Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"The Most Influential Economic Crank in American History"

Gary North is out with a very important commentary discussing why the economist Irving Fisher was a crackpot and the sad fact that much current monetary policy is the result of his crackpot theories.

Check this out for starters, from North:
Fisher was the most influential economic crank in American history. Fisher offered a simple formula that supposedly enables economists to understand the complexities of monetary policy and its effects on the price level: MV=PT. It relies on an intellectual construct, namely, the price level. This must be created by statisticians and economists. The formula does not explain cause-and-effect in terms of the transmission and spread of newly created money throughout the economy. It is totally an aggregate concept. It ignores individuals who make decisions: in government, central banks, commercial banks, and specific markets.
Ludwig von Mises' theory of money begins with real central banks, real borrowers, and the spread of fiat money over time: none of which is considered by Fisher or Friedman.
Fisher proved in 1929 that he was the most highly educated economic fool in the world. He went public with two predictions.
"There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash." (New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929) 
"Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months." (Oct. 17, 1929)
Then, over the next four years, he lost his own personal fortune. He was so poor in 1933 that Yale University had to subsidize housing for him. Yet this consummate fool, whose economic theories not only led to a catastrophic personal error, but which to a great extent were responsible for the original monetary policies of the Federal Reserve, which it pursued in the late 1920s, is now heralded as some kind of economic genius. [Milton]Friedman regarded him as "the greatest economist the United States has ever produced." (Money Mischief, p. 37).
The full article is a must read, here.


  1. First it was Hayek vs Keynes. Then Mises vs Fisher. Then Rothbard vs Friedman. Who's next? I assume Krugman is at the helm for the money manipulators, but who is the leader of the austrians now? There's actually alot to choose from :)

    1. Bob Murphy, Bob Wenzel, Schiff have baby together... This Baby then partners with Salerno and Garrison and finally Block.

  2. Fisher was a total nut... killing his daughter by subjecting her to quack psychiatric treatments. A notorious promoter of eugenics. Ardent prohibitionist and an early health Nazi.

    Why would anybody in his right mind listen to this guy?

    (I guess the same kind of people who admire Hobbes... that nut thought that he managed to square the circle and duplicate the cube, and wrote extensively on the state of nature of which he had not a slightest clue (any peasant spending time outdoors had a better grasp of animal behavior). There are polymaths; these are polynuts, congenitally incapable of finding flaws in their own reasoning, making clowns of themselves no matter what they did).