'Do You Austrians Have a Better Idea?'

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A lot of people get annoyed with Austrian economists because they tend to be so dogmatic (we prefer the term consistent) and because they cloak their strictly economic claims with self-righteousness (we prefer the term morality). After a good Austrian bashing of the latest call to steal taxpayer money and waste it on something that will make a given problem worse, the stumped critics will often shout, "Oh yeah? Well do you guys have a better idea?"

Now, in truth, someone doesn’t have to have a better suggestion in order to point out that a recommended strategy will exacerbate the situation. If an allergic man has been stung by a bee, I don’t know what to do except rush him to the hospital and maybe scour the cupboards looking for Benadryl. But I’m pretty sure drawing blood from his leg, in order to inject it into his arm and thus "stimulate his immune system," is a bad idea on numerous accounts — not least of which, is that I’m pretty sure an allergic reaction means your immune system needs to calm down. But the point is, if a bunch of guys hold the man down — he has to be forced to endure the procedure for his own good, don’t you know — I feel perfectly qualified in yelling, "Stop!"

If you grasped that analogy, you can understand my feelings about anything Paul Krugman writes.

(All joking aside, I am pretty proud of the above analogy. But to make it even more accurate, let’s stipulate that a blind heroin addict, who has been convicted of manslaughter on three separate occasions, is the one entrusted with making the transfusion. Naturally he will use one of his own needles for the procedure.)

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Bob Murphy [send him mail] runs the blog Free Advice and is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism.

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