An Austrian economist gets tired of dealing with money, and so decides to go back to school for a career switch. A decade later, he has a medical degree. He passes his boards, and opens up his own general practice.
His first patient comes in for a routine checkup, and he asks, “So, doc, how’m I doing?”
And the Austrian doctor says, “You’re dying.”
The patient freezes for a moment, then he starts to panic. He shouts, “Well, what do I do?”
And the Austrian doctor says, “Nothing.”
The patient panics even more. He screams, “Do I need surgery? Do I need a prescription? Do I need therapy?”
The Austrian doctor replies, “No! Those things could have unintended side effects! Just let it run its course!”
The patient sits down with his head in his hands, catching his breath. He finally says, “Okay, doc, give it to me straight. What am I dying of?”
The Austrian doctor says, “Old age.”
The patient nearly falls off the cushioned table. “Old age?!” he shouts. “I’m 32 years old! When am I supposed to die of that?!”
And the Austrian doctor growls, “ANY DAY NOW.”
Bizarre. There is no view held by Austrian economists that the economy must necessarily be on the road to problems. Austrian economists hold that the business cycle is the result of central bank manipulations of the money and that if central banks are eliminated and there is a return to the gold standard, businesses cycles will be eliminated.
Here is a more accurate medical metaphor, but it involves a Keynesian economist turned medical doctor.
Patient: Doc, everytime I go out drinking, the next morning I have a headache.
Keynesian Doc: Well then, as soon as you feel the headache coming on start drinking again.