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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:04AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:04AM (#561304)

    Economists will never admit that they are the "Women's Studies" of value-exchange and will complain when you tell them that they are nothing more than that. Usually, they will try the retort "well, but if people would act X or Y, then our predictions would come true". Yeah, well, they don't and your whole field is based on that wrong premise.
    Don't get me wrong, economics is a great forensic science, but it's nothing more than that and shouldn't be touted as anything more than that...

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Taibhsear on Wednesday August 30, @03:40PM

      by Taibhsear (1464) on Wednesday August 30, @03:40PM (#561535)

      economics is a great forensic science

      Which is kind of funny since a great deal of forensic science is completely bunk.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:05AM (20 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:05AM (#561305)

    All this applies to "climate scientists" as well.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:36AM (18 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:36AM (#561313)
      It doesn't. "Climate science [wikipedia.org]" is a subfield of Physical geography [wikipedia.org], which is a natural science [wikipedia.org].
      • (Score: 0, Disagree) by jmorris on Wednesday August 30, @05:28AM (17 children)

        by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Wednesday August 30, @05:28AM (#561327)

        Nope. It belongs in the Religion and Philosophy dept. It makes no falsifiable predictions.... well that isn't exactly right either. It made some that could only be tested by waiting twenty years twenty years ago but those were all wrong. You would have an easier time debating the finer details of transubstantiation with a Jesuit than the climate pause with a typical "climatologist". And another "tell" is their reliance on the Holy Consensus. Science is not driven by consensus, politics is. Not to mention that for all intents and purposes, "climatologist" is defined as "one who studies AGW" so saying 95% agree with the theory only makes one wonder what the other 5% are doing since they can't qualify for tenure or funding as heretics.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday August 30, @05:52AM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @05:52AM (#561338)

          "Climate science [wikipedia.org]" is a subfield of Physical geography [wikipedia.org], which is a natural science [wikipedia.org].

          Nope. It belongs in the Religion and Philosophy dept. It makes no falsifiable predictions....

          By that measure, even astrophysics belongs to Religion and Philosophy... since you don't have you own personal collection of black-holes and supernovae to experiment with.
          Or any sciences that are not amenable to experimenting at human scale, observation is the best you can do.

          (maybe it's a good time to revise your definition of science?)

          • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Wednesday August 30, @11:26AM

            by shrewdsheep (5215) on Wednesday August 30, @11:26AM (#561433)

            While I agree that GP went too far in a sarcastic hyperbole, there had been the climategate publications which were only possible by a combination of groupthink and PC. This tainted climate research in my perception and it remains the very challenge of climate research today to stand clear of those factors, IMHO.

          • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Wednesday August 30, @05:03PM

            by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday August 30, @05:03PM (#561576)

            What in the world are you talking about? Astrophysics puts forth a number of theories that have been tested, and are most certainly falsifiable.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:53AM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:53AM (#561340)

          Why don't you throw geology in there with them, too, for the full moron?

          I recommend reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (by Jared Diamond) - its afterward outlines in explicit detail how you don't need double blind studies or controlled variables to conduct experiments. And it's a lot more readable than Darwin's "On the Origin of Species".

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Mykl on Wednesday August 30, @06:44AM (4 children)

            by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday August 30, @06:44AM (#561358)

            I recommend reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel"

            I picked this up, all eager to dive into a rich history of human progress. Unfortunately, the first 10 pages of the introduction/prologue turned out to be an apology for all Western progress and explaining why Western Europe was definitely not the smartest civilization (far from it, the author knows 'heaps' of people from other races who he thinks are way smarter!) just because they happened to be the ones that made all these major advances in technology, medicine, government, the arts and many other fields over the past few centuries. It was overbearing and smacked of an attempt to avoid being labelled racist by the PC Police, merely for describing a chronology of events in a particular part of the world at a particular time.

            I didn't think I had it in me to be preached to for another several hundred pages. Pity, as the subject matter sounds really interesting.

            • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @07:19AM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @07:19AM (#561375)

              Truth sure is a hard pill for some people to swallow. To sink below the pinnacle of human achievement, who could bear that?

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:43PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:43PM (#561568)

                White prividege is based on luck, not racial superiority? Who knew!!

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, @02:30AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, @02:30AM (#561926)

                  White prividege is based on luck, not racial superiority? Who knew!!

                  Privilege is based on 1) the desire to push your wishlist onto others, and 2) having sufficient wisdom to compel it.

                  ( Wisdom includes figuring out how to use the other's resources. Having a gun is no good if you can't figure out how to hang onto it.)

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:27PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:27PM (#561631)

              I didn't think I had it in me to be preached to for another several hundred pages. Pity, as the subject matter sounds really interesting.

              So you're saying that you couldn't put down your social exceptionalism long enough to read something "really interesting". You're right. it is a pity.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by aristarchus on Wednesday August 30, @06:35AM

          by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @06:35AM (#561353) Journal

          Jmorris, do not criticize what you do not understand. It serves no purpose, and only makes you look more ignorant.

          --
          came from aris5tarcfhus..; wee probably shouldn't run it
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @07:21AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @07:21AM (#561377)

          Can you enlighten us? Awhat does it feel like to be smart and stupid at the same time?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:06AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:06AM (#561403)

            Schrödinger's jmorris?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:30AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:30AM (#561405)

            Can you enlighten us? Awhat does it feel like to be smart and stupid at the same time?

            Well, part of me is offended by your comment and wants to reply in a demeaning fashion but the other half of me isn't sure how to refute what you said.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:10PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:10PM (#561551)

              Pretty good!

        • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:17PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:17PM (#561448)

          Quack! Quack! Quack!

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by unauthorized on Wednesday August 30, @12:56PM

          by unauthorized (3776) on Wednesday August 30, @12:56PM (#561467)

          It makes no falsifiable predictions

          Climate science makes the following falsifiable prediction:
          "CO2 is a greenhouse gas and large quantities will result in significant increase in global temperatures"

          And another "tell" is their reliance on the Holy Consensus. Science is not driven by consensus, politics is.

          "Consensus" in science means that the best theory has been discovered and nobody has managed to overturn it yet, it does not mean "we all agree to this because our feelings". Scientific consensus is reached when a theory can hold it's ground regardless of how viciously opposing scientists try to disprove it.

          Not to mention that for all intents and purposes, "climatologist" is defined as "one who studies AGW" so saying 95% agree with the theory only makes one wonder what the other 5% are doing since they can't qualify for tenure or funding as heretics.

          Bullshit, the fossil fuel industry would shower anyone with gold if they could prove climate science false. There is no shortage of funding or publicity there.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:52AM (#561362)

      Climate "science" is not scientific because it deliberately ignores enormous steam plumes from power plants [youtube.com] which directly influence major weather patterns.

      No mention of this means the reports are bogus.

  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday August 30, @05:13AM

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday August 30, @05:13AM (#561322) Journal

    Not me [soylentnews.org]!

    If you know anything at all about animal psychology and human psychoses, then you know economics.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:31AM (#561328)

    Experts getting trashed = tax cuts + fossil fuel subsidies + healthcare removal coming asap

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by jmorris on Wednesday August 30, @05:39AM (43 children)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Wednesday August 30, @05:39AM (#561333)

    Economics is a solved problem. Read Mises _Human Action_ and it is self evidently correct. The problem are two. We lack a political system that could permit the economics described in it to work long term. The second problem is all of our current political systems demand central planning of the economy which Mises, the text above and a mathematical proof discussed previously here on soylent say no central planner can have sufficient information to accomplish. But that answer isn't acceptable so when serpent tongued rogues like Keynes and Krugman spin their tales of "models" that can predict they get held up as prophets and make a nice living off of enabling politicians to keep everyone poor as they dream of someday succeeding in building a "planned economy."

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Whoever on Wednesday August 30, @06:11AM (11 children)

      by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday August 30, @06:11AM (#561345)

      You don't see a conflict between the ideas that economics are not a science and that economics is a "solved problem"?

      I guess doublethink is easy for some people.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:20AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:20AM (#561390)

        No. Mathematics and Philosophy contains many solved problems, that are not science.

        The Austrians take a non-empirical approach, and thus do not suffer from physics envy (their proofs do not require experiments), not do they suffer from mathiness, as they do not believe the qualia that are involved in human decision making can be measured.

        Here are Economists, that believe the economics establishment are astrologers, because the mainstream have adopted an inappropriate epistemology.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:45AM (7 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:45AM (#561439) Journal

          their proofs do not require experiments

          In other words, "not even wrong".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:35PM (6 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:35PM (#561458)

            1 + 1 = 2

            You don't need an experiment for that. You can disprove the assumptions, or find a flaw in the logic.

            You don't go about collecting a whole bunch of ones and experimentally combining them and then counting them.

            This is the difference between empiricism (experiments) and rationalism (proofs).

            The mainstream economists are trying to use empiricism dressed in maths and failing. The Austrians don't believe that economics should be based on reason. This is an epistemological difference.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:52PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:52PM (#561541)

              Math isn't science, so you don't need an experiment. You do need proof though. There are definitely situations where that wouldn't be true, such as adding 1 m/s of velocity to 1 m/s doesn't give you 2 m/s if we're really specific about it. It'll be close to 2 m/s, but thanks to relativity, it won't come out quite right if we're taking that into consideration. Likewise 2 hours of work isn't necessarily the same amount as if you worked the two hours separately.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:40PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:40PM (#561604)

                Excellent. Austrian economics is like Math, and not a science. Mainstream economics is like science, well no, more like astrology. (Ibid.)

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:09PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @04:09PM (#561550)

              Mathematics makes no statements about the real world. It only makes statements about abstract constructions. That's why mathematics needs no empirism.

              Now mathematics does give great tools to describe reality with. But to find out which mathematical tool can be applied to which real-world phenomenon under which circumstances, you need empirical data. For example, if you add a body at 1 Fahrenheit to another body at 1 Fahrenheit, you do not a body at 2 Fahrenheit. Did I just disprove 1+1=2? No, of course not. It's just that addition of numbers is not an appropriate mathematical model for temperatures of composite objects (while they are indeed an appropriate model e.g. for the mass of the volume of composite objects — well, in most cases; 1 liter of water and 1 liter of alcohol don't mix to 2 liters of alcoholic liquid). So how do we know? Well, through empirical data.

              Economics claims to make statements about the real world. To do so, it absolutely needs empirical testing. Statements about the real world that don't pass empirical tests are at best useless (if they are not testable), at worst wrong (if they are testable and don't pass the test).

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:51PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:51PM (#561608)

                Austrian economics makes no statements about the real world. It only makes statements about abstract constructions. That's why Austrian economics needs no empirism.

                Now Austrian economics does give great tools to describe reality with. But to find out which Austrian economic tool can be applied to which real-world phenomenon under which circumstances, you need empirical data.

                That's paraphrasing your claims to emphasise the empirical parallels between your argument and the Austrian school.

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:54PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:54PM (#561845) Journal

                  Now Austrian economics does give great tools to describe reality with. But to find out which Austrian economic tool can be applied to which real-world phenomenon under which circumstances, you need empirical data.

                  Sorry, what tools? Let us recall that Austrian economics abandoned math just as much as it abandoned reality. That doesn't leave much left.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday September 01, @01:59AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 01, @01:59AM (#562383) Journal
              Sorry, I don't buy that Austrian economics meets the standard of math rigor either. Among other things, several conflicts have been cited in this discussion between claims made by Mises (one of the more important advocates of the theory) and reality. That doesn't happen for math. If the preconditions hold, the consequences follow. The theory has some interesting ideas, but it is fundamentally broken in approach with neither the backing of evidence or the rigor of mathematical proof to support it.

              The mainstream economists are trying to use empiricism dressed in maths and failing. The Austrians don't believe that economics should be based on reason. This is an epistemological difference.

              Wow. The first sentence is wrong. There is a remarkable success in economics, including I might add real world support of some of the concepts introduced by Austrian economics. What is missed here is that economics like some other fields (climate research and nutrition science, to name a couple of examples) has high levels of conflict of interest, particularly of the financial and ideological sorts. So there is a lot of noise, ulterior motives, and other shenanigans diluting what would otherwise be mundane observation and theory building, like say geology or astronomy.

              And if you're not basing economics on reason (which I'll note here I strongly dispute as a viewpoint of Austrian economists), then you're not basing it on anything at all. Reason is the key difference between pursuit of knowledge and ignorance. Absence of reason is not a epistemological difference. Instead, it is the difference between thinking at a high, complex level and not.

        • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Wednesday August 30, @05:08PM (1 child)

          by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday August 30, @05:08PM (#561582)

          "their proofs do not require experiments"
          Oh, so their proofs are complete horseshit? Glad we agree.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:31PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:31PM (#561593)

            Sorry mate. Neither do all the proofs in trigonometry nor maths.

            Is geometry horeshit? By your understanding, apparently so...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Pav on Wednesday August 30, @06:15AM (8 children)

      by Pav (114) on Wednesday August 30, @06:15AM (#561347)

      Ummm... Don't lay this at the feet of Keynes. He wasn't big on abstract mathematical models, and because they usually had to rely on nonsensical assumptions he discouraged their use. There are actually quotes of Keynes out there saying as much. It was the Austrians who painted Keynsian economics as wrong. They found some misguided economists who called themselves "Keynsians", and supposedly disproved Keynes by showing how stagflation confounded the "Keynsian" models. Of course the Austrians said the models they had created were the right ones, and thus was born neoliberal economics.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:35AM (7 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:35AM (#561435) Journal

        and supposedly disproved Keynes by showing how stagflation confounded the "Keynsian" models

        Which is actually a solid argument against the Keynesian approach. Let us note that we have since had a couple of other glaring examples of the failure of this approach with the Japanese "lost decade" (more like two lost decades now) and the Obama administration's actions.

        A key problem of Keynesian economics and one which ties into the astrology theme here is that it's great rationalization for more public spending during emergencies. Then the theory gets conveniently ignored when times get better and yet the spending doesn't decline. My take is this is why Keynesian economics became so popular in the first place.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @01:25PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @01:25PM (#561479) Homepage

          Let us note that we have since had a couple of other glaring examples of the failure of this approach with ... the Obama administration's actions.

          Yep, they failed so hard that:
          - The unemployment rate, which had shot up to 10% before Obama's policies could take effect, had come back down to 4.8% by the time he left office.
          - Working-age labor force participation rate, which had dropped down to 81.8%, was ticking upwards to 82.5% by the time he left office.
          - GDP increased from $14.4 trillion to $18.6 trillion (in 2009 dollars) over the course of his term.

          I think the Obama administration and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen can be forgiven for thinking they were generally on the right track, because that does not look to me like a failure.

          --
          If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @12:15AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @12:15AM (#561863) Journal

            - The unemployment rate, which had shot up to 10% before Obama's policies could take effect, had come back down to 4.8% by the time he left office.

            Would have happened quicker without his interference. Keep in mind you're bragging about doing this in eight years.

            - Working-age labor force participation rate, which had dropped down to 81.8%, was ticking upwards to 82.5% by the time he left office.

            Amazing recovery there in eight years.

            - GDP increased from $14.4 trillion to $18.6 trillion (in 2009 dollars) over the course of his term.

            In 2009 dollars, GDP increased [thebalance.com] from $14.4 trillion to $16.716, which is a pathetic growth rate, 1.8% per year for the US over eight years, especially from the bottom of a recession (the strongest growth tends to closely follow recessions). In comparison, from 1967 to 2016 the US economy increased by 2.7% over the 50 year period, including Obama's two terms (in other words, excluding Obama's two terms, economic growth was 2.9% per year, including several recessions, more than half again as high).

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @02:31AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @02:31AM (#561927) Journal
              In addition, since we're speaking of economics failures, consider the failure of the predictions that forecast that Obama's economic policies would fix things within four years. I can't find them at present, but there were graphs from early 2009 that predicted things would go much better, if the stimulus packages of the time were adopted. Those predictions so rapidly went off the rails that not only did the real world performance of the economy do worse than their rosy predictions, but also worse than their predictions of what would happen if nothing were done at all!

              While I think the conclusion was that the economy was worse than we knew, it strikes me that perhaps the solutions were also worse than we knew.
        • (Score: 2) by Pav on Thursday August 31, @09:35AM (3 children)

          by Pav (114) on Thursday August 31, @09:35AM (#562032)

          OK... I can see I wasn't clear enough here... I said:

          'and supposedly disproved Keynes by showing how stagflation confounded the "Keynsian" models'

          Note the quotes around "Keynsian". This wasn't a reflection of Keynses work... this is why it's called the Phillips Curve. I thought Phillips was misguided, but it seems Phillips himself didn't even think the curve was a law of economics. So it was economists who misused Phillips work and who called themselves Keynsians who served as straw men for the Austrians. Basically it was politics.

          The Austrian argument says that you should let a recession play out and the economy will right itself, but what Keynes DID say was that this can't be allowed to happen because there's always a chance an economy will become permanently stuck in a new low wage low investment state. Decades of experience of the IMF enforcing Austrian economics in the third world (many of which had been permanently crippled) has given this view considerable weight, and this bastion of Austrian economics is developing decidedly Keynsian views.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday September 01, @01:19AM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 01, @01:19AM (#562373) Journal

            Decades of experience of the IMF enforcing Austrian economics in the third world (many of which had been permanently crippled) has given this view considerable weight

            Not seeing the problem myself. The Third World started crippled, that's why it's behind in the first place. The world has become a vastly better place in the past 50 years, though I'm not inclined to blame the IMF for that.

            And not seeing why you're attributing Austrian economics to the IMF when you won't attribute Keynesian economics to the Keynesians. At least the latter is paying lip service to the respective theory.

            • (Score: 2) by Pav on Friday September 01, @02:18AM (1 child)

              by Pav (114) on Friday September 01, @02:18AM (#562387)

              *sigh* You should look into the core of what Keynes actually said. You'll be getting your Austrian medicine from Trumps idealogues. Perhaps you might even bounce back after the coming recession. Keynes would probably say "don't count on it".

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday September 01, @06:19AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 01, @06:19AM (#562422) Journal

                *sigh* You should look into the core of what Keynes actually said.

                I'm not seeing the need to do so when you're not saying anything different. For example:

                but what Keynes DID say was that this can't be allowed to happen because there's always a chance an economy will become permanently stuck in a new low wage low investment state

                This is a state we've never seen, I might add, not even during the Great Depression. There have been plenty of nasty recessions that have plumbed the depths, but this just didn't happen. We have however seen a number of economies that have self-destructed for various reasons into a lower productivity state due to governance flaws, societal corruption, and/or destruction of infrastructure (for example, Haiti or the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century). Keynesian policies really don't help here. They can help preserve infrastructure (assisting imploding financial infrastructure), but they can make societal corruption and governance flaws worse. And frankly, the primary role of Keynesian policies, as it has for most of a century, continues to be the rationalization of increased public spending.

                This is the core of what Keynesian economics is about - the idea that one needs to intervene when the economy is doing poorly. It suffers greatly from confusing correlation with causation. The intervention happens, the economy improves, thus, it must have been the intervention which caused the improvement in the economy. This ignores that economies improve naturally on their own as happened prior to the implementation of Keynesian schemes in the last century.

                You'll be getting your Austrian medicine from Trumps idealogues.

                If so, that would be a great improvement over what we'll probably get from Trump ideologues on the economic front. Currently, they'll exceed expectations, if they don't screw over businesses like the Obama administration did and manage to generate some net economic growth on par with the longer term history of the US.

                Perhaps you might even bounce back after the coming recession. Keynes would probably say "don't count on it".

                I've been pretty good at anticipating coming recessions (and we know they are coming). So yes, not only can I bounce back, but I probably can count on doing so for several recessions to come.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:40AM (11 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:40AM (#561356)

      Read Mises _Human Action_ and it is self evidently correct.

      No, it isn't. It is not even empirically correct. In fact, pretty much dead wrong, except to libertariantard fan bois. And you were arguing about scientific method?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:23AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:23AM (#561391)

        No. It's not even empirical. It doesn't use the scientific method. In fact the fundamental criticism of the Austrian school against the mainstream is one of epistemology.

        When you criticise something, bother to understand the first thing about it.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:18AM (9 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @09:18AM (#561404)

          No. It's not even empirical.

          In other words, it's a religion.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:10AM (8 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:10AM (#561409)

            No. It does not require faith. Neither do maths nor logic.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:37AM (6 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:37AM (#561436) Journal

              No. It does not require faith. Neither do maths nor logic.

              Math and logic still work if the axioms change. Not so with Austrian School economics. Those axioms have to be taken on faith.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:43PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:43PM (#561464)

                Actually math and logic may still work, but they may lead to different conclusions. (see non-Euclidian Geometry)

                In any system of logic the axioms have to be taken on faith, that is the definition of an axiom, and hardly insightful.

                If there are any axioms used in Austrian Economics that you dispute, kindly put forward your argument. Otherwise you are just yelling, "It's falsifiable", which is the same for mainstream economics as well. Being falsifiable, does not make it any more or less wrong.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:38PM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:38PM (#561601)

                  Actually, being falsifiable is necessary for it to be a science. If you make a guess that cannot be proven wrong, it is not a hypothesis.

                  This is what separates religion and science.

                  Of course, even science relies on an axiom that must be taken on faith. This axiom is that observation follows reality, that is, what you can observe is actually real. A reasonable axiom, but one that must be taken on faith none the less.

                  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday August 31, @05:55AM

                    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @05:55AM (#561982) Journal

                    Of course, even science relies on an axiom that must be taken on faith. This axiom is that observation follows reality, that is, what you can observe is actually real.

                    Only if you take the realist viewpoint (that science tells you something about the properties of the world). If you take the instrumentalist viewpoint (that science just tells us something about the properties of our observations), you don't need that axiom.

                    --
                    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday September 01, @03:07AM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 01, @03:07AM (#562394) Journal

                  If there are any axioms used in Austrian Economics that you dispute

                  Well, let's start with the first axiom [mises.org] of course.

                  individual human beings act, that is, on the primordial fact that individuals engage in conscious actions toward chosen goals

                  That axiom alone ignores actions that aren't "conscious actions toward chosen goals", but which have economic content. Similarly, it ignores non-human actors of which there are many in human society (such as codes of law and other high level systems in human society, or computer trading programs and other machine-based decisions systems) and in the natural world (for example, large carcass feeding behavior among groups of animals or pollination behavior of plants and pollinating animals).

                  Second, we have a huge gap from that axiom (and related stuff like existence of incentives to act - which let us note need not apply to machine actors!) to Austrian school application to typical economic scenarios. You can't go from abstract considerations of human action to application in economic theory without introducing a lot of reality-based models and other assumptions.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:22PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:22PM (#561589)

                An axiom or postulate is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments.

                I don't know much about the Austrian School or much care, but get your simple definitions straightened out!

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @12:38AM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @12:38AM (#561878) Journal
                  Ok, why do you think there is a problem here with my post? Elsewhere someone has posted some claims Mises made about government intervention in the economy. That's not merely seeing where things lead, but assuming axioms are true enough to make public policy based on alleged logical deductions from those axioms. In other words, faith.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @11:20PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @11:20PM (#561817)

              I don't believe it. Jmorris is a false news profit.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:26AM (2 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:26AM (#561432) Journal

      and it is self evidently correct.

      You have a bit of bullshit there in your post. Using "self-evident" to describe purely empirical phenomena is the worst move that the Austrian School did.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @01:09PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @01:09PM (#561474)

        You keep waving the word "empirical" around as if it is a source of indisputable proof. (Or magic word, that dissolves the enemies of science).

        Don't get me wrong, empirical evidence is exactly what I expect from Physics.

        However, the Austrian school believes "empiricism" is the wrong epistemology for economics. If you try to do economics using empiricism you get astrology. That is what the articles is about.

        Using lack of "empiricism" to attack the Austrian school, a school which explicitly rejects "empiricism" as suitable epistemology for the study of economics, as fundamental tenant of the system is the worst move you did...

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:03PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:03PM (#561807) Journal
          So what? Economics is an empirical subject just like physics. Sure, a philosophical treatment can help, but it has to be grounded in real world phenomena. And as a result, there is no such thing as "self-evident".
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @01:06PM (6 children)

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @01:06PM (#561472) Homepage

      If it's a "solved problem", why is it that Mises is not infrequently wrong? So far, everything I've heard from you about it is that when Mises doesn't match up with reality, that is because reality is wrong, which is the exact opposite of how real academic endeavors work.

      --
      If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @01:22PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @01:22PM (#561478)

        Staw man.

        When was Mises wrong? Name one time. Show us your familiarity with the Austrian school.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @01:53PM (4 children)

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @01:53PM (#561498) Homepage

          Mises, Human Action, Part IV, Chapter 19: "It will be shown later why all isolated measures of government interference with market phenomena must fail to attain the ends sought."

          This is utter nonsense. Some examples of successful isolated measures of government interference with market phenomena by the US federal government:
          - The government seriously curtailed the use of chloroflourocarbons starting in the 1980's to prevent further depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is generally recovering, and private industry has developed new chemicals that fulfill the same role as the chemicals that were banned.
          - The government has catch limits for most species of ocean fish. The result of this is that it's still possible to eat wild-caught fish, because the stocks were depleting before the catch limits were imposed, and without government interference the species would have gone extinct.
          - The government requires that the postal service bring mail to everybody in the US. The result of this is that people in very remote areas can still get things delivered to them. And if you're thinking "But UPS also sends stuff to these places", that's because they contract with the USPS to do it.
          - The government imposes numerous requirements on public spaces and businesses to accommodate people with disabilities. And that has largely succeeded in making it much much easier for people in wheelchairs to, for example, go out shopping.
          - The government imposed cap-and-trade restrictions on sulfur dioxide emissions. The result has been a substantial drop in acid rain caused by industrial pollution.
          I could keep going.

          The Austrian School's major flaw is that it starts with the idea that all transactions only affect the people who made the decision to enter into the transaction. But that has never been true: A simple example of this would be what happens to your property value if your neighbor decided to turn their property into a landfill.

          --
          If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:19PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:19PM (#561529)

            - CFS's are not a market phenomenon. As an example an incentive was created for remitting a florocarbon, at a certain price, a factory in China found it could produce the CFS at a profit, and thus produced the CFC, to ship to the regulator, to get paid, for reducing cfc emmissions.
            - The government has catch limits for fish, and you hold that this is the only solution, and indeed the reason that the species are not extinct. I hold very much that this has no evidence in support of it.
            - The government requires the postal service deliver to people, even in very remote areas. You seem to be of the mistaken belief that this is a good thing. The taxpayer should not subsidise deliveries to very remote areas. The government should not prohibit others from providing postal services.
            - The government imposes accessibility requirements. You seem to again mistaken in believing this is a good thing. Surely those who choose to supply accessibility should be rewarded with the custom of those who require it, or believe supplying such facilities is admirable. I find nothing admirable in the men with guns forcing people to do things, even if it is providing accessibility.
            - Acid rain. This is a case where civil law has always been sufficient. Those who pollute should be civilly liable for the damage caused. That is all. Government cap and trade restrictions, have merely moved the pollution to other locations.

            You accuse the Austrian schools of failing to account for the Tragedy of the commons, and only concerning itself with the two parties to the transaction. You will however find that this violates the non-aggression principle, which violates ethical behaviour within the Austrian School.

            That there are third parties (externalities) to the parties involved in the transaction is not a failure of the Austrian School. It is merely a fact. A fact that you seem to believe requires men with guns to enforce.

            • (Score: 2) by NewNic on Wednesday August 30, @11:47PM

              by NewNic (6420) on Wednesday August 30, @11:47PM (#561839)

              Please explain how anyone is going to successfully sue and enforce a judgement against a polluter without "men with guns".

              Contracts rest on the ability of either side to enforce them. This often requires assistance from the Government.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:22PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:22PM (#561531)

            Right...you got to Part IV, Chapter 19 before you found a flaw?

            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @04:17PM

              by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @04:17PM (#561553) Homepage

              No, that's just the most popular point for criticism because it is so easily refuted.

              --
              If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:36AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @06:36AM (#561354)

    But more fundamentally, as Austrian economist Frank Shostak notes, "In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics. The employment of econometrics and econometric model-building is an attempt to produce a laboratory where controlled experiments can be conducted."

    I dare to challenge this. Huge amount of numbers are generated each day in the field of economy... amounts that biologists can only dream about. Yet, most of these numbers are soooooo consolidated (packed into a new, rounded number) that they loose meaning. Each transaction is raw data, start collecting those, work up from that. Those raw transactions are the atoms of economy... yet economists look at a puddle of water and say "it could dry up", not noticing the rain cloud forming above their heads.

    Collecting those statistics, might be challenging, but it's not impossible. Also, politics are a huge influence into economics, which could make things more difficult to track.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:29AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @08:29AM (#561392)

      So let's use a car analogy. Imagine you were driving a car. You have some numbers available, the speed of the car, the rpm, which gear it is in, which direction the steering wheel is pointing. You even have control over some of those levers, like the accelerator, brakes, and steering wheel.

      Now imagine you could not see out of the window. Now drive somewhere. This is mainstream economics. They have numbers. In fact that speedometer is mm accurate per ms. However they are unable to predict the unintended consequences of their actions. Punching the gas might accelerate the economy, for a while, in the wrong direction, until the crash.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:22AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:22AM (#561415)

        IMHO that is a poor analogy. All the things your are measuring have nothing to do with location, you can't make facts (or even predictions) for the location based on that.

        I could agree that economics is trying to do that, but that's also why the predictions fail more often (Even modern politics are based on false economic theories and numbers,
        that's why politicians are digging their own graves these days).

        My point is that they have to start from bottom up fundamentals (factual numbers) and develop models, theories and facts based from that. Use a small remote village as model system, or develop
        a computational model to run simulations, which can later be tested with real live model systems.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:41AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @10:41AM (#561420)

          In other words, it's a perfect analogy for mainstream economics...

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 30, @11:40AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @11:40AM (#561437) Journal

        However they are unable to predict the unintended consequences of their actions.

        I disagree. I think that economists are quite capable of predicting unintended consequences, particularly when there are historical examples of those unintended consequences. But "economists can predict" != "economists do predict". Conflicts of interest, not blind spots in the data, are the primary reason that such predictions don't happen.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @04:30PM

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @04:30PM (#561557) Homepage

      Those raw transactions are the atoms of economy...

      They can tell you a great deal about what happened. What they tell you absolutely nothing about is why it happened, which is a critical question in economic theory.

      Let's say, for instance, that sales of bottled water are up significantly in and around Austin, Texas for the month of August versus July. Is this because:
      1. The price per bottle dropped significantly?
      2. The hurricane increased demand for bottled water from people escaping the flooding?
      3. The bottled water companies ran a great new ad campaign?
      4. A technological innovation in bottled water substantially improved the quality and/or convenience of the product?
      5. Austin tap water is perceived as contaminated somehow?
      6. A bunch of bottled-water-loving college kids came to town to start school at UTexas-Austin?
      7. Wages increased overall in Austin, so people who preferred bottled water over tap water but weren't drinking it because they couldn't afford it now can afford it?

      And the answer could be any combination of those, or something else that I didn't think of. If I had to guess, the hurricane explanation will probably be the most correct, but I'm quite certain nobody really knows. And which answer you give has an effect on what if any policy responses are appropriate.

      --
      If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by opinionated_science on Wednesday August 30, @10:19AM

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Wednesday August 30, @10:19AM (#561413)

    actually to be consistent - since astrology is made up mumbo jumbo, perhaps the term voodoo should be used.

    It is cooler from where I'm sitting, even though still made up. I like to think that we treat voodoo as less normal than astrology due to the empirical evidence of "newspapers" still printing daily horoscope.

    Then again, "Economics is for those who don't like mathematics, but like the confusion it generates anyway", is too long for a headline.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @11:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @11:50AM (#561441)

    But more fundamentally, as Austrian economist Frank Shostak notes, "In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics.

    It is wrong to place a dividing line at "laboratory experiment can isolate various elements", since much pseudoscience does have these experiments and much science is done without them.

    Astronomy is probably the most successful science, and it is done without any lab experiments. Meanwhile medicine, psychology, etc have literatures full of "gold standard" RCTs. However, they almost never predict anything more precise than A is positively correlated with B, don't try to replicate each other's work, don't describe their methods well enough to even attempt replication, etc.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Bobs on Wednesday August 30, @12:42PM (14 children)

    by Bobs (1462) on Wednesday August 30, @12:42PM (#561462)

    Some of "economic theory" is quite good, useful and valuable. Some is not.

    First, rather than "astrology" a better analogy is "Economics is like forecasting the weather." It is inexact, probabilistic and imperfect.

    More generally, predictions are hard, especially about the future.

    Especially predicting what people will do: they screw everything up.

    There are several different economic models / methodologies, some of which work better than others. The biggest difference is scale.

    • Macro-economics is the big-picture stuff. It is messy, really, really complicated and all the models are imperfect approximations of reality.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroeconomics [wikipedia.org]
    • Micro-economics is about the smaller scale stuff and tends to work better as it the variables are more fully understood, and can be modeled and tested better, and results can be replicated.
      https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Microeconomics [wikiversity.org]

    Because all of the macro economic systems are so fiendishly complex, all the models are incomplete, and imperfect. As the models are incomplete, and complex, people don't really understand them and as they are tangled up in politics and ideology and resource allocations people's beliefs come into play and people's beliefs, passions, faith, politics, fairness, etc impact their opinion about economics.

    Some people don't want to accept or even consider things they don't like, and/or don't understand. So they are look for excuses to reject economics entirely.

    But economic models, like weather forecasting models can be helpful. Is it going to rain on my house tomorrow? Probably not. But there is a small chance it might - a small, random cloud might rain here but not on the other side of town. Yet if the weather forecast says there is a big hurricane bearing down it makes sense to prepare for it, even if it might not actually happen.

    Weather forecasting is imperfect, but still helpful and better than nothing as it can and does provide useful data to factor into planning.
    Same with economics.

    Yet economic theory like "supply-demand curves" are quite valid and useful. If I am selling a bunch of X for $10, odds are I will sell more if I lower the price to $2.
    But not always!

    The "tragedy of the commons" is a good insight. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons [wikipedia.org]

    Presently are a lot of people who currently are passionate about how government and taxes is always wrong. And in their passion they look for every excuse to object to anything that might contradict their beliefs.

    There are imperfections with economics and our understanding of human behavior. But overall economic theory has also helped and contributed useful things to our understanding of how to make human life better.

    I see dismissing economics entirely as also about attacking the idea of government and governance.

    And some government is better than no government.

    We the people have formed an imperfect union to help coordinate things and make things better.

    It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
      - Winston Churchill

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:53PM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @12:53PM (#561466)

      You will be delighted to hear that the article is not dismissive of economics! It is dismissive of only one school of economics, the mainstream branch of it.

      The criticism comes from a school of thought that has at its centre the study of human behaviour. The article is a criticism of the mainstreams drowning of the discipline in mathiness. This is however not the only possible way to study economics.

      You might also be please to read economic papers that discuss the moral's and ethics of policy, rather than what level the three letter acronym should be set at.

      Your citing the example of Tradgedy of the commons shews that you might be amenable to a Lockean argument for homesteading, in which case the Austrian writings on property ownership may be of interest.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Bobs on Wednesday August 30, @01:35PM (10 children)

        by Bobs (1462) on Wednesday August 30, @01:35PM (#561482)

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have read this article and several others on Mises.

        The end goal of this paper, and apparently Mises, is to say economics is bad. Government is bad. Regulalion is bad. We should just let people do whatever they want.

        Money quote from the article:

        If economics is unable to provide bureaucrats with the ability to effectively guide and control an economy, the best alternative would be to turn it back over the market.

        They do NOT say here is a better economic model to understand what is going on. They throw up their hands and say we can't know.

        To net out the trivial argument of the paper: we don't know anything, all regulations and regulators are therefore bad.

        This is wrong.

        Something I find interesting is comparing the boom and bust cycle in the USA and Europe before and after government regulations in the economy in the 30-s and 40's.

        It used to be that unregualed markets made lots of money, sucked up all the resources, then crashed. Happened repeatedly, every 30-40 years, multiple times.

        Then we started regulating the markets more, especially the financial markets, and things got much, much better.

        Then we de-regulated the financial markets and we start getting big busts/crashes again. (2008, ...)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_cycle [wikipedia.org]

        I don't have time to dig into it right now - maybe later tonight.

        • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Wednesday August 30, @02:41PM (6 children)

          by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Wednesday August 30, @02:41PM (#561517)

          Actually, if you would read the books before burning them you would know that Mises fully explains the boom bust cycle as a product of government policy, i.e meddling. It allows banks to create money (credit expansion) through fractional reserve banking, this distorts the signals in the economy leading to malinvestment, a bubble blows somewhere and eventually pops. Rinse and repeat.

          Moldbug then further clarifies the problem with his Maturity Transformation [blogspot.com], a good introduction to which can be had at the link.

          The "market cycle" is not a bug in Capitalism, it is a useful feature in planned economies in that every bust provides an opportunity for new regulation to "fix" a problem it created.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:56PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @03:56PM (#561542)

            Because we never had boom/bust cycles prior to the development of government? Yeah, that sounds accurate. Please travel in a time machine back and tell our ancestors that they don't have to worry about famine and can just eat their hearts out when times are good.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @04:40PM (2 children)

            by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @04:40PM (#561563) Homepage

            Actually, if you would read the books before burning them you would know that Mises fully explains the boom bust cycle as a product of government policy, i.e meddling. It allows banks to create money (credit expansion) through fractional reserve banking, this distorts the signals in the economy leading to malinvestment, a bubble blows somewhere and eventually pops. Rinse and repeat.

            Which is demonstrably untrue, since speculative bubbles occurred centuries before the development of anything remotely similar to modern central banking. Are you seriously claiming that all the well-documented economic crises prior to the 20th century (e.g. Dutch tulip mania) couldn't happen?

            --
            If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:35PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:35PM (#561599)

              The Dutch Tulip Mania, was NOT an economic crisis.

              Speculative bubbles occur because of miscalculation. Miscalculation is amplified by central banking.

              You are straw manning by making the demonstrably false claim that all bubbles are caused by central banking. That is your claim. That you supplied. And then refute.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @12:51AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @12:51AM (#561884) Journal

                The Dutch Tulip Mania, was NOT an economic crisis.

                Let's not argue No True Scotsman semantics here. Maybe the mania part wasn't an economic crisis, but the resulting crash to reality sure was.

                Speculative bubbles occur because of miscalculation. Miscalculation is amplified by central banking.

                In other words, speculative bubbles do not occur because of central banking. They are just made more exciting by central banking.

                You are straw manning by making the demonstrably false claim that all bubbles are caused by central banking. That is your claim. That you supplied. And then refute.

                Let us keep in mind that the earlier statement was:

                Actually, if you would read the books before burning them you would know that Mises fully explains the boom bust cycle as a product of government policy, i.e meddling.

                So the grandparent most certainly was not constructing a straw man but instead responding to a real claim.

                Further, universal claims are disproven via counterexamples. This is typical logic and reasoning.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:27PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:27PM (#561591)

            I think we can leave the book burning to your less savory compatriots.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday September 01, @06:30AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 01, @06:30AM (#562424) Journal

            Moldbug then further clarifies the problem with his Maturity Transformation [blogspot.com], a good introduction to which can be had at the link.

            I'll note here that Moldbug "clarifies" Maturity Transformation as:

            The engineering mistake is an accounting practice called maturity transformation. In the best CS tradition - I consider it harmful.

            Maturity transformation might also be called monetary time travel. It is an accounting structure which permits a financial institution to pretend that it can teleport dinero from the future into the present. High-tech modern finance can do many cool things, but this is not one of them.

            This seems at odds with the actual definition [wikipedia.org]:

            Maturity transformation is the practice by financial institutions of borrowing money on shorter timeframes than they lend money out.[1][2] Financial markets also have the effect of maturity transformation whereby investors such as shareholders and bondholders can sell their shares and bonds in the secondary market (i.e. the larger part of the stock market) at any time without affecting the company that issued the shares or bonds. Thus the company can be a long-term borrower from a market of short-term lenders. The short-term lenders are simply buying and selling the ownership of the shares or bonds on the stock market. The company keeps a register of owners and changes the name whenever there is a sale.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @02:50PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @02:50PM (#561521)

          Sounds like you might enjoy reading about the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (aka. ABCT).

          It predicts that fiat money will result in boom bust cycles. Look it up it will answer all your questions about booms and busts. It is also fairly self-contained and you don't have to swallow the Austrian Kool-Aid to get value out of it.

          This article might not say that there is a better explanation for what is going on, it only says that the mainstream are astrologers and about as accurate, because of the unreliable predictions that the mainstream make.

          It is not economics that is bad, it is believing that you can do meaningful predictions about what interfering in the market will do that is false.

          They do say that that we don't know, and that we can never ever know, as a matter of epistemology.

          You are crafting a straw man by asserting that all regulations and regulators are bad. The articles merely argues that regulations should not be based on the work of astrologers.

          The argument, (not presented in this paper), is that economic calculation is impossible. Thus central planning is impossible. The individual humans concerned know better then the bureaucrats. Assuming that humans are selfish, then it stands to reason that we should not place humans in positions where they are responsible for making decisions which place their personal interests against the interests of large numbers of other people.

          Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          Thus by reducing the power to the lowest common denominator, we create a society where the powerful are not permitted to exert their aggression against others.

          This is a very different sort of economics to the one that seeks to reach an arbitrary 2% inflation rate, based on a made up measure, by manipulating interest rates.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @12:55AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @12:55AM (#561886) Journal

            It is not economics that is bad, it is believing that you can do meaningful predictions about what interfering in the market will do that is false.

            They do say that that we don't know, and that we can never ever know, as a matter of epistemology.

            Ok. Consider this thought experiment. We're trying to figure out the consequences of interfering in the market in a certain way. So... we just do it and see what happens. What you are claiming is that somehow we can't then in near identical circumstances make predictions based on what happened before. Sorry I don't buy that economics is that unpredictable.

            • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday August 31, @06:05AM

              by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @06:05AM (#561987) Journal

              Actually if economics is just unpredictable, then it is also unpredictable what meddling with it through regulations will do. But that means that it does not matter whether there are regulations or not, because if the regulations had any predictable effect, that would contradict unpredictability. Therefore it is logically inconsistent to claim at the same time that economics is unpredictable, and that regulations are always harmful.

              --
              The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by Bobs on Wednesday August 30, @01:42PM

        by Bobs (1462) on Wednesday August 30, @01:42PM (#561490)

        ... I will say I agree that many economists try to be too precise with their numbers and predictions.

        Say it is going to get 8% worse vs. 10% worse is a mistake.

        And in charts, using a single line rather than a spectrum of increasing and decreasing probabilities would be more accurate, but also harder for lay people to follow.

        Gotta run.

        Thx.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @02:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @02:13PM (#561506)

      Thanks Bob. You must be an economist.

      - An actual economist

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday August 30, @02:37PM (7 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday August 30, @02:37PM (#561513) Homepage Journal

    I discovered that economics was rank bullshit when I took an economics class taught by three PhDs. I had spent August of 1973 to August 1974 in Thailand, where the median income was $1000/year. These bozos were saying that since someone in the third world could live on a thousand a year, we could too.

    It was incredibly stupid. In a place where you can feed four in a nice restaurant for under a dollar and ride a bus anywhere in the country for a nickle, you could live fairly comfortably. Not so when that bus ride is seventy five bucks and that dinner is fifty.

    Then there was "trickle-down economics", proven over and over to simply not work, that many economists still hold to.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday August 30, @02:40PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday August 30, @02:40PM (#561516) Homepage Journal

      I walked out and dropped the class before the first class was over. A third of the students followed me out.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 30, @02:54PM (5 children)

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 30, @02:54PM (#561523) Homepage

      Then there was "trickle-down economics", proven over and over to simply not work, that many economists still hold to.

      Having been face-to-face with its creator, Arthur Laffer, the thing that was very noticeable was that he couldn't offer a consistent answer a very simple question about his idea that forms the core of trickle-down: What is the tax rate which would maximize government revenue? In other words, where's the top of his Laffer Curve?

      The reason he can't answer the question is that the answer is always "Lower than whatever the current tax rate is". And that's not because the maximum point is 0%, it's because trickle-down isn't an economic theory at all, it's simply creating a seemingly-academic excuse for doing what many politicians want to do for reasons that have nothing to do with economics, namely give their donors a nice big tax break.

      --
      If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, @05:30PM (#561592)

        ^ nailed it

        It would be really nice to know if Mises is just another corporate plant or actually that deluded. Useful idiot or agent provocateur?

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @01:17AM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @01:17AM (#561901) Journal

        Having been face-to-face with its creator, Arthur Laffer, the thing that was very noticeable was that he couldn't offer a consistent answer a very simple question about his idea that forms the core of trickle-down: What is the tax rate which would maximize government revenue? In other words, where's the top of his Laffer Curve?

        It's hard to blame Laffer here. Your question is broken. First, the Laffer curve is a very weak observation. It merely notes there is a maximum between the two extremes. You can come up with curves that will generate their maximum tax rate arbitrarily near 0% or 100%. So in particular, there is no predetermined maximum rate.

        The two huge factors here are what will the taxpayer and tax collector do with this money, if they had it? For example, if the taxpayer is just going to buy lots of cocaine and snort it (getting into progressively more life threatening problems as available money increases), then paying higher taxes isn't so bad an alternative. If they're doing good things with that money, then the optimum(s) of the Laffer curve slide down. Similarly, if government is turning that tax money into pointless, bloody wars, then the Laffer curve optimum(s) is much lower than if it is developing and distributing a cure for aging with that money.

        My view is that governments of the world right now are shitshows. So low tax rates look very appealing to me.

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday August 31, @02:34AM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @02:34AM (#561928) Homepage

          Laffer's argument was this: If taxes are too high, then the most skilled and presumably most financially successful people have insufficient incentive to produce more. That means that cutting taxes will lead to them producing more, which leads to increased economic growth. This increase in economic growth, in turn, counterintuitively means that lower tax rates can cause higher government revenue. (I should point out at this point that while it has never actually worked out that way, it's at least a coherent measurable economic argument.)

          Your position, on the other hand, actually proves my point: It's entirely a political view, namely that you believe that private individuals are better at spending money than the government is, therefor taxes should be lower, never mind the economics. That means you support Arthur Laffer's way of thinking because it provides a good excuse to do what you already want to do for reasons that have nothing to do with economics, namely cut taxes.

          I should also mention that the rich guys on Wall Street that are raking in a lot of the extra cash as they're taxed at a lower rate than the rest of us tend to spend their extra money on ... wait for it ... snorting cocaine. Well, that and hookers. So if your premise is that government can do better than cocaine addicts, you might want to rethink your position with regards to whether government is better or worse than they are.

          --
          If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
          • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday August 31, @06:28AM

            by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @06:28AM (#561991) Journal

            Your position, on the other hand, actually proves my point: It's entirely a political view, namely that you believe that private individuals are better at spending money than the government is, therefor taxes should be lower, never mind the economics.

            I cannot find that claim anywhere in the post you replied to. Quite the opposite, indeed: It contains explicit examples both of bad private spending and of good government spending (although I don't agree that this specific example is indeed a good cause to spend government money; fighting cancer would have been a much better example).

            Also note that if there's an optimum that doesn't sit at 0% (and it is quite obvious that 0% cannot maximise your tax revenue), it also means that it is possible that the current taxes are below that optimum, and that you therefore should increase taxes to increase revenue.

            Moreover note that khallow's argument means that the government can influence where that optimum sits. It can raise that optimum by improving the spending. So if a government happens to tax at the optimum tax rate, and then decides to improve on its spending, then according to khallow's argument this means the optimum tax rate rises, and therefore the government should increase the tax rate accordingly in order to get back into the optimum.

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday August 31, @08:54PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 31, @08:54PM (#562299) Journal

            Laffer's argument was this: If taxes are too high, then the most skilled and presumably most financially successful people have insufficient incentive to produce more. That means that cutting taxes will lead to them producing more, which leads to increased economic growth. This increase in economic growth, in turn, counterintuitively means that lower tax rates can cause higher government revenue. (I should point out at this point that while it has never actually worked out that way, it's at least a coherent measurable economic argument.)

            No, Laffer's argument was more limited than that. He noted that near zero tax revenue would occur at 0% and 100% tax rates. The former is obvious because no taxes are being collected. And the latter because most people, not just the financially successful people, would have any incentive to produce anything that would be fully taken away by taxation.

            Your position, on the other hand, actually proves my point: It's entirely a political view, namely that you believe that private individuals are better at spending money than the government is, therefor taxes should be lower, never mind the economics. That means you support Arthur Laffer's way of thinking because it provides a good excuse to do what you already want to do for reasons that have nothing to do with economics, namely cut taxes.

            What do you mean "never mind the economics"? Sure, if we completely ignore the economics in my point of view, then it really doesn't matter what we attribute it to. But there's no reason to do that, unless you're attempting an ad hominem.

            And frankly, it should be obvious to you that a cost/benefit analysis of higher taxation would need to include the relative values of the choices rather than just assume one is better. I have done that and as a result, I think government service is vastly overrated.

            I should also mention that the rich guys on Wall Street that are raking in a lot of the extra cash as they're taxed at a lower rate than the rest of us tend to spend their extra money on ... wait for it ... snorting cocaine. Well, that and hookers. So if your premise is that government can do better than cocaine addicts, you might want to rethink your position with regards to whether government is better or worse than they are.

            Funny how that example came to my mind, isn't it? Maybe you should read my post again. I'll note that at least with hookers, the rich Wall Streeters are employing people and distributing a significant amount of wealth around voluntarily.

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