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Thread: Maggie Thatcher is dead
14-04-2013, 10:50 AM #181
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- Nov 2011
Still, it has the advantage of a theoretically locally accountable representative combined with proportional representation, and so far has resulted in mostly stable governments, which most of the time were coalition governments (now, if some those governments, including the current one, were any good is a different question...).
14-04-2013, 12:19 PM #182
I'm not overly interested in an in depth debate on the merits of Austrian and Keynesian economic policy, both because I suspect your knowledge far outweighs mine, and because the moment I get in depth someone always comes along with the whole "lolbertarian shut up" routine, but I'll throw out some idle thoughts.
I wouldn't argue that we've not tried austerity hard enough, I'd argue that we've not tried austerity at all. Cutting the rate that you increase debt is not going to fix any problems in the same sense that cutting the rate that you accelerate at isn't going to stop you crashing into the object in front of you. If cutting deficit is actually what austerity is, then I'd argue that austerity isn't the answer. Like I said, the Keynesian approach would probably work better than what the Coalition is practicing (having said that, the EU budget save this last week has increased in real terms year on year, so it's clearly not a simple case of increase spending => increase prosperity).
I also wouldn't say that Austrian school economics rejects empiricism as "hooey" - it simply states that the economic model is too complex for empiricism to hold any more weight than praxeology at this point. Perhaps it was entirely reasonable to reject it out of hand at the time the big proponents of the ideology since computers didn't exist, modelling billions of irrational beings would have been inconceivable. It still is, we don't understand the way people work in great depth at all. What's more, the moment you try to apply empiricism to humans, their behaviour changes. Empiricism requires a controlled environment, and that means people know that they are being experimented upon. Any results from biological, psychological or sociological experiments cannot hold the same weight as chemical or physics experiment because the test subject(s) is conscious of what is happening, and this will condition their responses. Similarly, the placebo effect supersedes the rationality of drugs treatment by the patient simply willing it to work. The effect has been documented for close to 250 years, we use it successfully (if not in an entirely legally sound manner) on a daily basis, yet it's not truly understood and is essentially one big appeal to authority.
In any case, it's difficult for me to understand how one could completely dismiss praxeology out of hand. Predicate logic is well established in mathematics and critical thinking, and praxeology is simply applying that to an irrational set. It's not been rigorously experimented with since well before the enlightenment, but the principle of the state's outgoings being lower than its income is one that I feel is hard to refute. Most proponents of Keynesians who I talk with say that the state doesn't work that way, but in reality what they're saying is that the state doesn't [have to] work that way. The Keynesian model relies on predictable growth, but economic crises have demonstrated that growth, like the players, is irrational. Austrian economics relies on predictable outgoings, but since we can't take economic theory in isolation, the social crises that come with the economic crises have demonstrated that outgoings are irrational too.Itsbastiat, Dawngate
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14-04-2013, 04:57 PM #183
agree that a stimulus helps the economy recover.
My question is this. If evidence shows that reducing government spending by a small amount is harmful, why would reducing it by a large amount be favorable?
response bias? This is indeed a problem for the social sciences, although one they have gone to great lengths to minimize. Nowadays, creating a scientific survey is a very elaborate process that's carefully scrutinized to ensure that responses are as accurate as possible. There is a whole field solely dedicated to it.
It's a moot point either way, since macroeconomics generally does not concern itself with surveys. The effects of austerity are measured with quantitative factors, such as GDP growth, price levels, average incomes, etc. Objective data rather than subjective opinions.
The next paragprahs deal with the philosophy of science and the importance of empiricism. I strongly recommend reading up on the subject mater, if scientific research interests you. Popper's "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" is a good starting point. Or Talebs "The Black Swan" if you prefer something a bit more user-friendly.
One of the pivotal concepts of modern science is falsifiability. Any theory needs to be constructed in such a way, that it can be proven false by observation. If the theory is actually shown to be false, then it needs to be replaced with a new, improved one. If, for instance, I say "all swans are white", then my theory could easily be falsified by showing me a black swan, whereupon I would have to come up with a new theory, e.g. "all swans are black or white".
Science is an evolving process. Most of Freud's theories aren't relevant to modern psychology for instance, but his work was still an important stepping stool for the field. Any scientist has to accept that his theories can, and often will, be proven wrong. That's not a bad thing, that's how we achieve progress. This is why I think the Austrian school's praxeology is problematic. If your models cannot be disproven, they can never incorporate new insights, they can never progress. As such, adherents to the Austrian school cannot be considered scientists. If they want to theorize about the world in their ivory towers, then let them. But comparing them to actual researchers who genuinely try to understand the field they're working in is just insulting.
14-04-2013, 07:17 PM #184
15-04-2013, 08:36 AM #185
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- Jun 2011
15-04-2013, 04:37 PM #186
16-04-2013, 11:15 AM #187
Her Son is also a peer now*, that's social justice for you. Her daughter isn't a terribly pleasant person either by all accounts. Not that I take joy from their grief, but the sympathy comes with conditions. The state funeral (in all but name) is totally inappropriate.
*EDIT: My mistake, Thatcher was awarded the last hereditary title in history but the right to sit in the Lords was only a life peerage. Still he's a "Sir" which is a nonsense.
Last edited by Zephro; 16-04-2013 at 11:24 AM.