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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Greatest Speech Ever Given

The greatest economics-related speech, at any rate. I kid you not. I found myself sounding like a Spirit-infused Southern Baptist listening to a fiery old preacher thundering from the pulpit as I read it:
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak here at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Intellectual discourse is, of course, extraordinarily valuable in reaching truth. In this sense, I welcome the opportunity to discuss my views on the economy and monetary policy and how they may differ with those of you here at the Fed.

That said, I suspect my views are so different from those of you here today that my comments will be a complete failure in convincing you to do what I believe should be done, which is to close down the entire Federal Reserve System

My views, I suspect, differ from beginning to end. From the proper methodology to be used in the science of economics, to the manner in which the macro-economy functions, to the role of the Federal Reserve, and to the accomplishments of the Federal Reserve, I stand here confused as to how you see the world so differently than I do.

I simply do not understand most of the thinking that goes on here at the Fed and I do not understand how this thinking can go on when in my view it smacks up against reality.

Please allow me to begin with methodology, I hold the view developed by such great economic thinkers as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard that there are no constants in the science of economics similar to those in the physical sciences.

In the science of physics, we know that water freezes at 32 degrees. We can predict with immense accuracy exactly how far a rocket ship will travel filled with 500 gallons of fuel. There is preciseness because there are constants, which do not change and upon which equations can be constructed..

There are no such constants in the field of economics since the science of economics deals with human action, which can change at any time. If potato prices remain the same for 10 weeks, it does not mean they will be the same the following day. I defy anyone in this room to provide me with a constant in the field of economics that has the same unchanging constancy that exists in the fields of physics or chemistry.

And yet, in paper after paper here at the Federal Reserve, I see equations built as though constants do exist.
And the close, Sweet Mises, the close! It is unbelievable! If you can read Robert Wenzel's speech to the New York Federal Reserve without involuntarily emitting one "that's right", "amen", or "halle-fucking-lujah", you simply do not belong at this blog. I sent him the following email:

Please allow me to compliment you, no, praise you, for giving what henceforth must be known as The Greatest Speech Ever Given in the field of economics. It was as if Daniel not only entered the lions' den without fear, but voluntarily, to preach to the beasts of the merits of vegetarianism. The English language simply does not possess the words to describe how magnificent your speech was.

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