Karl Popper's Critique of Marxism

Karl Popper's critique of Marxism is equally applicable as a critique of Austrian Economics, and Hayek failed to recognize that.

In "The Open Society and Its Enemies," Popper attacks historicism and logical positivism. Marx's socialism was not "scientific" precisely because Marx misunderstood the nature of science, and Austrian Economics is an analogous pseudo-science. Positivism claims that science proceeds by verification and establishes facts thereby, then uses verified facts to make predictions about future events. Marx verifies his supposed "facts" (inexorable economic laws, such as surplus value, immiseration, etc.) and then concludes that the proletarian revolution is inevitable. His conclusion was historically proven wrong, as reformist measures and moderate social democracy prevented immiseration.

The Austrian make similar predictions based on economic laws that they have verified. But real science operates off of the basis of falsification (and, btw, Austrian theories about minimum wage, taxes, inflation and other matters have been falsified: if Austrian Econ were correct, quantitative easing would already have caused hyperinflation). Austrian Economics, like Marxism, is a pseudo-scientific ideology, not a real social science. And the logical positivist trend in Austrian Economics makes it somewhat appealing to historicist ideologies, which is why dispensationalists, Reconstructionists, and such tend to cling to Austrian Economics. Add to this that Austrian Econ is simple and easy to understand (far more simple than reality) and is consequently more likely to be embraced by people who aren't rigorously scientific.

Wes Whitman, March 31

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