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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10884/ceo-of-ing-insurance-to-woods-who-cares-about-austrias-economy/

CEO of ING Insurance to Woods: Who Cares about Austria’s economy?

October 21, 2009 by

Tom Woods spoke last night at the UConn School of Business, opposite Tom McInerney, ING Chairman & CEO Insurance Americas (which received $3 billion euros in bailout money from the Dutch government). The topic was “Too Big to Fail?: Perspectives on Government Intervention During Economic Collapse.” Reports from audience members overwhelmingly agree that Woods absolutely wiped the floor with McInerney. Woods, of course, was well prepared and presented a coherent economic case for his position, and was entertaining to boot. McInerney, by contrast, ate up some of his time on personal anecdotes about the school, like a typical Dale Carnegie back-slapping schmoozer, before getting to a dry and boring Powerpoint obviously prepared by some lackey. McInerney reportedly played lip service to the idea that no company should be bailed out–but, of course, “this was a special circumstance.”

The extent to which he was outmatched, though, was revealed in this almost embarrassingly funny episode. McInerney had mentioned that Bernanke was a diligent and knowledgeable student of the Great Depression. So, when it came time for the Q&A, one audience member asked Woods to briefly explain the Austrian view of Great Depression and how it might differ from Bernanke’s view. After Woods did this, McIerney took the stage, and as if he were about to unload a devastating blow against Woods, said to him, “this might seem like a bit of an attack. Don’t take it too personally.” And then…. he began to rant about … the relatively small size of the country of Austria. I kid you not.

Some audience members began to laugh; others cringed, as McInerney dug his hole deeper while under the illusion that he was unleashing a deadly zinger. Woods kept trying to stage whisper that Austria had nothing to do with the school of Austrian economics, but McInerney, undeterred, plowed on. Thus, when Woods took the stage he said, “this might seem like an attack, but don’t take it too personally…” And then Woods commented that we may as well say we shouldn’t listen to Milton Friedman, since the GDP of Chicago is pretty low.

{ 97 comments }

K.C. October 22, 2009 at 8:52 pm

He can’t be that ignorant. He’s obviously pulling an Obama by pretending his critics don’t exist or are unworthy of debate. He’s probably playing the game that most people are too stupid to know the truth or find it out for themselves. He knew he had no leg to stand on against Tom. It was probably meant in jest – at least the ING stockholders hope so.

Seriously though, you could not make up something that funny.

Ball October 22, 2009 at 11:40 pm
Tracy Saboe October 23, 2009 at 12:33 am

That’s hilarious LOL

Tracy

TokyoTom October 23, 2009 at 1:55 am

Thanks for this report, Stephan.

And well, said, Tom!

Terri K October 23, 2009 at 8:22 am

Michael Maier, I think DixieFlatline has a good point.

In my experience, many of those formally trained in economics in any way, shape or form, but especially those with credentials from the most highly regarded schools, hang on to their little paradigms like a pit bull with lock jaw.

In contrast, plain ol’ common folks like me, with a healthy case of intellectual curiosity, but with neither preconceived notions nor fancy economics degrees, easily “get it” because AE makes so much logical sense and is easily provable at least a zillion times a day in Real Life. So what if it doesn’t involve complicated mathematical equations and other theoretical BS that makes most people’s eyes glaze over?

The former group simply will not (cannot?) admit that everything they’ve been taught might not be 100% correct. Seems to me, most of them can’t even do even a little critical examination of what they “know to be true”.

Tom Woods explains it all with such clarity, I would think that his words would make someone at least ponder the possibilities. McInerney is a fool.

GilesS October 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

It’s funny how people here just don’t get it.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 23, 2009 at 3:13 pm

GilesS,

Get what?

GilesS October 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm

People here are missing quite a bit really.

But what’s really telling is how somebody outside of academia makes a mistake to which people here reply “look how stupid and corrupt mainstram academics are!”.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm

GilesS,

Give it a rest. Who are you, anyway, that people here should take your opinion seriously?

D October 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

GilesS strikes me as an arrogant prick.

That it is all.

Bala October 24, 2009 at 2:07 am

GilesS,

I wonder who is not getting it. Looks like you have failed to comprehend the main point of the article – to highlight how
1. the mainstream is completely ignorant of the Austrian School of Economics. That’s rather sad because the Austrian School of Economics is the only one that gives a coherent and easy to understand explanation for the occurence of Business Cycles. It’s so simple even laymen like me can make sense of it. It’s even more sad that as a result, the only real solution to the crisis is not going to be implemented in the near future.
2. how mainstream education dumbs you down to the extent that even if someone takes 40 minutes to explain something in very simple language, all he can do is to completely fail to understand it and instead pompously spew out a load of rubbish.

GilesS October 24, 2009 at 7:51 am

“1. the mainstream is completely ignorant of the Austrian School of Economics. That’s rather sad because the Austrian School of Economics is the only one that gives a coherent and easy to understand explanation for the occurence of Business Cycles. It’s so simple even laymen like me can make sense of it. It’s even more sad that as a result, the only real solution to the crisis is not going to be implemented in the near future.
2. how mainstream education dumbs you down to the extent that even if someone takes 40 minutes to explain something in very simple language, all he can do is to completely fail to understand it and instead pompously spew out a load of rubbish.”

So now every “mainstream economist” who doesn’t understand the ABCT (there’s a lot them) is an idiot? Or at least, they’re “dumbed down”. Perhaps he didn’t understand the argument because before Roger Garrison nobody ever put it in a way that mainstream economists would understand.

The “mainstream” is only ignorant of the Rothbardian branch of Austrian economics, for good reason.

Giles October 24, 2009 at 8:57 am

For what it’s worth, a quick Wikipedia check reveals that Chicago has a higher GDP than Austria!

GDP of Chicago: $ 460 Billion
GDP of Austria: $330 Billion

Chad October 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

I am a history major and I do not know a whole lot about economics in general, but I am pretty sure that I understand the Austrian School (I have never been confused listening to Dr. Woods, anyway). This had me rolling and I cannot wait to see the video!

Tom Woods October 24, 2009 at 11:32 am

GilesS, you actually think Man, Economy, and State is pretty unimpressive, huh?

And no, no one was saying people are stupid for not knowing about the Austrian School. The point was that (1) you might expect someone to look into it before a debate, knowing your opponent will be talking about it, and (2) I had just spoken about Austrian economics for 40 MINUTES.

You’re saying it’s super-smart to think Austrian economics involves the country of Austria, event after you’ve listened to a 40-minute presentation on the subject. I’d love to hear you try to debate that one.

Brian Macker October 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Giles,

You are not stupid. Just ignorant. Also foolish for not recognizing your ignorance.

Ireland October 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

People mix up economy and economics a lot, but only rarely it results in such an entertaining performance.
Another nice thing is to read Tom in action — there’s more of us waiting for GilesS’s answer …

GilesS October 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Tom,

Perhaps the guy is an idiot, perhaps he was just not listening. I never disputed this, although I don’t think a single (highly embarassing) mistake such as this is grounds for making such claims.

Now, I don’t know what topic you’ve been reading, but above there’s plenty of comments making statements that just don’t follow from this one guy being an idiot. The idea that “mainstream” academic economics are stupid or dogmatic may also be true (I don’t think it is), but the statements made by the CEO of ING don’t prove this one bit.

(For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed MES).

D October 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

GilesS

You thoroughly enjoyed it; but people ignore it for good reason.

Keep digging….

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

D,

Exactly, GilesS is full of crap.

GilesS October 25, 2009 at 6:35 am

“GilesS

You thoroughly enjoyed it; but people ignore it for good reason.

Keep digging….

Nobody ignores it, they’ve just never heard of it because nobody in academia reads a 1,500 pages treatise that is what? 50 years old.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 25, 2009 at 8:05 am

GilesS,

For what it’s worth, the 1,500 page version of MES is the scholars edition published in 2004 that combines the original texts of MES and Power and Market; the original MES was about 1000 pages, pretty much the same as the 60 year old book Human Action.

So what’s your point? Why don’t you go tell your buddies at the GMU blog that nobody in academia reads Human Action for that reason. What a tool.

trent steel March 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

@Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light I know it’s fashionable to bash GMU at the Mises Institute. I happen to love the Institute and also recognize that, while they don’t agree on everything, bashing GMU is like bashing people who put mustard instead of ketchup on their hamburger, while everyone else is pouring on sand. It seems like they debate so venomously because they’re the only two that have enough to talk about. That said, I side with the Institute in almost, or in fact maybe all, of the disagreements. I just think the insults are unproductive (unless slung at, say, Harvard! :) ) And btw, the Austrian Economics class at GMU assigns Human Action, Menger’s Principles, Hazlitt’s “The Failure of the ‘New Economics’,” and Hayek, so check your facts.

trent steel March 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hmmm… for some reason it left off my last line. The class has in the past also assigned MES.

Current October 25, 2009 at 10:59 am

The funny thing about this business of difficult books is that the mainstream economists want to have it both ways.

Some of them say “I’ve never studied the Austrian School because the books are so long and difficult”. Others says “The reason all of these ‘amateur’ economists on the internet talk about the Austrians is because their books use verbal reasoning and are easy to understand by the novice.”

I’ve even read some of them trying to argue both at different times. Apparently we read long books on Austrian economics because it’s much easier than understanding mainstream books. They however do not read these long books on Austrian economics because they’re much more difficult than understanding the mainstream paradigm.

GilesS October 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Lord B, I would be willing to be that it’s length and date (as well as the philosophical content) IS the reason that most mainstream economists don’t read HA.

So I don’t really know what point you’re trying to make.

Current, the arguments you cite aren’t contradictory.

Tony Pivetta October 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Austrian economics has nothing to do with the economy of Austria?! Yeah, and now I suppose you’re going to tell me disdaining French for Freedom fries has nothing to do with hating France and loving Freedom? Only by advancing the unique monstrosity of the French can we hope to advance the cause of freedom! Who cares if “French” fries are the Belgians’ national side dish–to such an extent the French themselves refer to the Belgians as “les frites”?! Freedom is as freedom lovers eat; Austrian is as Austrian lovers enable the Austrians to eat.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 25, 2009 at 8:51 pm

GilesS,

First you write:

“The “mainstream” is only ignorant of the Rothbardian branch of Austrian economics, for good reason.”

which clearly comes off as an insult, that the reason for this ignorance owes to deficiencies in Rothbard’s work.

Then you write:

“(For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed MES).”

After which, when asked to reconcile these two claims, you appeal to the verbosity and age of the works as the reason Rothbard’s work has been neglected. You could have just said that to begin with, but never mind. The point is, you were initially trying to insult Rothbardians, and only backtracked when called out on it. In other words, you were bullshitting.

Like I said, go to the GMU blog and post this:

“The “mainstream” is only ignorant of the Misesian branch of Austrian economics, for good reason.”

Wait to see the reactions you get, THEN claim you only meant that HA was long and old. Bet you won’t get a warm round of applause.

Bala October 26, 2009 at 1:31 am

Lord Buzungulus,

” which clearly comes off as an insult, that the reason for this ignorance owes to deficiencies in Rothbard’s work. ”

Actually, it’s more an attempt at smearing and arguing by intimidation. Note how he fails to mention the “good reason”. I am still waiting for him to mention it. It would indeed be interesting to read it if and when he posts it.

GilesS October 26, 2009 at 7:02 am

Lord B, I’d be more than willing to put that conjecture forward on The Austrian Economists if it came up, I’m not sure if they’d agree but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable claim. Just a few weeks ago Dr Horwitz made a post saying that few people know of Ostrom and Williamson because few academics read works that are more than 10 years old.

Few people in the mainstream have heard of self described Rothbardians such as Hans Hoppe not because Rothbard’s work was deficient (although, in some respects I believe it was) but because a lot of Rothbardians don’t interact with the mainstream. The two claims are easy to reconcile.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 26, 2009 at 8:09 am

I’m not suggesting that you should claim Mises’ lack of impact on the mainstream is due to the length and age his works, I’m suggesting you should say that it is “for good reason,” without qualification as you did here in reference to Rothbard.

Again, you said:

“The “mainstream” is only ignorant of the Rothbardian branch of Austrian economics, for good reason.”

Since you’re now claiming consistency throughout, let me ask: do you think the length and age of a book is “good reason” to be ignorant of it?

GilesS October 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

Nope, but when academics isolate themselves, that’s a good reason for others to be ignorant of their work.

And, by and large, that’s exactly what the Rothbard bunch have done.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 26, 2009 at 9:27 am

“Nope, but when academics isolate themselves, that’s a good reason for others to be ignorant of their work.”

A fair point, but one you should have made initially.

Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

“Giles”:

“Rothbardians don’t interact with the mainstream”

“when academics isolate themselves, that’s a good reason for others to be ignorant of their work.

And, by and large, that’s exactly what the Rothbard bunch have done.”

I think you are confusing lack of compromise with “isolation.” The MIses Institute itself does all it can to broadcast Austrian economics. That the mainstream ignores its scholars is to their shame, not ours.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light October 26, 2009 at 11:43 am

Also, while some self-imposed academic isolation of the sort GilesS alludes to may exist, there could also be exclusion on the part of mainstream economists. Weren’t Huelsmann’s and Block’s responses to Caplan rejected? Does GilesS think this is simply because those papers were unworthy of publication? Or would he grant that the explicitly praxeological orientation of those papers was utterly foreign to a neoclassical reviewer? I’m not saying there is active collusion against Misesians/Rothbardians, only that the distinctiveness of their method lends itself to easy (and lazy) dismissial on the part of those unfamiliar with that school of thought. But this is not the same thing as isolation.

LD October 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

You people are idiots. McInerney is running a company not engaging in some inane academic exercise in some divorced from reality ivory tower. Do you think Warren Buffet or many of the top CEO’s in the world have the slightest clue what you are talking about or care. These are people with real payrolls, real jobs, real responsibilities not some ninny like Brad engaing in overblown pretentious drivel and smug self-satisfaction. This discourse by you people explains all that is wrong with Academia. Get out in the real world why don’t you and try to achive something.

John Spiers March 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Hang on, LD, McInerney is a welfare queen who after attending college worked his way up in the world of govt-directed insurance industry, and when his policies failed, he was bailed out. Warren Buffet is the beneficiary of survivorship bias. The reason we people who actually work for a living, self-employed small business follow the Austrian theory, is because it makes sense and is generally borne out when tested.

Abhilash Nambiar October 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm

LD,

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that to achieve something in the real world, one needs a fundamentally sound understanding of the aspect of reality that one is dealing with. An aviator requires knowing the fundamentals of aerodynamics; a banker requires knowing the fundamentals of economics. Tom McInerney is not an achiever because he relies on handouts from the Dutch government instead of his own merits. And this conversation/debate exposes his fundamentally unsound roots. Warren Buffet has the same problem too. He did lose a lot of money during this recession because of it, but he had a principled father who influenced him well enough when he was young and impressionable. Few people realize the strength behind Warren’s success; his father Howard Buffet.

I think you will find these links interesting:
http://mises.org/daily/3745
http://mises.org/daily/3408
http://gsgiles.snappages.com/Blustery%20Day.htm

D October 27, 2009 at 7:45 am

“Nobody ignores it, they’ve just never heard of it because nobody in academia reads a 1,500 pages treatise that is what? 50 years old.”

What are you 10 years old?

Not only did you dodge your mistake, but you actually managed to state that no one ignores it, when your original point was that everyone ignores it.

Giles October 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm

“I think you are confusing lack of compromise with “isolation.” The MIses Institute itself does all it can to broadcast Austrian economics. That the mainstream ignores its scholars is to their shame, not ours.”

But that’s just not true. .

Steve November 1, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Any updates on a video? This has to be priceless.

Matt November 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm

bump

Robert N November 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

yes indeed, the video has to be amazing.

iamse7en November 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Yeah, I’m wondering about the video?

Anthony R November 25, 2009 at 6:58 am

Video! Video! Video!

We were told one would be forthcoming. Don’t leave us hanging like that!

Chesley March 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm

This exchange reminds me of the deer in the headlights answer that McCain gave to Ron Paul during the debates when asked about the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. It was hard to discern whether or not he was completely ignorant of the existence of such a group, or bewildered that he should need to answer for it on a live televised debate. Anyway, it also sailed over the heads of the masses.

Curt Howland March 16, 2010 at 7:53 am

Yes, indeed, this MUST be documented.

Where is the video/audio?

Not _just_ because I want to see the guy make a fool of himself. No, really that’s not it.

What I want to see is what he tried to say, and how, to disprove what Woods had presented.

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