Tuesday, August 28, 2012

David "The Assassin" Gordon Stops Keiser Cold

The brilliant David Gordon has weighed in on the Mises versus Menger debate stirred up by Max Keiser.

Among the points Gordon makes:
In what follows... I shall treat the post as a single line of thought, having Keiser's approval and perhaps written by him.

To speak of a "single line of thought" is a euphemism, as the post resembles, one assumes not deliberately, the doublespeak of Professor Irwin Corey. If in what follows I have inaccurately represented Keiser's ideas, I have at any rate done the best that I could in endeavoring to make out his meaning. Unlike Menger and Schrödinger, if Keiser is to be credited, I did not have the benefit of "Gangetic gurus" in my quest for understanding.
Like Menger, Mises aimed to discover the general relationships existing among economic phenomena. Perhaps Keiser wrongly thinks otherwise because Mises proceeds by deduction. But Mises was concerned in praxeology, not with the investigation of words or ideas in his own mind, but with the nature of real actions in the world...

With that fundamental point out of the way, Keiser's further confusions can readily be cleared away. Keiser — or rather adamsmith1684 — asserts that Mises confused "time — a mental precipitation — with the definition of time." He points out that "the definition of a second has changed over the decades." I am unable to understand what Keiser wants to say here. Why does he think that time is a mental precipitation: isn't there change and with it time in the physical world? "Time is the measure of motion" as Aristotle long ago said in book 4 of the Physics. The relevance of the point about the changing definition of the second entirely escapes me.
Keiser quotes the following passage from Mises: "A [bank] note is a present good just as much as [gold] money" (The Theory of Money and Credit, pp. 304–5)

About this, he says, "This statement shows he thinks a claim to gold is equivalent to gold itself. That is patently false."

Of course Mises's statement implies no such thing. To say that both banknotes and gold are present goods is hardly to identify them. There is a well-known principle that says that objects with exactly the same properties are identical, but it is more than a little rash to claim that objects that share one property are identical. Suppose I am now trying to decide which of two present goods now before me, an apple and an orange, to eat. Would Keiser say that in calling both the apple and the orange present goods that I am claiming that the apple and orange are identical? One awaits the verdict of the Gangetic gurus.
The full takedown is here.

1 comment:

  1. My response here: