Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Are You an Austrian?

Yet another silly quiz, this time with an economics twist. Hosted by the Ludwig von Mises institute, this quiz attempts to match your views on economic questions to various schools of thought, including the Austrian, the Chicago (Neoclassical), the Keynesian and the Socialist schools. My results for the shorter, 10-question version of the quiz can be obtained via the following link:

Austrian Economics Quiz Results

As is clear, I'm closer to the Neoclassical school of economics in my thinking than I am to the Austrians (though there are actually quite a few points on which I am in agreement with the latter.) For one thing, I find the Austrian focus on the money supply somewhat ... obsessive. For another, I am a firm believer in antitrust, and I think any school of economics that fails to take account the existence of natural monopolies like Microsoft, and the need to rein them in, is one that has lost touch with reality to some degree. Economics isn't set theory, and one can't just pick a set of axioms a la ZFC, and then proceed to build a mighty edifice without any concern for the piddling matter of empirical confirmation. If there's one thing one learns in mathematics, it is that axioms that are "self evidently true" often turn out to be anything but - take Euclid's Parallel Postulate, for instance, or the Axiom of Choice. If economics is to be regarded as anything more than an empty exercise in theoretical system-building, at some point its' predictions must be tested against reality, and this is something the Austrians have shown a marked resistance to doing.