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I would benefit from a prolonged and careful teaching of this view, that Austrian economics can be seen as value-free, in contrast with libertarianism being seen as value-laden. In recent years I have gotten better at distinguishing normative content from empirical content, in both words and arguments, but I can't say that I find it easy to latch onto what Kirzner is saying about his disagreement with Rothbard.

I had never seen this before. I think it perfectly expresses my own views about Rothbard (and derivatively about the Mises Institute).

Oh, now I'm wondering if I'm guilty of the same thing. But...what's the point of economics if not to apply the insights? How great could an economic insight truly be if it's not greatly applicable? Is it really harmful to bundle the two together?

Maybe...political bias will inhibit great economic insights? Rothbard REALLY hated the state. This could possibly explain why he failed to recognize that the government isn't beyond repair.

Off topic...disqus is kinda nice because when you comment on a blog entry you're automatically e-mailed any future comments on that blog entry. This doesn't happen with your current comment system. Which is a shame because the efficient allocation of resources depends on accurate information. Oh look, I just applied an economic insight to commenting systems.

While Kirzner makes some good points there, and while descriptive science is distinct from normative science, I do think that at bottom it is not possible to have a theory of economic exchange without a theory of property, and it is ultimately not possible to have a theory of property without normative foundations (or you simply get arbitrary assignments - itself a normative position masquerading as a positive/neutral position).

People/resarchers usually elide this problem by simply leaving it implicit and not addressing it explicitly (though there is the Coasian effort - however I think that fails. . .partly for reasons Rothbard highlighted in his, admittedly somewhat polemical, critiques of that approach).

Hate the perverse & inappropriate word "disciple".

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