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Thread: What to ask a teacher in economics (from an Austrian perspective)?

  1. #1

    Default What to ask a teacher in economics (from an Austrian perspective)?

    Hello,

    A while ago I got so interested in economics (partly after finding out about the Austrian school) that I took some time off from work in order to get a bachelor's degree in economics. Now I am just about to enter my second year ofthese studies. Needless to say I will have neoclassical economists as my teachers.

    The reason I make this thread is that I would love to have some good questions to ask them. I've gone through HA, MES and Capitalism by George Reisman, and several other books, so I'm reasonably well versed in Austrian economics, but I don't have as many great questions to ask as I would like to. (Obviously I can go back to these books, but time is most certainly a scarce resource for me.) Do any of you guys have some good penetrating questions to ask these keynesians, who may never even have heard of Mises? It can regard macro economics as well as micro economics. Thanks in advance.



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  3. #2

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    Why the economists are so bad at investing?
    The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

  4. #3

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    If it's MY money, why is it illegal to destroy it?
    All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
    -Albert Camus

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanJ View Post
    Hello,

    A while ago I got so interested in economics (partly after finding out about the Austrian school) that I took some time off from work in order to get a bachelor's degree in economics. Now I am just about to enter my second year ofthese studies. Needless to say I will have neoclassical economists as my teachers.

    The reason I make this thread is that I would love to have some good questions to ask them. I've gone through HA, MES and Capitalism by George Reisman, and several other books, so I'm reasonably well versed in Austrian economics, but I don't have as many great questions to ask as I would like to. (Obviously I can go back to these books, but time is most certainly a scarce resource for me.) Do any of you guys have some good penetrating questions to ask these keynesians, who may never even have heard of Mises? It can regard macro economics as well as micro economics. Thanks in advance.
    If you have no "great" questions, then your understanding is lacking. This is no attempt at insult, but just an observation. It's OK, so long as you keep on learning.

    I would certain get after them about taxes. What is the position on the net effect of taxation and whether it is theft/robbery. All my economics professors (Drexel) essentially called taxation a disaster for any economy.

    There's a lot more than just this, of course, but I'd ask that first. Oh, and about money. That's a sure give-away. Do they understand money v. currency.

    "The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty - and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies."
    -- H.L. Mencken

  6. #5

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    Why are you getting a degree in economics?

  7. #6

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    Here are a couple of questions they can't answer.

    1. Paul Krugman said the economy would lose 700,000 jobs when the Sequester spending cuts took place in 2013 and the economy would dip into recession. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/op...ools.html?_r=0 The economy gained jobs, grew at twice the rate as it did in 2012 and the S&P 500 went up 32% in 2013. How do you reconcile the economy performing so well when Keynesian models were so off? 350 Keynesian economists not only said the sequester should be stopped but more government fiscal stimulus was needed for the economy. http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...ynesian_s.html

    2. Greenspan cut rates aggressively from 3% to 1% and kept them there despite having low unemployment and rising inflation. A lot of people would say those rates fueled the housing bubble which would be consistent with Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Here is an example of credible person saying this is the case. http://www.businessinsider.com/stan-...economy-2013-3 Why is he wrong about the negative effects of easy credit in both the housing bubble and the tech bubble?


    Extra Credit.
    3. Paul Krugman wrote numerous articles saying cutting long term unemployment benefits would be bad for the economy in 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/o...oyed.html?_r=0 He mocked Rand Paul for saying that long term unemployment benefits not only incentivize unemployment but they make it harder for people to get back into the workforce the longer they are unemployed. Long term unemployment benefits did get cut by Republicans. And surprise, multiple studies by major universities attributed the drop in unemployment to cutting unemployment benefits. It turns out incentives matter and paying people not work for 2 years is a bad idea. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner...benefits-obama How do you explain that?
    Last edited by Krugminator2; 02-20-2017 at 11:40 AM.

  8. #7

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    Ask them if wages are really "sticky" downward or if Keynes confused the heavily regulated British labor market of the interwar period for a free market. Also, on a more political note, ask them if they're familiar with Keynes' glowing review of the Webbs' "Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?", a cheery endorsement of the Soviet Union c. 1935 (i.e. at the height of hardcore Stalinism).
    Last edited by MallsRGood; 02-24-2017 at 12:11 AM.

  9. #8

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    Some good stuff here. Thank you guys.

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    Is this a solicitation for questions to ask in all the economics classes you'll take over the course of a bachelors degree? Because the appropriateness for any given question at any given time will depend on the context. You don't want to get a reputation as that student who just wants to ask irrelevant questions about Austrian economics all the time.

  11. #10

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    1. If the Law of Rent is applicable and true in more than land scenarios aren't laborers ultimately at the mercy of capitalists?

    2. It is said that money is a medium of exchange and a store of value, but isn't it equally important that it provides a common pricing system? If it is a medium of exchange and a store of value but a social group doesn't price things relative to it, can we call it money?

    3. Semantic labels for tax groups like income tax, sales tax, transaction tax, excise tax, property tax, ultimately are all the same thing. A tax on what a person earns, his wages. Ignoring the fact that corporations and LLC's benefit by being taxed on profit rather than revenue like individuals, why should not the rich be taxed on their savings/property the same way the poor are? Why is a wealth tax, which would include a Georgist land tax type system, not the ideal? Why the arbitrary separation between "wages" and "property". Clearly this distinction benefits the wealthy, as a poor man's wages is all his property, whereas a rich mans wages are simply hidden in a purchase of a specially protected asset and then called "property".
    What now?

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Is this a solicitation for questions to ask in all the economics classes you'll take over the course of a bachelors degree? Because the appropriateness for any given question at any given time will depend on the context. You don't want to get a reputation as that student who just wants to ask irrelevant questions about Austrian economics all the time.
    Haha fair comment. I do have common sense. For example, we are now going through the equation of exchange. I ask questions rooted in Austrian criticisms of it (Hazlitts and Rothbards), some of them outside of class. I'm not interested in confronting teachers, I'm interested in discussion.

    Thanks a lot guys, some good stuff here.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MallsRGood View Post
    Ask them if wages are really "sticky" downward or if Keynes confused the heavily regulated British labor market of the interwar period for a free market. Also, on a more political note, ask them if they're familiar with Keynes' glowing review of the Webbs' "Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?", a cheery endorsement of the Soviet Union c. 1935 (i.e. at the height of hardcore Stalinism).
    Leftists still support hardcore Stalinism.
    Yes , Danke was my sidekick .

  14. #13

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    In the past, I've found that asking questions about and supporting something that is other than what they are teaching, is generally a bad idea. That is unless you don't care what kind of grades you are going to get.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    In the past, I've found that asking questions about and supporting something that is other than what they are teaching, is generally a bad idea. That is unless you don't care what kind of grades you are going to get.
    Pretty much this^^ In my college career, I found it worked out better to respond to absurd claims in the form of essay questions on exams, homework, etc. If there's a debate club nearby where you can bring up econ topics as the matter to be resolved, go for that and invite a bunch of people-and post on the webbernets.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here"government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 (KJV)For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

  16. #15

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    In my college years, I decided to get a minor in economics. Didn't know about Austrian econ back in the 80s. Turns out the Uni was Keynesian. By the time I finished my macro-econ semester, I quit, screaming "This isn't science!".

    PS heavenlyboy34 i love that bible quote

  17. #16

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    merkelstan

    Reminds me of what Peter Schiff said about his econ studies. It was all keynesianism, as you could expect. Finally he had enough and asked the teacher after class. Excuse me, are you a keynesian? Teacher: No. I'm a marxist.

    I have no idea how much truth there is to that but it was hilarious.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.3D View Post
    In the past, I've found that asking questions about and supporting something that is other than what they are teaching, is generally a bad idea. That is unless you don't care what kind of grades you are going to get.
    Yep.

    My brother got a bad grade in Political Science because he questioned the teacher's strategy of trying to cause a classroom race war and implying that whitey was definitely the bad guy on the planet.
    There is no spoon.






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