“How Austrian are you?”


If you ever wanted to see what life would be like if you lived in a parallel universe, you need look no further than the Mises Institute – a bunch of headbanging, anarcho-capitalist libertarian types whose worship of Hayek, Mises and the rest are allowed to pass for a “research institute” in East Alabama (their rather inconguous base).

Their online quiz – entitled “how Austrian are you?” – invites you to test how far your own views stray into their particular brand of mentalism. It’s extremely long-winded and over-laden with technical economic jargon, but it has a certain appeal over all of those tedious “political compass” sites.

I scored a paltry 23/100. I’d be worried if it were any higher. Most of my answers were either “Keynesian” or “Socialist” (I’ll admit to choosing the socialist-sounding option when I disputed the premise of the question, or the validity of the answers on display).

It seems that, to score any Austrian-school points, you have to believe that the present crisis – and all previous recessions, including the Great Depression in the 30s – were solely caused by poor monetary policy.

Does anybody actually think this in the real world? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments.


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2 Responses to ““How Austrian are you?””

  1. chris Says:

    The test is poorly constructed.
    My answer to 1 is: a bit of 2 and 4. To 2 it’s “none of them”, to 3 it’s “depends which interest rate”, and so on.
    But don’t dismiss Austrianism entirely. It’s emphasis upon the role of limited, dispersed knowledge is very important – and a useful corrective to the arrogance of bosses who think they are capable of running big companies.

  2. Roger Sharp Says:

    I agree that the questions are pooly consructed. In too many cases there was insufficient information and there are many “what ifs”.

    Surely one can make the point that the Great Depression was a result of the crash of the stockmarket, the cause of which was borrowed money being used to purchase stocks on the assumption that prices could only rise. Had interest rates been higher in 1928-9 there would have been less borrowing and perhaps the collapse would have been moderated.

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