What is “Austrian economics”? Let’s break it down:
Economics: “A social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.” Ooo-eee! That’s gotta be a page-turner! Thank you, Merriam-Webster.
Austrian economics: “A school of economic thought that is based on methodological individualism.” Gads! But thank you, Wikipedia.
I never studied economics in college. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t take economics in high school either. Or if I did, I slept through it.
But “Austrian Economics” is a phrase you hear from time to time—even if it’s said in code, like what Ron Paul said following the 2012 Iowa presidential primary. “I’m waiting for the day when we can say, ‘We’re all Austrians now!’”
That struck me as odd. As Matthew Yglesias colorfully observed in his Slate article on Austrian economics, “The average Republican presidential candidate would sooner officiate at a gay marriage than praise Europe, yet here was Paul pledging allegiance to Vienna. What did he mean? Why would we all be Austrians?”