Daniel Kuehn objects to my referring to Austrian economists testifying in Washington as “Misesians in Mordor.”
After the last House monetary policy subcommittee hearing (which featured several prominent Austrian economists), the Mises.org blog had several posts titled “Misesians in Mordor“, riffing on the idea that Austrians are somehow strangers in a strange land when they come to Washington D.C., confronting an evil menace which is not very welcoming to them.
Is that really the case? Hardly. It’s more like Misesians in the Shire lately. I was going to tabulate it all out, but instead I’m just going to invite people to poke through the subcommittee’s hearings while Ron Paul has been at the helm. There are basically three groups of people that are asked to testify during these hearings (and usually any given hearing is exclusively composed of one of these groups):
1. Fed officials or other government employees the subcommittee has oversight over
2. Private industry - often people like gold dealers or others involved directly with monetary affairs, and
3. Academic economists
Under Paul’s chairmanship, all of the academic hearings have been dominated by Austrian economists. It’s hard to think of a single prominent Austrian monetary thinker friendly to the Auburn crowd that hasn’t been invited to testify (guys like Steve Horwitz haven’t, but that’s largely because of Paul’s relationship with the Auburn group, I imagine).
Congressional discussions of monetary policy are very, very friendly to the Austrian school.
So, a handful of Austrian economists testify in the last year and 5 months, and that makes the Washington environment qualify as “friendly” to the Austrian school, even though virtually everything else that happens in Washington is completely antithetical to what Austrians call for?
An astounding claim. In the comments, “Patch” tried to put thinks in perspective for Kuehn:
Huh? You might have jumped the gun on that one. Better to say “Congressional discussions of monetary policy [run by Ron Paul] are very, very friendly to the Austrian school.” My memory may not serve me well, but I don’t believe Austrian economists were invited before Ron Paul (on policy legislation, during the banking crisis, etc etc).
“If you’re a Keynesian or a Monetarist you need international renown and decades of seminal publications to testify on monetary policy before Congress. If you’re an Austrian you don’t even need to be a freaking monetary economist – you just need Ron Paul in charge. And yet we’re often told that it’s Keynesians who have the ear of politicians and it’s Keynesians that get the special treatment.”
Under Ron Paul it is undeniable that he chooses Austrians over others. But there were plenty of well qualified Austrian economists that could have been chosen for other events but were not invited. And while they may not have had the credentials of seminal publications and international renown, that was because they were Austrian. You can’t get the types of publications, writing textbooks etc, as an Austrian economist.
Morevoer, as Patch pointed out, Kuehn’s “guys like Steve Horwitz haven’t” statement is contradicted by the fact that Horwitz’s free banking and GMU colleague Lawrence White testified in the very video Kuehn linked to in his post.