Guest post by Predrag Rajsic via The Mises Institute.
If you are taking or have taken some of the typical courses in economics, it is quite likely that you asked yourself questions like the following: If an economic model is not like the real world, why should I trust the results of that model? One of the answers I would often get when posing this question goes something like this: Of course the model is not like the real world; it is not supposed to be like the real world. If it were, then it would not be a model!
This response can leave one feeling intellectually inferior or incapable of abstract thinking. One may get the impression that there is something obvious that he or she is missing. Sometimes, the answer would go a bit further: models are simplified representations of reality that we use to better understand that reality. This answer is somewhat more polite, but it still does not tell us how we determined which features of reality were not important enough to be included in the model. Building a model in this way also seems to imply that we already understand the elements of reality and how they are interrelated.
If none of these answers left you entirely comfortable with the currently predominant, Walrasian approach in economics, you may want to look into the works of some of the Austrian economists.Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard were the leading figures in this school of thought in the 20th century. Scholars like Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard showed that there are, in all likelihood, more robust descriptions of markets than those contained solely in mathematical general-equilibrium models.
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak here at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
Intellectual discourse is, of course, extraordinarily valuable in reaching truth. In this sense, I welcome the opportunity to discuss my views on the economy and monetary policy and how they may differ with those of you here at the Fed.
That said, I suspect my views are so different from those of you here today that my comments will be a complete failure in convincing you to do what I believe should be done, which is to close down the entire Federal Reserve System.
My views, I suspect, differ from beginning to end. From the proper methodology to be used in the science of economics, to the manner in which the macroeconomy functions, to the role of the Federal Reserve, and to the accomplishments of the Federal Reserve, I stand here confused as to how you see the world so differently than I do.
I simply do not understand most of the thinking that goes on here at the Fed, and I do not understand how this thinking can go on when in my view it smacks up against reality.
Please allow me to begin with methodology. I hold the view developed by such great economic thinkers as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard that there are no constants in the science of economics similar to those in the physical sciences.
Guest Post by World Complex.
Today we look at the monthly change in net foreign purchases of US long-term securities. Data comes from the US Treasury site. By net foreign purchases they mean the difference between foreign purchases of US long-dated securities and US purchases of foreign securities.
What I found most surprising is the negative bias. In this chart, a negative number means US purchases of foreign long-dated securities exceeds foreign purchases of US long-dated securities. We note the negative bias becomes quite pronounced beginning in the early ’90s (wasn’t this the era of the US strong dollar policy?)