You will get this once in a while. More than 95 percent of the time it will come from people who have never heard of or read anything by Ludwig von Mises. I got it in response to my post “Austrian Economics Is Common Sense” (which was in fact not aimed at these critics but at the small crew that insists on viewing commonsense Mengerian price theory as a violation of Christian orthodoxy).
A commenter wrote:
Austrian economics is “common sense” to those who lack it to begin with. It is obvious that since economic theory deals with complex human interactions, “common sense” doesn’t even come into the equation. As for Austrian economics, the foundation being praxeology, which in of [sic] itself rejects empirical data and the scientific method, is nothing more than ideological posturing. This is why as a “theory” it isn’t taken serious [sic] by mainstream economics.
I’ll leave aside whether being welcomed with open arms by “mainstream economics” is something to be so coveted given the complete failure of “mainstream economics” to anticipate the crash of 2008 or come up with anything plausible (and that hasn’t already been tried) to lift the world’s depressed economies out of their ruts. We’ll likewise leave aside that we would also have to call J.B. Say and proto-praxeologists John Cairnes and Nassau Senior unscientific stupidheads who read sheep entrails, since they too viewed economics as a deductive science.
My reply, also posted at the link above:
Translation: I know nothing about Austrian economics apart from a comment I read at HuffPo.
Can you explain to me Mises’ arguments regarding where empirical data is useful and where it is not, or regarding the epistemological status of economic propositions? I know you have thought about this deeply, so surely you can at least explain the Austrian position even if you don’t agree with it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Needless to say, you didn’t watch the video. What claim made in the video is ideological posturing? [[crickets]]
By the way, what ideology was Euclid, who rejected “empirical data” and the “scientific method,” pimping for?
Plenty of Austrian works contain quite a bit of empirical data, which is why I am sure no one making these claims has read the Austrians. Murray Rothbard’s important book America’s Great Depression is a good example. The relevant question is, what is the role of empirical data in economics? Does it establish a theory or merely lend support to a theory already established on other grounds? Merely calling the Austrians “unscientific” is laziness of a truly striking kind and begs every pertinent question.
For the real as opposed to the caricatured version of the Austrian method in economics, I recommend Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s short Economic Science and the Austrian Method, followed by George Selgin, Praxeology and Understanding: An Analysis of the Controversy in Austrian Economics.