He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Friday, August 28, 2009

Empirical Economic Irony

Gabriel and I have been conversing about Austrian economics, and we've been particularly focused on the School's theoretical wertfreiheit as opposed to its identification with libertarian normative prescriptions. Gabriel noted that perhaps the Austrians have been so closely identified with libertarianism that any attempt to distinguish Austrianism from libertarianism would be futile.

That kind of concern has never favorably impressed me, and I remain convinced of the crucial distinctions between theory, application, and statecraft. For those who are new to the discussion, what I call application consists in applying economic theory to the empirical world of history, forecasting, and finance.

I spent a little time today listening to a presentation from a Chicago School economist about monetary policy. My takeaway was that he, Ben Bernanke, and I have roughly the same ideas about how the Fed should have conducted its business during Fall 2008's dire days and how the Fed should conduct its business presently.

Now, this correlation would be apostasy among the Austrian purists with whom I associate, and I'd have to defend my empirical applications as vehemently against those Austrians--and I know this from experience--as I'd have to defend Austrian theoretical apriorism and methodological individualism against the Chicagoans.

Let's just say that God's expansive sense of humor manifests itself by His throwing all sorts of cute ironies and paradoxes in my path.


Andrea Elizabeth said...

Where'd Gabriel go? He didn't even say goodbye.

Visibilium said...

He's regrouping at Typepad.