Questions for Austrians
By Bryan Caplan
On my latest conversation post at Cato Unbound, I pose some questions for Steve Horwitz:
1. What are some important, substantive economic claims that can be known a priori?
2. What are some important, substantive economic claims that can be
logically derived from a priori knowledge plus a small number of
uncontroversial empirical assumptions (e.g. the disutility of labor or
the existence of money)?
3. Economists use multivariate statistics for a reason: to adjudicate
between multiple competing hypotheses. Can you name an important,
substantive empirical issue where Austrians have grappled with this
conundrum? How convincing were the Austrians’ results?
4. What are some important, substantive mainstream empirical
conclusions that most Austrians either (a) don’t know, or (b) don’t
suitably appreciate? What’s going wrong–and what’s the solution?
I invite Austrian readers to answer the same questions, subject to the same rule I asked Steve to follow:
I implore Steve to bluntly share his own views–not discuss the
range of answers that various Austrians, living and dead, might offer.
At risk of sounding prickly, I regard any response containing phrases
like, “Hayek would say…” as unresponsive.