Thursday, April 15, 2004

Milton Friedman on the Austrians

I've just found the following quotation, attributed to Milton Friedman, on Karen De Coster's blog:

That methodological approach, I think, has very negative influences. It makes it very hard to build up a cumulative discipline of any kind. If you're always going back to your internal, self-evident truths, how do people stand on one another's shoulders? ... It also tends to make people intolerant. If you and I are both praxeologists, and we disagree about whether some proposition or statement is correct, how do we resolve that disagreement? We can yell, we can argue, we can try to find a logical flaw in one another's thing, but in the end we have no way to resolve it except by fighting, by saying you're wrong and I'm right. On the other hand, if you take more like a Karl Popperian approach .... I say to you, what facts can I find that will convince you I was right and you were wrong. ... Then we go out and observe the facts. That's how science progresses. ... the fact is that fifty, sixty years after von Mises issued his capital theory ... so-called Austrian economists still stick by it. There hasn't been an iota of progress.

When even as staunch a libertarian as Milton Friedman dismisses your school as having made no progress in 60 years, one would think it's past time for a rethink ...

NB - Karen De Coster is a paleolibertarian (i.e., your standard issue neo-confederate isolationist), so it's interesting that such a damning quote should have made its way into her archives.