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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6044/what-austrian-economics-can-teach-historians-working-paper/

What Austrian Economics Can Teach Historians (Working Paper)

December 20, 2006 by

What Austrian Economics Can Teach Historians, by Thomas Woods (Mises Institute)

Some level of rudimentary theory – even if at times only a basic understanding of cause-and-effect relationships – is unavoidably present whenever any historian practices his craft. Technically, history comprises anything that has happened in the past – that is to say, its raw data consists of everything that has ever occurred. It is only based on a level of understanding that transcends the raw data that the historian may sensibly discriminate between events that belong in his narrative and those that do not, or whose exclusion would not affect the coherence or accuracy of his account.

{ 2 comments }

RogerM December 20, 2006 at 9:03 am

Excellent article! Thanks!

I especially liked the part about GDP. It’s odd that economists who favor GDP place so much emphasis on “valued added” production, and therefore ignore vast amounts of production, but then lump all government spending into GDP as if it’s all “value added”. I only recently learned that GDP figures don’t include any sales of used items, such as used houses or used cars, but it includes government spending? Where’s the rationale in that?

adi December 20, 2006 at 1:08 pm

One prominent econometrician (Ragnar Frisch) once said that “facts speak plain language” so that you always need some theory to interpret them.

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