January 6, 2005 Leave a comment
Sometimes I have an easier time writing blog comments on OPB than I have writing original posts on my own blog.
Someone definitely has the Austrian School’s methodological individualism confused with Chicago School “Social Cost” theory — a conflation of thesis and antithesis.
If Austrians can be accused of anything, it would be putting too much emphasis (if you believe in such a thing*) on the personal satisfaction of individuals and refusing to equate use-value with exchange-value. We’re not the ones claiming, as David Friedman puts it, that everything can be measured in anything else.
(Listen to the second joke Peter Klein tells here for more on this point.)
There ought to be a term for this subcategory of strawman fallacy, where you not only misrepresent your opponent’s view but actually get it exactly backwards.
Perhaps the Wartsman Fallacy? (“warts” being “straw” spelled backwards)
[* "There cannot be too much of a correct theory." -- Ludwig von Mises, Epistemological Problems of Economics.]
Posted by: bkMarcus at January 6, 2005 10:56 AM
And as followup to Why Programmers Should Learn Economics by Stephen W. Carson, I added this:
Joel on Software also wrote a great piece back in 2002 on the economic illiteracy of the open-source movement, confusing zero-price with zero-cost.
In this, Strategy Letter V, he tries to introduce programmers to the concepts of elasticity, substitutes, complements, and their relevance to the computer industry: “Smart companies try to commoditize their products’ complements.”
I used to be a professional programmer. I’m sure I would have been much better at it if I’d known some of these basics back then. Even just grasping the concept of opportunity cost and marginality would have helped me prioritize and schedule more effectively.
Posted by: bkMarcus at January 6, 2005 12:20 PM