Friday, September 11, 2009

Taking Liberties with History

by the Sandwichman

At the "Library of Economics and Liberty" blog, Bryan Caplan, an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, is impressed by Lee Ohanian's historical contribution: "But his history genuinely advances our knowledge of the Hoover phase of the Great Depression."

The Sandwichman duly points out a few flaws in Ohanian's historiography.


Jazzbumpa said...

Wow. To call this cherry picking is pretty mild. Looks like overt dishonesty to me. But isn't that the way with Libertarians? If reality doesn't fit the mindset, then this reality is wrong and we have to find a new one.

Great job of refuting the lie. I linked to this post on my blog.

Barkley Rosser said...

I am currently boycotting econlog because of my treatment there recently (won't go into it), but I have complained on various blogs about the inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Ohanian's much hyped paper. S-man and I are on the same page on this one.

Two important facts. Ohanian claims that Hoover talked firms into keeping nominal wages up by threatening them with unions. The facts are that nominal wages did decline and at nearly as rapid a rate as in the 1920-21 recession that this crowd thinks is the model for policy. Unsurprisingly, and no surprise to most, unions were exceptionally weak in 1929, with very low membership. They were not a threat worth a bean except in a few sectors. Unions gained strength after FDR's Wagner Act in 1935, with union membership soaring after that as the economy recovered from the Great Depression (with a bad dip in 1937, for which the overwhelming evidence is that it was contractionary fiscal policy that was largely responsible).

Anonymous said...

These people are not "libertarians", they are propertarians who stole the label libertarian from anti-state socialists like Kropotkin!

150 years of libertarian

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