Saturday, May 9, 2009

NYT Calls Mises a Great Economist

Well, at least their regular columnist, in-house movie star and in-house game show host, Ben Stein does. Not only does Stein give kudos to Mises, but he then goes on to show he may understand Misesian and Hayekian views on the methodology of economics and how it differs from, say, the methodology of physics. Here's Stein:

As the great economist Ludwig von Mises has said, causes and effects in economics are impossible to connect, so we do not know what effect Smoot-Hawley had on worsening the Depression. In economics, each case has elements of uniqueness. Economics is not physics, and experiments are impossible to conduct with enough control to consistently give us predictable results. We do not know at all what effects Smoot-Hawley, as compared with the collapsing world economy, had on trade.
Of course, I'm hoping that Stein means that cause and effect can not be determined from an empirical perspective, and not that there are no cause and effect relationships in economics. By deductive means there are a lot.

Stein made Smoot-Hawley infinitely more well known when in the role of an instructor he referred to it in an ad lib monologue in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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