Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)

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Are Austrians and Keynesians on the Same Side After All?

17th October 2012      by: Tom Woods     

Another of my barter-scrip critic’s claims:

“Austrian/Keynsian economics are simply a Hegelian Debate wherein un-payable debt/interest contracts prevail with, or without force.”

This claim rests on a confusion regarding what a “Hegelian debate” is. The Hegelian dialectic, which owes its formulation less to Hegel than to Fichte, involves diametrically opposed positions coming into conflict with one another, with that conflict giving rise to a third position, or synthesis.

It seems, on the other hand, that our critic thinks a “Hegelian debate” is one in which two seemingly opposed positions (in this case the Austrian and Keynesian) are in fact exactly the same where it counts (in their treatment of interest, in his view), and hence what seems to be a debate turns out to be no debate at all.

But this isn’t the Hegelian dialectic. And it also isn’t true: why should the two schools’ differences on business cycles, budget deficits, liquidity preference, the paradox of saving, the liquidity trap, the Keynesian cross, and just about anything else you can name be set aside as trivial? (And I am even leaving out Keynes’s kind words for money cranks like Silvio Gesell and C.H. Douglas, words that would place Keynes much closer to our critic’s camp than to the Austrians, of all people.)

The juicier ones on his list are coming up.

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • Michael Mills

    I can finally use “Hegelian Dialetic” properly. Thank you, Tom Woods!

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