Are you an Austrian?

Austrian economist, that is. The Mises.org folk have a 25 question quiz on economics to see how you rank according to their perception of the state of the school.

I scored a 92 out of 100, and my complaint is that I believe it is biased toward an anarcho-capitalist stance, which is Rothbardian, not necessarily Mises/Hayek and their predecessors (my minus points come from minarchism and an unwillingness to be reflexively anti-war). But that's a minor quibble.

Update: Charles Oliver believes the quiz should be titled "How Rothbardian are you", and as I say in comments to this post, Oliver says that Hayek, Kirzner, and others wouldn't score 100%. Great minds think alike, eh?
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Update: more here and here

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I scored 100, but I am more

I scored 100, but I am more Rothbardian. I was not too impressed by the test. I felt the "Chicago" answers were not what most Chicago school economists believe. Yes, I know the answers are mostly paraphrases of Milton Friedman, but the Chicago school is constantly growing and changing.

A friend of mine (a neo-classical/Chicago) complained that he wanted answers that were between the Austrian and Chicago answers.

Yeah Chicago isn't

Yeah Chicago isn't necessarily synonymous with neoclassical economics.

For unions, I thought the "austrian" position was political, not economic, whereas the "chicago" position admitted that economics couldn't make a value judgement on unions qua unions (the austrian position assumed that unions exist only due to state intervention and are essentially evil and thus always try to do the wrong thing for the sake of doing the wrong thing).

The Austrian position would agree that a monopoly (of either labor or production) is unsustainable in the long run without government influence, but on the other hand Austrian theory defends the old trusts and monopolies (correctly) for their ever-lower prices provided to the customer. So it would seem that the austrian position re: monopolies would be neutral- if they exist without government intervention or support, its because they're the best at what they do (serve the public), and if they're not, they'll dissolve.

Seems to me that this would apply to trade unions, too, especially in right-to-work states where no union can negotiate/force a closed shop so choice always remains (new entrants in the labor pool to compete against the labor monopolizer). If unions are not maintained by fiat, then Austrian theory should be neutral to them.

And if they ARE, then its again not the union but the fiat that is the problem.

I also had problems with the formulation of the "chicago" position on war. First, what does war have to do with economic theory? War is not economics, its politics by force. It certainly falls into the ethical, not scientific domain. Secondly, the definition of what a "defensive" war is, is quite malleable. Legally, our recent war with Iraq was purely defensive- because it was an extension of the never-ended war in 1991, which was a defensive reaction to Iraqi aggression (with the US 'contracted' by Kuwait's owners as the principal agent to drive out the Iraqis).

I'm sure Anti-War.com and Raimondo et al. would call bullshit on my legalism, but it wouldn't stop it from being legally true. And when they call BS, it stops becoming a matter of science but a matter of ethics or, worse, aesthetics. Properly understood (IMO), Austrian Econ has not much (at all) to say about war. And certainly Hayekians couldn't/wouldn't agree with the Rothbardian insistence on anarcho-capitalistic private provision of defense (since that is part of the fatal conceit that we can do better than evolved systems and can rationally re-engineer society). I'd say that's a serious difference of opinion within strictly Austrian sources, and so the Rothbardian position should not be offered as the Austrian one.

And certainly Hayekians

And certainly Hayekians couldn't/wouldn't agree with the Rothbardian insistence on anarcho-capitalistic private provision of defense (since that is part of the fatal conceit that we can do better than evolved systems and can rationally re-engineer society).

Come again?

Through trial and error, the

Through trial and error, the institutions man has developed involve defense (or rather territorial security) via a "state" actor (one group, acting as government either de facto or de jure).

Thus, to say "because of our rational conclusions, we must abolish state provision of defense and devolve it to private companies", to me is in the same ballpark as socialists who said "because of our [supposedly, - ed.] rational conclusions, we must abolish the institution of nuclear families/sexual ethics/private property/etc and evolve it to the state". The only difference is which direction one is going vis-a-vis the state.

Aside from the Icelandic Free State, I really can't think of an example in history where a human society evolved a private territorial defense system ala Rothbardian competing defense companies.

I also think that provision of territorial defense is always a special case, since that is what the state is, almost by definition- a group that states out territorial claims and reserves the right to use force in supporting that claim.

But, again, I'm a minarchist. I agree that in theory private defense providers should work, but can't see how to implement it in practice (or that we necessarily should).

"Through trial and error,

"Through trial and error, the institutions man has developed involve slavery (or rather ownership of other individuals) via a "slaveowner" actor (one man, acting as owner either de facto or de jure).

Thus, to say "because of our rational conclusions, we must abolish one individual's ownership of other individuals and devolve it to a completely free society", to me is in the same ballpark as socialist who said "because of our [supposedly, - ed.] rational conclusions, we must abolish the institution of nuclear families/sexual ethics/private property/etc and evolve it to the state". The only difference is which direction one is going vis-a-vis the liberty of the individual.

Aside from the Icelandic Free State, I really can't think of an example in history where a human society evolved a completely individualist system ala Abolitionist ideas."

Straw man/Red Herring. How

Straw man/Red Herring.

How is slavery (personal tyranny over another to impose one's will) remotely analogous to territorial defense (organized use of force to determine who can come and go, and who cannot invade)?

Additionally, unlike territorial defense, slavery is (a) not historically ubiquitous (as in, societies existed prior to large scale slavery and slavery was an innovation of sedentary societies), and (b) a personal bad that is an affront to all natural law, liberty, property, etc.

Territorial defense cannot be resolved at the individual level simply by respecting property rights. So it is completely invalid to compare Abolition with Anarchic Defense Agencies.

So it is completely invalid

So it is completely invalid to compare Abolition with Anarchic Defense Agencies.

I am not comparing slavery to monopolistic defense (although some would say that the comparison is not that far off.)

I am saying that at one time, most societies in the world condoned slavery. When abolitionists made their views known, they were called "utopians" and "idealists" because in the world of the common man, a completely free society without slaves had never existed before. Anti-abolitionists would have made a similar argument as you - that societies, for good reason, had evolved to use slavery, and that to espouse Abolition was completely at odds with reality and historical experience.

"Additionally, unlike

"Additionally, unlike territorial defense, slavery is (a) not historically ubiquitous (as in, societies existed prior to large scale slavery and slavery was an innovation of sedentary societies)"

Societies certainly existed prior to large scale statism and the state was an innovation of sedentary societies, so I don't think this criticism of the analogy holds water.

Societies certainly existed


Societies certainly existed prior to large scale statism and the state was an innovation of sedentary societies, so I don't think this criticism of the analogy holds water.

Large-scale statism is a product of the size of the society. Everything we know about primitive societies suggests that there is a powerful state at work, if only embodied in the person of the chief. His decisions are law.

I know Hoppe and his ilk like to dance around with the concept of the state to somehow suggest that the state was invented in the Middle Ages or some other such nonsense, but the ultimate sovereign and the monopoly of legitimate power are old hat in human societies.

- Josh

And certainly Hayekians

And certainly Hayekians couldn't/wouldn't agree with the Rothbardian insistence on anarcho-capitalistic private provision of defense (since that is part of the fatal conceit that we can do better than evolved systems and can rationally re-engineer society).

Just to make my point: if there is any fatal conceit going on here, it is the belief that socialist central planners can rationally calculate how much and what type of national defense a geographic territory needs.

Further, the fact that a certain state of society exists does not mean that it has evolved that way to its final best form. Any cursory of study of history would show this to be true. Were the commies right during the 1980's because the USSR had 'evolved' to communism? Were the slaveowners right during the 1850's because the antebellum South had slaves? Was Hilter right during the 1930's because the Holocaust had "evolved"?

Evolution of societies is an ongoing process. A certain state of affairs does not preclude improvement on that state of affairs.

Further, evolution occurs best when individuals are left free of coercion to make choices to pursue their own ends. Eleutheria is a precondition for Kosmos. A monopolistic territorial defense system is a violation of Eleutheria.

That does not mean that anarchocapitalism is the answer to national defense; there are questions about the delivery of public goods that need to be resolved. But you make a big mistake when you say that espousal of anarchocapitalism is any sort of 'fatal conceit'. Quite the opposite; belief in a central authority to rationally allocate resources towards monopolistic territorial defense is the 'fatal conceit'.

"there are questions about

"there are questions about the delivery of public goods that need to be resolved"

why? what questions? who needs to resolve them?

entrepreneurs can better resolve any questions locally and incrementally or occasionally with grand breakthroughs. we do not need any prior great intellectual "resolution."

There are a couple of things

There are a couple of things that you should all keep in mind with the quiz. 1) the program for the quiz made it necessary to label answers as being more or less meritorious. I wrote a large part of the quiz, and it was not my intention to slander the Chicago school. I think that Chicago economists have come up with some good arguments, and in many cases the differences between the Chicago and VIenna positions are subtle. That is why I did not touch the interest question. 2) These are approaximizations of the schools positions. I emphasized the (Milton) Friedmanite version of Chicago because it is the most famous. I know that Chicago has changed over time. I also know that there are a few Chicago anarchist. But try summing up all the details of the evolution of the Chicago school in five sentances... Also, I am a Hayekian, not a Rothbardian. I deliberately inserted some Hayekian views- I mentioned of the worst getting on top. I mentioned Hayek's "Non Sequitur" response to Galbraith in the consumer question. I focused on the evolutionary aspect of money, rather than the fractional reserve fraud issue than a Rothbardian would have. So there is more Hayekian influence that some seem to think. I also worked in some Rothbardian anarchism- trying to achieve some balance. I do not see this as a problem, because Hayek himself had nice things to say about the anarchic works of Don Lavoie and Walter Block. Hayek turned more anarchist in his own latter writings- like his piece on free banking in the late seveties. Hayek never endorsed full blown anarchy, but he liked some anarchist writings and there are Hayekians who are anarchists, or open to the idea of anarchism. Describing the evolution of AUstrian economics into Rothbardian, Hayekian, and Lachmanian variants fully is not possible in such a quiz. I took a shot at incorporating Hayekian and Rothbardian elements into these short answers. Its just a quiz anyway.

DW, Thanks for the further

DW,

Thanks for the further clarifications. I had no idea that Hayek was open to the idea of anarchism in his later writings. I always saw him as sort of a 'safety net' classical liberal. I guess I have some reading to do.