Turning Austrian

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 9 2012 8:08 AM

Turning Austrian

I did a piece for over the weekend on what the heck is Ron Paul talking about when he's yammering about Austrian economics. I am not impressed with this approach to understanding the business cycle, but more progressive readers may be surprised to learn that my critique of this brand of extreme libertarianism is enough to get me denounces as a tool of the Kochs. You see, before the Koch brothers' funding of right-wing economic policy work made them public enemies number one and two to the left they were seen by the true believers in the Gospel According to Lew Rockwell as having corrupted the authentic word of liberty.

All of which is a nice illustration of something I try to allude to in the piece. Ron Paul's "Austrian economics"—the business cycle theory of Ludwig Von Mises as expounded by Murray Rothbard and Rockwell in the United States—is hardly the only possible takeaway from the work of pre-war classical liberals living in Austria.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.