spoke to an “Austrian” economics student



me: All I have heard is that the Austrians don’t advocate the use of math.

austrian: We use math.

me: So…

austrian: We just try to not use math as a means of modeling everything.

me: I suppose it’s sensible that we cannot model everything and everyone’s individual preferences. So where does the criticism of Austrians’ love/hate relationship with math come from then?

austrian: An organic system such as the economy is best left without implementing policies based off faulty math.

me: So the whole deal is that you don’t use a lot of math? Is that it?

austrian: Yeah.


I don’t get it. There is nothing wrong with utilizing math to help predict the effects of a policy, but does the Austrian school of thought toss math to the sidelines 90% of the time?

Austrians don’t like mathematically modeling behavior because they think that you can’t.

You can. It’s what neoclassical economics has done using the same ideas Austrians had (utility maxizing individuals, preferences, etc etc)

Perhaps economics could be mathematically organized if we had perfect information and all participants practiced rational behavior that can also be quantified.

But we don’t always have perfect information, the info we do have can’t always be extrapolated and actors are certainly not always rational.  

But I do agree that if math can be utilized, then by all means, do so. I’m just not convinced that it can always be utilized as an effective tool. 

(via libertarians-and-stoya-deactiva)