What Is Old Can Be New

August 9, 2011

by Mario Rizzo

This is the unedited version of my letter which appears in today’s (August 9th) Wall Street Journal. The first sentence was edited out. Too bad. 

————

There is a lot of discussion of the need for “new economic thinking” these days. Henry Kaufman (“Excessive Optimism and Other Economic Biases,” August 2nd) correctly criticizes many economists for underestimating the importance of structural changes in economic behavior and overestimating the capacity of economics to forecast.  

But sometimes the “old” is really the new. Echoing an older skeptical tradition in economics, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises said in 1949,” The fundamental deficiency implied in every quantitative approach to economic problems consists in the neglect of the fact that there are no constant relations between what are called economic dimensions. There is neither constancy nor continuity in the valuations and in the formation of exchange ratos between various commodities. Every new datum brings about a reshuffling of the whole price structure.”  

In a sense, it was the the “new” that misled us.

3 Responses to “What Is Old Can Be New”


  1. Congratulations to Mario for the letter and its placement. It is the first letter at the top of the page.

    And, of course, the substance is right on.

  2. Andreas Hoffmann Says:

    Yes, congratulations Mario! Nice letter!

  3. Roger Koppl Says:

    It’s a great letter, Mario. Congratulations.


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