Oakeshott's Vote: Mises 0, Hayek 0

"It is not because the particular observations of economics refer to living things, or to human beings, or to voluntary actions that their character is complex and obscure and their behavior variable; complexity, obscurity, and variableness are the characteristics of every particular observation by reason of its particularity... Moreover, although many economists assert economics to be concerned with man, and voluntary human actions, when we turn to their actual observations and generalizations we shall, I think, find not only that economics need not be concerned with these things… but also that economics actually is not concerned with them." -- Michael Oakeshott, Experience and Its Modes, p. 225

What Oakeshott goes on to argue is that scientific economics deals with abstract quantities such as price, cost, utility, and disutility, where human beings as such play no part -- scientific economics could just as well treat exchanges between robots as between humans.


  1. I still can't see how voluntariness fits in.


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