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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/19166/a-note-on-delongs-interpretive-mental-disorder/

A Note on DeLong’s Interpretive Mental Disorder

November 13, 2011 by

Brad DeLong comments on Ron Paul’s (and Mises’) views on monetary expansion, inflation, and the business cycles, showing (once again) a complete lack of understand of Mises’ argument.  I am bit hesitant to comment on the Mises blog, given that few readers here probably even care about what DeLong has to say.  But, to me it is amazing that an academic of DeLong’s stature (he is, believe it or not, a respected scholar) is so incapable of actually putting forth the required energy to actually understand what he is criticizing before making the comment.  Instead, DeLong decides to make himself look like an idiot to everyone but those who already worship him.

I usually try to restrain myself from personal attacks and this kind of language, but to me it is obvious that there is just no other way to characterize DeLong (and it does not help that DeLong categorizes Mises’ monetary theory as a “mental disorder”).

DeLong writes,

The point of view underlying von Mises’s–and von Hayek, and Marx, and Ron Paul–complaint against fiat money in general and monetary management of the business cycle in particular is this: that value comes from human sweat and toil, not from being clever. Thus it is fine for money to have value if it is 100% backed by gold dug from the earth by sweat and machines and muscles (even if there is no state of the possible future world in which people actually want to exchange their pieces of paper for the gold that supposedly backs it). But it is not fine for money to have value simply because it is useful for buying things.

To anybody with a modicum of knowledge on Misesian economic theory, it is readily obvious that DeLong has never read any of Mises’ work (which is quite unfortunate, since the scholars which give bases to DeLong’s economic beliefs did give Mises the respect deserved — including economists such as Don Patinkin [even if Patinkin did not agree with Mises]).

For Mises, wholly in the Mengerian tradition, all value is subjective.  It has nothing to do whether something was produced through “human sweat and toil”.  Indeed, it was probably the rise in the popularity of Marxist theory that inspired the marginal revolution (of which, as we all know, Menger was a leader)  Moreover, the value of money is generally how DeLong describes it himself — money is a general medium of exchange; it is demanded, precisely because it can be used for indirect exchange.  Mises would never deny that paper money has some sort of value.  If it did not have value, then it would not be demanded.

But, the question of why money has value is not at the source of Mises’ arguments on inflation and the business cycle.  Mises and Paul prefer gold, because gold is more resistant to inflation.  It is more difficult to produce.  This element of scarcity is one of many factors which made gold popular before the broad, global introduction of fiat monies.  It is this element of scarcity which gives some limited long-term guarantee of stability of value of the monetary unit.  (Neither does DeLong discuss Mises’ views on money substitutes and the necessity of fiduciary media [even if for Mises the role of fiduciary media is many times more limited than the role applied to it by some modern Austrians, such as Selgin and White].  Perhaps it does not behoove DeLong to actually accurately report Mises’ ideas, because then he might be forced to revise his own way of thinking.)

DeLong shows himself completely ignorant as to the real argument behind Mises’ support of gold and his opposition to fiat currency (or any government intervention in money, for that matter).  For Mises, economic theory deals with explaining the market process — the processes of coordination and discoordination (see my articles: “The Foremost Austrian Contribution to Economic Science” and “Government Spending is Bad Economics“).  Monetary inflation disrupts the process of economic coordination.  More specifically, it disrupts intertemporal discoordination — that is, the investment of saved resources.

I am not arguing that Mises is necessarily right (although, I firmly believe that he is).  I am arguing that DeLong should attack the actual argument.

Instead, DeLong has only relegated himself to the status of a second or third-rate academic scholar.  I, myself, do not mind much.  DeLong is doing our work for us; he is discrediting himself as a serious thinker.  If DeLong wishes to prove me wrong, I suggest starting by reading Mises’ The Theory of Money and Credit.

It might be in DeLong’s interest to clear up this mess, though, because if word spreads that he is actually a poor scholar of the history of economic thought then I am not sure who is going to take his upcoming book on the history of economic thought very seriously.

{ 61 comments }

Greg Ransom November 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

DeLong is just a dishonest man.

The is the first thing that always needs to be pointed out. It explains most of what is going on.

Daniel Kuehn November 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Next you’re going to tell us he’s a Russian pornographer just like you accused Levine when he had the audacity to read Hayek and come to a different conclusion from you (a conclusion not without problems – as I noted – but much more faithful to the text than yours).

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

This is not about coming to a different conclusion. This is about completely misinterpreting a thinker’s work, presenting this misinterpretation as true (without evidence for it), and then claiming that you actually read/understood that scholar’s work (when he obviously doesn’t — otherwise he wouldn’t made such ridiculously incorrect claims).

Daniel Kuehn November 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Do not confuse a criticism I would make about Greg with a criticism I would make of you. You’ve never called me a liar that I remember, or others who disagree with him Russian pornographers.

As I said below – I think you make some good criticisms of DeLong here, but I think in your frustration you’re missing some really good points he’s made and his quality as a scholar of the history of economic thought.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

What really goods points did he make? Or, are you saying in general? And, I’m calling into question his dedication to actually understanding the arguments he’s analyzing. If he can’t do Mises justice, then how can I trust his judgment on any other scholar that he doesn’t agree with?

A. November 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Do you really want to defend DeLong’s reading of Mises and Hayek here? Come on, you can tell the truth.

Robert Fellner November 14, 2011 at 3:28 am

“As I said below – I think you make some good criticisms of DeLong here, but I think in your frustration you’re missing some really good points he’s made and his quality as a scholar of the history of economic thought.”

This is Daniel Kuehn-speak for, “You are completely right, I am incapable of conceding that, and will offer a half-measure acknowledgment of the validity of your critique followed by a vague reference to the good points DeLong made without specifying what it is I am referring to. But ya I guess you have some good points, but so does DeLong! (Just don’t ask me what they are, and if you do, don’t expect my answer to have anything at all to do with the point you are making here).”

It’s baffling to see how many people continually engage this guy. His argumentation style is so transparent and constantly devoid of anything of substance.

Bardhyl N. Salihu November 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

I thought of that too. The attention that Kuehn’s pathetic non-sense gets reminds me of DeLong. I guess this is what bad “scholars” have in common.

Daniel Kuehn November 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

He’s not completely right – I’d have no problem saying it if he was completely right. I have endorsed things that Jonathan has said before. When I say he’s partly right, I think he’s partly right. If I don’t think he has a shred of rightness about him I’ll say that too.

DeLong points out the problem of Mises considering growth from money expansion “artificial”. Jonathan throws the baby out with the bathwater by pointing to what’s wrong with DeLong without addressing this point. And Jonathan is being childish by calling DeLong a second or third rate scholar.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Daniel,

Re-read the excerpt DeLong quotes.

Mises is not calling the money expansion itself artificial. He is saying that credit expansion leads to artificial stimulation.

RFN November 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Brilliant*.

*Robert Fellner’s comment.

Ryan November 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

Two questions for you, Kuehn:

1 – Why does Jonathan need to go out of his way to laud DeLong’s accomplishments in the context of this issue? Why?

2 – When will DeLong *ever* afford an Austrian-school economist the same courtesy?

Hard Rain November 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

DeLong straw-mans Mises and Hayek so pathetically it’s laughable (labour theory of value!? Are you freakin’ kidding me!?) and then we’re supposed to take him seriously thereafter? I think not.

Greg Ransom November 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm

You’ve shown yourself not to be honest & to be a poor reader yourself, Daniel.

Please stop stalking me.

Richard Moss November 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Actually, Brad DeLong said he did read Mises’s The Theory of Money and Credit. He pronounced it “totally batsh— insane”

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/12/when-reactionar.html

Bob Murphy comments on DeLong’s post here;

http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2008/12/brad-delong-doesnt-even-know-who-hes-dealing-with.html

By the way, in The Theory of Money and Credit, Mises explicitly criticized another economist, Laughlin, because he claimed the Austrian gulden (which had its redemption for silver suspended in 1859) continued to be used as money because people thought it would be redeemable for silver again in the near future. Mises explained why this was not the case, and that people valued it as money because other people accepted it as money.

Daniel Kuehn November 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm

First, I think you’re out of your depths with DeLong. He knows a lot more about subjective value theory and the early marginalists than either you or I do.

I do think you are right to point out that he focuses more than he should on a cost of production (even if it is a subjective cost) for Mises in this explanation, but he’s right to be incredulous at the sweeping declarations of value as being artificial or fictional. That was a weak claim on Mises’s part and it was right for DeLong to draw attention to it.

Hopefully you won’t construe my recognition of DeLong as an insightful thinker on these issues as “worshiping” him.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Um Daniel, where do I talk about DeLong’s views on the subjective theory of value? This post is a discussion of his views on Mises. He essentially claims that Mises is writing outside of this tradition, which is absolutely ludicrous (and a result of very bad scholarship).

And again, there is no “cost of production” element in Mises’ explanation of value to focus on. Whatever focus DeLong puts on this element is completely unwarranted, since it does not exist in Mises’ writing. Mises never claims that the value of money is “artificial” or “fictional”, nor does the term “out of thin air” suggest that the value is also produced “out of thin air”.

Daniel Kuehn November 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm

You called DeLong a second or third rate scholar. I’m calling BS on that broader point, referencing things that are relevant to this post.

He has read Mises by the way – what you suggest he reads, as well as Liberalism, and potentially others.

Justin J. November 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I don’t see how you can say it’s BS to call DeLong a second or third rate scholar. He has either failed to understand, or blatantly misrepresented, the theory he’s criticising. How is that consistent with being a first rate scholar? Why did he do it? Was it genuine ignorance, or intellectual dishonesty? How else can one explain it?

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm

He doesn’t show an understanding enough to prove to me that he really has read The Theory of Money and Credit. If he did read that book he wouldn’t have made such a horrible mistake in this latest post.

It would be like me saying I’ve read The General Theory and then claim that Keynes did not support a liquidity preference theory of interest, rather he believed interest was purely a product of time preference.

Niko November 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I am pretty sure Daniel could fault you for not seeing that Keynes, if you read him carefully and you put the right commas, actually had a broader theory of interest which bypassed and also included the time preference theory. You just have to keep an open and (very) elastic mind about it.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Niko,

You missed my point entirely.

I’ll put it broader terms. It would be as if I claimed that Keynes said X, when Keynes really said the opposite of X. Is this clearer now?

Niko November 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I was being sarcastic. Lighten up …

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Oh, sorry, it was hard to tell. :)

Daniel November 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

The “keep an open and (very) elastic mind about it” part was what actually what sold the joke :P

Robert Fellner November 14, 2011 at 3:18 am

Daniel Kuehn’s bias is just absolutely blinding. Brad DeLong writes “The point of view underlying von Mises’s complaint against fiat money in general and monetary management of the business cycle in particular is this: that value comes from human sweat and toil”

If you have ever read anything by Mises on value or money, you know this is 100% the opposite of his view. Jonathan Catalan correctly points this out, and Daniel Kuehn decides to comment that “First, I think you’re out of your depths with DeLong. He knows a lot more about subjective value theory and the early marginalists than either you or I do.”

It’s a simple point, that is worth stressing. Brad DeLong is unable to understand Mises’ argument. Daniel Kuehn’s emphatic bias prevents him from acknowledging this obvious fact, and instead feels compelled to chide you from criticizing such an eminent scholar as DeLong, whom in DK’s own words “you are out of your depths with”! Holy cow that’s some strong kool-aid they are serving over there!

Finally, I would not remind anyone that DeLong has actually read Mises, as that makes it even more embarrassing. The level of reading comprehension failure it would take to read Mises on money and honestly believe what DeLong does, is mind-boggling.

Daniel Kuehn November 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Christ, Fellner. In your diatribe do you not think it’s relevant to note that I agreed with Jonathan on that criticism of DeLong???

You don’t think that might be a tad bit relevant?

How can you write: “Daniel Kuehn’s emphatic bias prevents him from acknowledging this obvious fact” when that’s exactly what I do acknowledge in Jonathan’s post?!?!

Robert Fellner November 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

LOL, you’re exasperated? How do you think those wasting their time conversing with you feel when you consider this reply:

First, I think you’re out of your depths with DeLong. He knows a lot more about subjective value theory and the early marginalists than either you or I do.

I do think you are right to point out that he focuses more than he should on a cost of production (even if it is a subjective cost) for Mises in this explanation, but he’s right to be incredulous at the sweeping declarations of value as being artificial or fictional. That was a weak claim on Mises’s part and it was right for DeLong to draw attention to it.

to be equivalent to: “I acknowledge your criticism is valid, Jonathan.” For an added bonus your qualifier is nonsensical and totally untrue! Kind of like DeLong’s comments! Hence why your reply does not read like the acknowledgement of Jonathan’s point, as you quite pathetically attempt to morph it into here by using multiple exclamation points in referring to it now, but it is an attempt to not acknowledge DeLong is completely wrong and a revelation of your inability to ascertain the criticism being made objectively, as your bias clearly prevents you from doing so.

I’m not going to be wasting much more of my time playing your game with you, I just wanted the reader to be aware that the very criticism Jonathan makes of Delong, that he declares Mises view as X when it is not X, is exactly what you did in your “But..” qualifier in your original comment. Or as you call it, your acknowledgment of Jonathan’s point.

feudalredux November 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

“He knows a lot more about subjective value theory and the early marginalists than either you or I do”

That’s your subjective opinion, you little twit. A “lot more” of what? What metric did you use? Uh, let me guess…

Del Lindley November 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Rothbard, following Mises, has argued that money, in a free market, must have a natural reservation demand (i.e. a “use value”) upon which its value from exchange convenience must rest. Money’s use as a store of value is secured by linking the growth of its supply to the physical productivity of the production structure. We might say that the precious metals are precious because they meet both of these criteria. The concepts of scarcity and inflation resistance are implicit in these “free-market money” criteria.

I think you may want to reconsider the formulation of the following statement:

“For Mises, wholly in the Mengerian tradition, all value is subjective. It has nothing to do whether something was produced through ‘human sweat and toil’.”

It is entirely consistent to say that “all value is subjective” while understanding that time and energy are necessary factors of human production. Subjectivism only implies that time and energy are not sufficient factors for the existence of valued production—it cannot imply that these factors are irrelevant. The intersection of physical and economic theory demands that both time and energy be necessary factors of valued production. Therefore it is incorrect to suggest that these factors have “nothing to do” with valued production. I happen to think that this understanding is key to the greater development of Austrian theory.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Del,

The point is that value has nothing to do with how something is produced. That production takes time and labor says nothing about how the product acquires value. The two concepts are divorced from each other.

Del Lindley November 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Jonathan,

I realize that what I am saying does not appear, at first glance, to conform to traditional Austrian value theory, but if you consider it carefully you will realize that it does.

For example, I agree completely with your first sentence, that “how something is produced” has no effect on value. But “how something is produced” implies that the producer has a choice with respect to the factors of production he wishes to employ. My point is that the physical concepts of time and energy are necessary factors of production; they lie beyond the scope of human choice. No producer, whether it be nature (supposedly non-purposeful) or human (purposeful) can change or produce anything without these essential factors. Human actors can choose how much time and energy to apply to some end, but they cannot choose to eliminate either factor entirely.

Now with respect to value, recall that the act of valuation presupposes at least two things: 1) something (e.g. an object) to be valued and 2) someone to do the valuing. Each presupposition requires a prior act of production, either by natural means or through human action. In this way generalized production (with the necessary factors of time and energy) and valuation cannot be completely independent. As I said before, time and energy are necessary but not sufficient with regard to the existence of valued production.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Your point is still completely irrelevant. That time and energy, or whatever you want to write, are required factors of production means nothing in regards to whether something has value or not. Time and labor are necessary for all production, yes that’s great. But, the idea of value is completely separate from this. That the two come together doesn’t mean that the two depend on each other.

So, effectively, you are engaging in an argument of pure semantics that has no bearing on the point I was originally making.

Del Lindley November 14, 2011 at 12:04 am

I understand perfectly well the point you were making and all I asked was that you reconsider the absolute form in which you expressed it. That you think my comments are irrelevant or only semantics just means either that you can’t perceive how some one might misinterpret your point, or you just don’t understand what I have said at all.

Peter November 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Rothbard, following Mises, has argued that money, in a free market, must have a natural reservation demand (i.e. a “use value”) upon which its value from exchange convenience must rest.

Nonsense. It had to have a “use value” in order to become money in the first place; it doesn’t need it forever after.

Joseph Fetz November 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Yeah, Del is ignoring or is unfamiliar with Mises’ regression theorem, of which Rothbard was a proponent, as well as value imputation that comes from Austrian subjective value theory and production theory (and others). Hopefully he looks into it.

Del Lindley November 14, 2011 at 12:07 am

Peter,

Don’t assume that all “uses” have to be objective in nature. As a homework assignment, please research and report on what use-values gold lost after it progressed into its use as money.

Richard Moss November 14, 2011 at 7:35 am

Del,

Can you please provide a quote from either Mises or Rothbard claiming that people’s reservation demand for money is a “use value”? I don’t recall them using “use value” in this way.

Del Lindley November 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Richard,

When speaking of money Austrians almost never discuss the non-monetary demand for money, mostly I suppose because it is of little theoretical interest. But this does not mean that a non-monetary reservation demand for money does not exist. For example, I might wish to purchase and hold a gold coin just out of an appreciation of the fact that the gold was created in the core of a type II supernova.

On page 261 (MES) where Rothbard discusses the marginal utility of money:

“In the case of barter, it was clear that the relative rankings were the result of people’s evaluations of the marginal importance of the direct uses of the various goods. In the case of a monetary economy, however, the direct use-value of the money commodity is overshadowed by its exchange-value.”

Here Rothbard is not saying that the money commodity loses all direct use-value, only that it becomes relatively less important with respect to its exchange-value. The total reservation demand for the money commodity should include both the monetary and non-monetary demand components.

I believe it makes sense to extrapolate from this to say that if a money commodity were to lose all direct-use value then a new money progression with a different commodity would almost certainly occur well before the prior money commodity lost all of its direct use-value.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

You have to make a distinction between money qua money and money as an objective description for some kind of object. Purely theoretically, money is a general medium of exchange. Once a piece of what-used-to-be-money is demanded for something other than being a general medium of exchange then it ceases to be money, in the purely economic sense.

In the economic sense, ‘money’ is different from ‘hammer’. Hammer is a linguistic word to describe a certain object. Money, economically, is a type of good (producer, consumer, money) [see Mises' The Theory of Money and Credit], so once something is demanded as a consumer good it can no longer be money.

Richard Moss November 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Del,

Despite your explanation, I don’t see how can you claim that Mises and Rothbard regard money has having s a ‘use value’ in reserve.

Perhaps you think that their position implies “the total reservation demand for the money commodity should include both the monetary and non-monetary demand components” but I don’t see how it does; that it implies most people holding a good as money would also value it in direct use. I think that is certainly the case for Federal Reserve Notes.

Del Lindley November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Richard,

I think I see the problem here—it relates to what Jonathan said above about the distinctions between the term “money” when used in a theoretical vs. physical sense. A purely theoretical money cannot have any use-value outside of the exchange function. A physical commodity which is used as money in a free market I would argue, as a consequence of the regression theorem, must retain some non-monetary use-value. It strikes me has highly contrived to say the use-value of the pre-money commodity has to somehow evaporate as soon as it is adopted as a money commodity.

Since fiat currency such as FRNs cannot be considered as free market money, there can be no use-value in reservation requirement. But this does not mean that such non-monetary uses cannot exist in reality. The best example that I have seen in this regard is in a little lakeside town called Tortilla Flat in central Arizona, where its “Superstition Saloon” uses thousands of FRN stapled to the walls as wallpaper!

http://www.tortillaflataz.com/

Ivan Georgiev November 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Oh my! Mises’ theory of money and the business cycle is mental disorder? Hahahaha. Delong is an idiot, no doubt about that.

A. November 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Don’t forget DeLong’s playing of the “Jew card”: “And in its scarier moments this train of thought slides over to: “good German engineers (and workers); bad Jewish financiers”.”

Do you think he even knows Mises was a Jew? He’s employing Krugman strategy — he never actually accused anyone of anything with that quote, just throwing it out there.

Mike Sproul November 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Delong:
“But it is not fine for money to have value simply because it is useful for buying things.”

JC: “money is a general medium of exchange; it is demanded, precisely because it can be used for indirect exchange. Mises would never deny that paper money has some sort of value. If it did not have value, then it would not be demanded.”

This is why monetary theory continues to get nowhere. Both sides start from the position that inconvertible money is unbacked money, even when the assets backing that money are plainly listed on the central bank’s balance sheet. And both sides are comfortable saying that money has value because it is demanded, and it is demanded because it has value. It’s like watching people arguing about whether the moon is made of green cheese or bleu cheese.

feudalredux November 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Please distinguish between “convertibility” and “backing” in an operationally meaningful fashion.

Is it OK to back a currency with real estate on Mars? That would quailify as a non-convertible hard currency, correct?

Mike Sproul November 14, 2011 at 10:23 am

For starters, during business hours your checking account dollars are convertible into paper dollars and backed by the bank’s assets. Nights and weekends, your checking account dollars are still backed by the bank’s assets but they are temporarily inconvertible.

There are also various forms of convertibility: Physical, financial, instant, delayed, certain, uncertain, at the customer’s option or at the bank’s option, tax convertibility, etc. (discussed in my paper “The Law of Reflux”, which you can find by clicking my name above). Since 1933, the Fed has suspended one kind of convertibility: instant physical convertibility into gold. But the Fed’s dollars are still backed by the Fed’s assets.

RTB November 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

The bank’s dollars are backed by the bank’s dollars. LOL!

Can I go to the bank and exchange my dollars for their “assets” which they’ve purchased with those dollars they’ve created themselves?

Nice way to acquire assets. Create money by printing or generating bits and bytes and exchanging them for physical things someone invested time, mind and body into to create!

Mike Sproul November 15, 2011 at 12:01 am

Yes; dollars can be backed by dollar-denominated assets, and yes, you can use the dollars in your checking account to buy some of your bank’s assets. These assets can range from bonds to mortgages to used office furniture.

K. Chris C. November 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Mr.Catalán,

I think the real error is your using this site to personally attack back at another opposing view, no matter how personal and possibly wrong.

One of the reasons that I appreciate Mises.org is that not only is the information lucidly presented and correct, but that all views seem to be tolerated. It has even inspired me to be more tolerant of others and their views; if people are made aware of all views the chafe, so to speak, will blow or burn off on its own accord.

You should have chosen to use the time and space to contrast his views with Mises and Austrian views–to educate your reader and not to build animosity. Those that read his views and do not read Mises.org would never know of the discord, and those that do read here will have had their time wasted, at best.

Read back over the comments to see the animosity that you have unleashed and think about whether that was the result that you were after.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I was really looking to personally discredit DeLong, because I think this is a perfect example of how DeLong is not really interested in real, professional scholarship. DeLong used a personal attack against Mises and Paul; I think the time for professionalism has passed, because DeLong shows that he isn’t really interested in professionalism.

K. Chris C. November 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Mr.Catalán,

The point is that you let him bait you into using this space for less than scholarship purposes. Who cares what he has to say personally about anyone. You should have contrasted and refuted his augment step by step and ignored the personal stuff. Everyone would have gained, but instead you dropped to his level and the scholarship and productive debate went with it.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán November 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

The fact is that there was no “productive debate” to begin with. DeLong is not interested in debate (he’s not even interested in accurately interpreting his opponents position). My only purpose is to help in discrediting his authority.

Matthew Swaringen November 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I think your comment is extremely silly. The post did reflect why there was a difference of opinion and was not just a simple personal attack.

nate-m November 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

It’s called setting up a strawman argument.

Read his statement a bit closer (I am paraphrasing, of course)

A) Set up the strawman:
“_THEY_ say that monetary management is false because monetary value is derived from labor” (sweat and toil).

B) Burn the strawman:
“However, money is able to buy stuff without labor going into it. ”

C) Lead the reader to the conclusion he wants:
“They are stupid and I am smart so you should listen to me instead”

D) Layer on a Ad hominem for good measure:
“Antisemitism is a underlying subtext to all their arguments”

I addition to lump Mises in with the folks that follow the labor theory of value is just a blatant antagonism.

He is just being a arrogant prick. Being a lazy asshole and insulting people probably because that is all he does.

He can probably get away with it in his day to day life because he is used to dealing with people who the ‘appeal to authority’ argument is all that is necessary to defend his positions. And he considers himself a supreme authority on the subject. He probably hasn’t had to put any real work into defending his positions for well over a decade.

JFF November 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm

DeLong’s calling out of David Gordon on WWII – the moral equivalent of calling Smoky Bear a meth-head, pyromaniac – pretty much discounts me from taking anything he says seriously. “A first-rate scholar” my ass.

Good for you Jonathan.

Teqzilla November 14, 2011 at 4:51 am

Come on, Daniel. Delong actually edits comments on his blog and then posts replies which attack them for weaknesses that he has edited in. If he cant be relied upon to give fair representation to the economic views of “texasdave37″ then it is really hoping against hope to expect him to do so with the views of serious ideological opponents.

aussieaustrian November 14, 2011 at 6:09 am

It is apparent Delong is a b-grade scholar. If he has any integrity he would retract his comments after reviewing them and the criticism he has received. I still cannot believe he said what he did, it’s so wrong.

Ryan November 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

Brad DeLong is not interested in carrying on an open and honest dialogue with those with whom he disagrees. Everyone knows this. He is only really interested in writing to his fanboys. I’m not even sure Brad DeLong would agree with my saying that. His blog is heavily moderated and he routinely deletes any good comment that brings up an issue to which he cannot respond. If I’m not mistaken, he actually has a no-Austrian-School comments policy.

The guy is intellectually dishonest, period.

Younger Cato November 15, 2011 at 3:35 am

Thank you Robert Fellner for scarying away Daniel Kuehn from this blog. We are free!

The Crackshot Crackpot November 17, 2011 at 5:38 am

“Daniel Kuehn”. Where have I heard that name before? Ah yes, now I remember! This is the guy who made an ass of himself over at Coordination Problem a while back. I would recommend reading the whole ‘comments’ thread…

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