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Rothbard refuted!

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Meistro posted on Wed, Apr 11 2012 5:39 PM

Say what?

 

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/whyaust.htm

 

I don't really understand everything this dude is saying but it's definitely an interesting read.  I think I see a few flaws in his thinking but I will let more learned mines rebut his criticisms (or accept them!)

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

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Repooooost. Someone else will post the link to the threads which cover this. I am guessing JJ will do it.

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MMMark replied on Wed, Apr 11 2012 6:21 PM

Wed. 12/04/11 19:22 EDT
.post #137

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/11375.aspx
https://mises.org/Community/forums/p/23038/401678.aspx
https://mises.org/Community/forums/p/27718/453354.aspx

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O

M

G

Right on schedule.

 

 

There really is no excuse for this one.  All you have to do is search for "caplan" and virtually every thread that comes up has to do with this nonsense article.

 

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He delivers. Don't mind his slightly crude style but do attempt to use the searchbar before posting it. After reading past threads, you can create a new one if still unsatisfied.

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Hey, they guy may have 45 posts but he created his account almost a full three and a half years before I even knew about this place.  I wouldn't necessarily call him a newb.

 

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Wheylous:
[John James] delivers. Don't mind his slightly crude style but do attempt to use the searchbar before posting it. After reading past threads, you can create a new one if still unsatisfied.

"Slightly crude style"? Slightly?

You have to be kidding me.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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John James:
Hey, they guy may have 45 posts but he created his account almost a full three and a half years before I even knew about this place.  I wouldn't necessarily call him a newb.

In my opinion, that still in no way justifies the unequivocally harsh response you gave him.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Autolykos:

"Slightly crude style"? Slightly?

You have to be kidding me.

 

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Allow me repeat myself:

"Slightly crude style?" Slightly?

You have to be kidding me.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Suggested by Jon Irenicus

I know I shouldn't throw fuel on the fire but here goes anyway.

1) Caplan equivocates on the use of mathematics in mainstream economics - one of the defining features of real numbers is that they are additive, which implies that cardinal utilities are additive. This can be "worked around" by saying that "two apples are a fundamentally different good from one apple" but then what's the point of using cardinal utilities? At that point, cardinal and ordinal are formally identical where the cardinal values are arbitrary constants chosen such that they obey the ordinal relationship. Most importantly, you cannot do calculus on such numbers because the slopes are meaningless. If there is no arithmetic relationship between the utility of one apple and the utility of two apples (utility as a function of quantity), then there can be no derivatives or integrals on such functions.

The answers that come out of analysis that takes the utility as a function of quantity is just what you put in. By choosing "nice" function such as the natural logarithm, you can make conclusions that seem very plausible but the fact is that they are gibberish because they cannot be translated back to real human preferences.

2) Caplan obscures the blatant anti-apriorism of mainstream economics. The central problem with mainstream theory is its refusal to reason about human behavior in terms of purposiveness. This is informed by a (misguided) believe that such reasoning is value-laden, as if the study itself becomes tainted by its subject. Austrian theory rejects this and takes a firm stance that it is possible to reason about human action (purposive behavior) in a value-free manner. Furthermore, this is the only useful way to reason about human behavior (see above the problem with translating from idealized preference functions back to real human preferences).

3) Caplan is confused about the role of empirical data in Austrian theory - there is a role for such data, it's just not a predictive role. Steven Levitt's (not an Austrian economist but his methodology is Austrian-compatible) Freakonomics is a good example of this kind of analysis in action. He goes back and provides an action-based theory of history, that is, explanations of specific historical events in terms of human ends/purposes. In order to do this, he applies the mathematical tools of statistics for which modern economics is so famed. But these mathematical tools are being used merely to "filter" the noise in the data, not to generate predictive models of human behavior - something which mainstream theory does not relegate to be impossible but which Austrian theory explicitly states is impossible.

There are other problems with his article but this is enough.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Meistro replied on Thu, Apr 12 2012 12:41 AM

"After reading past threads, you can create a new one if still unsatisfied."


Oh I can?  Gee thanks.  Who made you the forum police?  Are you guys worried about wasting digital ink or something?  I'm pretty sure everything in the world has been discussed before at some point.  If you have nothing constructive to add to my threads, stay out of them.

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

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Guess he sure told you, Wheylous.

 

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excel replied on Thu, Apr 12 2012 3:17 AM

If you have nothing constructive to add to my threads, stay out of them.

 

Should we perhaps apply this profound guideline to the forums as well?

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Is there anything valid, meaningful worth debating in what caplan says. Flying over it I've seen better refutations, of libertarianism that is. 

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