved from knowing essentially nothing other than John Stossel made a heck of a lot of sense, to being a believer in the Chicago School, to being curious about Mises and Hayek, to finally becoming a Classical liberal Austrian who visits Mises.org daily.  I discovered the Constitution.  I discovered libertarianism.  I discovered real economics.  It sounds a little sad and almost pathetic, but YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, and Mises.org (and iTunes podcasts) have been quite possibly the most influential teachers I've ever had.

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CrazyCoot replied on Thu, Mar 10 2011 7:11 AM

I took the brown acid and Hoppe appeared to me in a vision.

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Why do I not find that hard to believe angel

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cporter replied on Thu, Mar 10 2011 8:24 AM

I had already begun my own search for knowledge when I found LvMI. Something seemed wrong about the assumptions and conclusions of what economics I knew, but I didn't know what. By chance some friends mentioned Walter Block, and when I went to find his works I was led here.

Hunch => Friends => LvMI, I guess.

 

Anton,

Never stop questioning the conclusions of Austrians.

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Hello and Welcome!

I would say I was always a libertarian, but until about 2006-2007, I still held onto the idea that things were ok the way they are.

My path would have been....

Friends => LP => 9/11 =>Alex Jones/Ron Paul => Political BBs online => Autolykos => Anarchy/LvMI

I can't say I'm all about AE, but I have a feeling that's because I'm ridiculously ignorant about AE at the moment.  But the more I stick around here the more I learn.  :)  Though, I did take the largest and probably most important leap from a minarchist to an anarchist by way of the realization that without state, I am, at the very least, no worse off than I am today.  My fear was always "Well, I'm a single mom. How would I not be a target walking down the street with my child in the absence of state?"  When I realized the answer is simply, "I'm already a target... and neither the law nor police change that..."  I broke down that last fearful barrier to what I believe to be the more consistent position.

I hope your stay here is as enlightening for you as it has been for me so far!

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Slowly replied on Thu, Mar 10 2011 9:14 AM

> So, how did you become an Austrian?

 

During my journey to become a profitable futures trader.

 

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JonnyD replied on Thu, Mar 10 2011 10:12 AM

Loose change 911 => New World Order => Alex Jones => Ron Paul => Islam/Religion => Spirituality => Drugs =>  Freeman Movement => FreedomainRadio => Self Knowledge => Atheism => Anarchy => Economics => Therapy => Freedom

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To begin with, some background: I attended a private middle school somehow managed by a bunch of hippies. It's in Woodstock, and though the festival never actually took place there, anything there almost invariably reeks of hippie-ness. Naturally, attending there meant being annoyed by the self-righteous and incoherent prattling of said hippies, especially the case because I was Mr. Socially Awkward Nerd Kid. The "officially accepted" reaction to this is neoconnishness, so I spent my late middle school years as a sort of mainstream spouter of generic GOP talking points.

I was actually browsing PortalOfEvil one day at age 13, a site that had links to bizarre sites that were usually hilarious and easy to mock (fat men wearing skirts, sites made by clearly mentally ill individuals rattling about how certain films are prophetic pertaining to their personal lives, etc.). One of the sites listed, though, was LewRockwell.com - it was ostensibly "kooky" and "neo-Confederate." I looked at it, and was intrigued by the take on the Civil War that several of the front page articles (one of which was by Thomas Woods and the other by Tom DiLorenzo, if I recall correctly) had - I already knew that Lincoln wasn't a perfect demigod from a passing comment (literally just about one sentence) by my middle school history teacher that he held some racist viewpoints, but I didn't understand why negative aspects about the man were just about never discussed by anyone, and didn't know quite how bad he was. I then bought The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, and somehow (I forget exactly how) found Scott Horton's radio archives of The Weekend Interview Show and the even older Philip Dru Interviews, continuing to browse LewRockwell.com as well (which, of course, inevitably led me to Rothbard's articles, giving me my first knowledge of the Austrian School). The links on Scott Horton's sites led me to Mises.org, which I've been browsing for years. I just now decided to actually join the forum.

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Jim Object replied on Sun, Mar 13 2011 10:17 PM

Rand, Hazlitt, Rothbard

Check out our "Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market" Facebook Study Group. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_208910699119151&ap=1 I have a blog at http://JimObject.com.
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I was introduced to Austrian Econ by Ron Paul, but I do not remember how I came across Ron Paul. Ron Paul mentioned Austrian Econ in one of his congressional hearing, I typed Austrian Econ in youtube, I saw the Economics in One Lesson video series, then I read Economics in one lesson, and bam, I was converted! After reading Hazlitt's book, I changed my major from nuclear engineering to Economics.

My Blog: http://www.anarchico.net/

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Using liberty student's operators:

Co-Worker and Ron Paul supporter => Ron Paul => Mises.org

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UC Berkeley public policy class => The Economist magazine => free market economics => libertarian web wites in general => Mises.org => Austrian Economics

I'm a bit older than most here (33), so I'm probably one of the few people here whose discovery of liberalism and Austrian Economics had nothing to do with Ron Paul.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Ron Paul ain't just for young people!  I'm in my mid-30s.  :)

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Anton replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 11:57 AM

Daniel James Sanchez:
I'm a bit older than most here (33), so I'm probably one of the few people here whose discovery of liberalism and Austrian Economics had nothing to do with Ron Paul.

I don't understand connection between young age and Ron Paul.

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@Anton

The vast majority of Ron Paul's popularity is from the internet...

but his policies even appeal to young people..for example, the issue of social security. Ron Paul understands that young people today should not be paying for SS if there is going to be a high probalility that we aren't going to have it in the future...

My Blog: http://www.anarchico.net/

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I don't understand connection between young age and Ron Paul.

The internet because a lot of 2007 Ron Paul supporters are in the generation that did not grow up with the internet, but built it into what it is today.

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Anton replied on Tue, Mar 15 2011 1:30 PM

Oh, I got it.

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Just read this and it reminded me of this thread, so I figured it would make for a good bump.  A great article by Rockwell on Human Action begins by describing an intellectual journey that I think most of us can relate to:

"Everyone interested in ideas has surely had the following experience. You become curious about a certain topic. You start with periodicals, read a bit more deeply become engaged more broadly, and start to buy and check out book after book.  Pretty soon you have a good-sized library developing. You speak the language. You know the players. You apply the ideas to understanding the world. But there are still gaps, and you dig and dig to fill them.

Then one day you run across something completely different: a book that not only incorporates all that you learned so far, but surpasses them all in breadth and depth. You marvel at how much time and energy you might have saved had you run across this earlier. The mind behind the book is so impressive that it makes all the other authors seem like bit players.

What's more, the author makes available to you something you sought but could never find and didn't even know existed: a rigorously defended theoretical structure that turns scattered bits of knowledge into a bulletproof edifice of thought."

I was lucky enough to find the Mises Institute and the great works of our time quite early on in my journey, so that I didn't have to end up asking myself "why didn't I find out about this sooner"...thanks to the wonders of Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Mises.org  (Although, I actually did end up asking myself that question...as I'm sure everyone else agrees these things should be taught from an early age...as opposed to one having to seek them out on his own).

 

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