Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shots Fired: Tom Woods versus Max Keiser

Max Keiser is in way over his head in his shootout with Tom Woods.  Given the comments I have seen him make, Max knows nothing about Austrian economics, and Tom can be ranked master class  Below is a  pretty self-explanatory post from Tom as to what is going on. Do note the commentary (follow the link)  contains a challenge by Tom to Max, which boxes Max into his confusion:

On LRC today I respond to the bizarre Keiser Report segment that tried to claim Ludwig von Mises was a deviationist from the pure Austrian economics of Carl Menger, the founder of the school. Kind of inside baseball, you might think, but so full of the most preposterous errors that I had to smash it, politely.

Keiser now has a post called "Tom Woods' Blunders." For a split second I wondered if maybe I had overlooked or misstated something. Then I saw his post.
It begins:
Tom Woods ramblings are lengthy....
Translation: I haven't the foggiest idea how to answer Woods. If I say his reply to me is "lengthy" and "rambles," that will cover for the fact that I can't reply to 95 percent of it. Oh, and 15 minutes of bashing Mises and libertarians on the most uncomprehending grounds is not rambling or lengthy.
but I wanted to zero in on this bit:
In the following passage, taken from Tom Woods response to Sandeep Jaitly’s interview on “Keiser Report,” Tom Woods rationalizes the failure of his fundamentalist ideology and ‘economic calculation’ by wedging a lot of intellectual dishonesty into this quote: “Private ownership, which is precluded by state intervention, would encourage the preservation of the capital value of resources.”
The idea that private interests preserve the capital value of resources (‘unless they are interfered with by the state’) produces a superior economic outcome over the public interests preservation of capital value of resources is the type of pseudoscience, faux-Austrian claptrap that gives rise to economic dictatorialism, completely blind to the actual consequences of its actions. What Woods is advocating here is in effect central planning, but the ‘right kind’ of central planning by the ‘right people’; the complete opposite of what Austrians say they are supposedly in favor of and a complete contradiction of what Menger was trying to elucidate before the Mises crowd came along and poisoned the water.
I'll be a sport and overlook the lack of any argument or analysis here; we are evidently expected to accept Keiser's ex cathedra pronouncement without demanding such course elements as reason or evidence.
Here are Keiser's points, stripped of the viciousness that was absent from the tone of my own piece, along with my replies:


  1. Unfortunately, the whole Keiser corner is filled with socialists and the economic illiterate. So they're probably too stupid to know that Max just had his ass handed to him.

    1. Ain't dat de truth!

      It's like they're little kids who when they are trounced in an argument, put their hands over their ears and yell: "I can't HEAR you!!!".

  2. Just another mainstream financial commentator/economist who confuses a school of thought and cant see that he has no ideology as sound as the austrians.

  3. Picture Keiser as the Dark Knight and Tom Woods as King Arthur, though I'm sure Tom wouldn't accept the title.

  4. I like Max - he entertains me.

  5. Finally, someone calling Keiser out for his BS. Like Woods says at the end Keiser is in way over his head. Anyone can sound like an expert in front of a group of amateurs. They usually get away with it because they keep their mouths shut around an expert.

    Too bad for Keiser, Woods pointed out that he has no clothes on.

    I avoid Keiser as much as possible but the little I've heard out of him makes me fear for his listeners.

    I'm hopeful for 2 possible outcomes:
    1. Keiser learns the error of his ways and joins to get himself educated. Shadows Tom Woods for 'an extended period' and picks up some wisdom; or
    2. Keiser closes up shop and stops spreading his drivel.

  6. I heard Max Keiser on Alex Jones the other day and I was not impressed. I love Alex Jones, and that he seems to have people on his show with varying perspectives, but some guests leave me feeling safe and some don't. Webster Tarpley is another guest who I can't stand listening to much. But I think it is neccesary to listen to anyone to check my own perspective. I think discussion of ideas is just as important as arriving at conclusions.

  7. That Was a kick butt reply by Tom Woods, all - the - way!

    Myself, I used to like Max, but in the last few years Max has been coming across as one of those empire-loving sell-out types that have handlers.

    Max's attack on Austrians is the cherry on top for me.

    Hey Max, divide and conquer mean anything to you?
    Infighting is what you're sewing now?
    Yeesh. Take Tom's advise.

    - clark

  8. Austrian Economics: The idea that if you can just remove enough of the math from economics, it will be much easier to convince the mass of the poor to align their economic interests with the few wealthy elite.

    1. Yes, because math explains human action so well and mathematical economics does not support the wealthy elite at all.

    2. Is this a joke?

    3. Yes, the wealthy elite is just dying to shut down the Fed.

    4. I don't think that's what Austrian economics is about. Austrian economics, to me, is about liberty. It's about separation of government and industry, ensuring that politics doesn't favor big business. It's about freedom of individuals to start and run their own businesses without interference.

  9. Just see this as an opportunity to challenge one another to excersize your knowledge and intellect. Cheers!

  10. no offense to Tom Woods, but Keiser is no philosopher - or someone who pushes ideological vomit. Arguing with Keiser is like arguing with my know-nothing stock broker and then laughing about it later. Keiser was a stockbroker who knows a thing or two about how the real world works. Any more than that... then I wanna see his birth certificate.

    All kidding aside, I dislike Austrians with a passion. But their economics school seems aiight.

  11. I can't believe Max would put himself in this kind of position. If you've read his "responses" to Mr. Woods, you haven't spent much time; that's because they're so short, and devoid of any argument at all. Its one of the most bizzarre things I've seen. Either his audience is so dense as to not be able to pick up on the distinctions, or Max has flipped his lid. Or, I suppose, it could be both.

  12. Max posted someone's comment on his blog yesterday:

    "Now that you’re taking on Tom Woods and the phony Austrian School, it’s also worth exposing the phony Mises Institute, which hates government so much, they owned $4 million in U.S. Treasury Bonds in 2007, and are a government-regulated and sanctioned 501(c)(3) organisation."

    If Max had any balls he would invite Tom onto the show. Instead he'd rather have, Sandeep, a confused 'Austrian' as a regular guest to continue spouting his claptrap