It was a tragic day when economics, the queen of the social sciences, adopted the methods associated with the natural sciences: empiricism and positivism. In the sweep of economic thought, this change occurred ?not coincidentally?about the same time that intellectuals and politicians came to believe in the efficacy of government planning. Despite their failures, both doctrines remain godless faiths of our age.
In this extraordinary essay, Hans-Hermann Hoppe extends the argument of Ludwig von Mises that the methods associated with natural sciences cannot be successfully appropriated for economic theory. Professor Hoppe then argues for the existence of a priori knowledge, the validity of pure theory, the use of deductive logic, the implacability of economic law, and the view that economics is but a part of the larger discipline of praxeology: the science of human action.
If economists are to free themselves from the failed assumptions that they can precisely predict the future and, thus, that the state can plan the economy better than the market, they will have to revisit more fundamental methodological errors. When that happens, Professor Hoppe, the outstanding praxeologist working today, will have played an indispensable role.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Ludwig von Mises Institute