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Submit Podcast Questions

In the comments below, please submit questions for me to answer via podcast.

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Elliot Temple on December 28, 2018

Comments (85)


Anonymous at 12:52 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11504 | reply | quote

Rand & Popper

Could you talk about your view on Rand and Popper as in how you see their philosophies and on why you do not consider yourself an objectivist?

Please do build up from the fundamentals up until a disagreement and solutions.

Nicholas DeRoj at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11505 | reply | quote

> and on why you do not consider yourself an objectivist?

Where is this coming from? Is it something I wrote a long time ago? I do consider myself an Objectivist.

curi at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11506 | reply | quote


Fair enough. I was under the impression that you rejected some of the Objectivist views but did not know which ones. I stand corrected.

You do seem to be one of very few who have studied both Rand _and_ Popper in depth and thus it would be very interesting to hear you elaborate on this and why you think that so many other Objectivists have issues with Popper without even studying him.

Confession: I do struggle with Popper but I have seen your recommendation to start with two selected works of David Deutsch and will do so.

Nicholas DeRoj at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11507 | reply | quote

Thinking from Principles vs Concretes

It would be interesting to hear you elaborate and explain on thinking from principles instead of from concretes. Why we do the latter and give examples on how to start doing more of the former as well as real life examples of the process and differences it might lead to.

Nicholas DeRoj at 9:29 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11508 | reply | quote

Latest podcast

Tew talks only with Rucka https://www.youtube.com/user/RuckasBlack

Anonymous at 1:03 AM on January 1, 2019 | #11515 | reply | quote

4 new podcasts

I put up 4 new podcasts in the last couple days. I answer the questions above *except* #11508 which I saved for (maybe) later. Also regarding Rand and Popper there's more info in my new videos: https://curi.us/2168-fallible-ideas-philosophy-overview-videos--comments

curi at 10:45 AM on January 2, 2019 | #11525 | reply | quote

Thank you

One episode a day! This is amazing. Keep it up!

Anonymous at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2019 | #11526 | reply | quote


I'm curious what you think U.S. immigration policy should be and how your ideas on immigration relate to your philosophy.

a different anonymous at 7:13 AM on January 3, 2019 | #11528 | reply | quote

What bad ideas Soros got from Popper?

Anonymous at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11533 | reply | quote

> What bad ideas Soros got from Popper?

I don't think Soros's ideas really have anything to do with Popper's philosophy.

curi at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11535 | reply | quote

Why are people wrong about Trump?

Anonymous at 3:40 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11536 | reply | quote

How do you change emotions and do less social?

Anonymous at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11537 | reply | quote

Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead

I think you have one of the best comments on Atlas Shrugged that I have found. I understand it takes a lot of work to reflect and write all those comments down, but it would be really interesting to have a audio commentary (or discussion between you and someone else and / or questions) per chapter on Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead as a segment.

Even a format similar to the "Atlas Project Live" under your guidance (AS & FH) would be great if you and others are interested.

Thanks for the great podcasts so far!

Nicholas DeRoj at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2019 | #11558 | reply | quote

Austrian econ & Objectivism

How compatible are Austrian economics and Objectivism?

Is Austrian econ rooted in utilitarianism and does it have to be?

Personally I see a big overlap and fail to see why these two should not be compatible (my understanding is also that Rand and Mises thought so as well - except for praxeology, that I know close to nothing about).

Nicholas DeRoj at 10:31 PM on January 6, 2019 | #11559 | reply | quote

I just put up 4 new podcasts and I'm caught up on the submitted questions.

curi at 3:51 PM on January 7, 2019 | #11571 | reply | quote

I forgot to mention this when talking about Reisman in the Austrian econ podcast:

Educational Videos: Reading George Reisman's book on Marxism and Socialism




curi at 6:30 PM on January 7, 2019 | #11572 | reply | quote


is physical (like chemical imbalance or faulty neurons) or "just in the head" (bad ideas/philosophy) ?

Anonymous at 1:35 AM on January 8, 2019 | #11582 | reply | quote

@ #11559


Guy claims to understand, used to like, and now disagree with Mises / Austrian Econ. Says he hopes his post "will spark interest and discussion" which at least hints at a PF.

It's beyond my current knowledge and interest level to analyze and critique. But I thought I'd pass it along in case someone here is interested.

PAS at 9:18 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11597 | reply | quote

#11597 See https://mises.org/wire/caplan-and-responses

Caplan followed up one time. The matter was not resolved, and it was his side which didn't continue.

Anonymous at 11:34 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11601 | reply | quote

Actually Caplan wrote at least a third piece. That link collection is pretty incomplete. See Block replying after Caplan's third piece:


> Finally, I invite Caplan to reply again to this missive, to “keep the conversation going” as some Austrian non-praxeological commentators are wont to put it. I don’t think we have come anywhere near a meeting of the minds. But since, in my view, this is due in large part to Caplan’s failure to respond to specific criticisms, I encourage him to be more thorough in this regard.

Anonymous at 11:46 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11602 | reply | quote

Asking for a friend ;)

It is such thing as a nonpracticing objectivist?

Anonymous at 8:58 PM on January 15, 2019 | #11625 | reply | quote

#11625 This question is lazy. You don't explain what you mean much. You only wrote one sentence and it's awful English.

Also the answer is "no" which requires one word, not a podcast.

Anonymous at 9:12 PM on January 15, 2019 | #11626 | reply | quote

Why Atlas Shrugged movies were so bad?

Anonymous at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2019 | #11712 | reply | quote

> Why Atlas Shrugged movies were so bad?

I watched the first one. I forget if I watched the second one. I did not watch the third one. So I can't really do a podcast on this.

The big picture reasons they're bad are that the people who made them are like ARI or worse. I did a podcast on ARI recently.

curi at 1:49 PM on January 24, 2019 | #11713 | reply | quote

what are some typical misunderstandings you've seen people have about memes?

Anonymous at 5:21 AM on January 25, 2019 | #11716 | reply | quote

Meme misconceptions podcast is posted. Here are some notes I used for it:

evo is metaphor (except with genes)

it's not just amateurs who are like this. ppl talk about this stuff in books and it's all vague handwaving. only DD took memes seriously and came up with a technical theory about them. no one else has done good work in the field, period (except ppl building on DD).

ppl don't get the epistemology tie ins

ppl don't take seriously static memes and what it means about their lives – that they are puppets of memes in major ways. they don't view that as a major, urgent problem – this serious lack of control over their own lives – and they don't focus much on researching what is going on there, what can be done about it, how can it be detected or defended against, etc. instead ppl just intuitively feel like it's false or something, and then trust their intuition. but vague intuitions are actually just the kind of things the static memes can control/influence/manipulate more easily (as against like objective scientific statements and math are places where it's harder to be biased).

curi at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2019 | #11725 | reply | quote

Dan Dennett has also taken the idea of memes seriously and has written about them in a number of books. In "Consciousness Explained" he proposed that "[h]uman consciousness can be realized in the operation of a virtual machine created by memes in the brain". Deutsch comments on Dennett's book in The Beginning of Infinity, but fails to mention that memes are a major part of Dennett's view on consciousness. Susan Blackmore also took memes seriously - she deserves credit for the idea that memes are responsible for our big brains.

Anonymous at 11:35 AM on January 26, 2019 | #11732 | reply | quote

I don't think Blackmore or Dennett's work on memes is any good. If you disagree you should use quotes or otherwise bring up details and specific sophisticated points.

curi at 11:41 AM on January 26, 2019 | #11733 | reply | quote

Do you really believe DDs theory of multiple universes is compatible with the concept of objective reality?

Anonymous at 9:47 AM on January 27, 2019 | #11737 | reply | quote

#11737 Yes. This question is hard to respond to because it doesn't say what it objects to, what problem it wants addressed. If it's coming from a place of unfamiliarity with MWI then I recommend reading DD's explanations of MWI in his books, especially FoR ch2.

curi at 9:48 AM on January 27, 2019 | #11738 | reply | quote

So just because in a lab experiment a single photon still acts like a wave you think the only possible explanation is that an infinity of parallel universes exist

Anonymous at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11739 | reply | quote

There is no refutation of that view, and there are no other known non-refuted views. This is covered in FoR ch2.

Note that "parallel universes" is a high level approximation. The actual underlying issue is reality has more complexity than is readily visible.

curi at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11740 | reply | quote

Nah - I'm not gonna defend Blackmore or Dennett. I agree Deutsch has done better work. Perhaps I don't see them as bad as you do and that is my mistake. I'm thinking more of Dennett than Blackmore. I know Dennett has some bad leftwing political views and that tells of bad philosophy. But I don't think he is completely bad. Has any FI person written some good crit's of Dennett's main ideas? Deutsch's criticism in BoI is inaccurate, as someone pointed out on FI list. Is Dennett even aware of Deutsch's work? If not, he is a shit scholar. If so, did he not think it worth writing about in his latest books/articles or commenting on in one of his many talks? Come to think of it, his silence is deafening. Yeah, maybe he is that bad.

Anonymous at 11:40 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11741 | reply | quote

#11741 was in reply to #11733

Anonymous at 11:41 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11742 | reply | quote

I agree Dennett's silence re DD's meme work is a major concern.

But OK let's take a look. I didn't want to watch a video so I found this:


First paragraph was bad, e.g. didn't say what a meme is, but then I got to the end:

> My talk will be

Oh, it's a talk transcript. I wanted an article. Skimmed a bit. Looked bad. Then:

> After all, even agriculture, in the long run, may be a dubious bargain if what you are taking as your summum bonum is Darwinian fitness (see Diamond, 1997, for fascinating reflections on the uncertain benefits of abandoning the hunter-gatherer lifestyle).

Worrying comments.

He goes on to talk about memes as basically mind-parasites as if good ideas don't also replicate. I think he has (in 1998) a vague concept of what a meme is instead of taking seriously that it's a replicator and then analyzing it that way. Cuz how do you get from "replicator" to (exclusively) "parasite"? What about, say, a cooking recipe, doesn't that replicate? Moms tell recipes to their daughters and people print copies of them in cookbooks and so on. If someone's analysis has missed that, that seems rather bad to me.

I skimmed to the end and it strikes me as a typical popular fake intellectual stuff that doesn't have much substance.

curi at 12:33 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11743 | reply | quote

> He goes on to talk about memes as basically mind-parasites as if good ideas don't also replicate.

I don't think he is saying all memes are basically mind-parasites. He's making an analogy with symbionts and says there are three types of memes:

> parasites, whose presence lowers the fitness of their host;

> commensals, whose presence is neutral (though, as the etymology reminds us, they "share the same table"); and

> mutualists, whose presence enhances the fitness of both host and guest.

So he's saying parasites are one type of meme. He uses the term "parasitized" in an imprecise way in some parts of the article and in a way that seems to contradict his definition. Also:

> Some memes are like domesticated animals; they are prized for their benefits, and their replication is closely fostered and relatively well understood by their human owners. Some memes are more like rats; they thrive in the human environment in spite of being positively selected against--ineffectually--by their unwilling hosts. And some are more like bacteria or other viruses, commandeering aspects of human behavior (provoking sneezing, for instance) in their "efforts" to propagate from host to host.

So he is saying some memes became domesticated and others are undomesticated. Just thinking if this a useful analogy. Thots?

Anonymous at 1:56 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11745 | reply | quote

Oh, I missed that when skimming. That's alright then. I still dislike the style and the Diamond praise. Is there an article you think is worth reading?

curi at 2:16 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11746 | reply | quote

Maybe "Consciousness Explained"? Except it's not an article. But if you search for "consciousness explained pdf" you should be able to download a pdf then just cruise through the meme stuff. Deutsch ignored it and focused on Blackmore instead but Dennett on memes needs a good critique. He styles himself as the world's foremost expert on memes after all!

Anonymous at 2:56 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11747 | reply | quote

The meme king hasn't had anything to say besides part of one book from 1991? No articles with new ideas? Seems damning.

I just read a little of the book and got bored. Is there a passage you think would offer value to me?

curi at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11748 | reply | quote

He's written plenty of books since 1991 e.g., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", "Freedom Evolves". Check out his wiki. His most recent is "From Bacteria To Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds" from 2017. That latest book has his most recent ideas but I've only flicked through it and noticed nothing about DD even though it has lots on memes. I'd need to go searching to find a passage as it has been a while since I read any of his stuff and most of it I haven't read.

Anonymous at 9:44 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11749 | reply | quote

#11739 The phrase "acts like a wave" is a floating abstraction that you are using to obscure the fact that you have no account of what is happening in single particle interference. The reality is that multiple versions of a photon go down all of the possible paths and interfere with one another at each point in a way that depends on how the photon evolved along each path. This is described in FoR chapter 2.

oh my god it's turpentine at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11750 | reply | quote

Why pajamas have stripes?

Anonymous at 3:25 PM on February 17, 2019 | #11851 | reply | quote

> Why pajamas have stripes?

I don't know.

curi at 3:26 PM on February 17, 2019 | #11852 | reply | quote

what are the best criticisms of the idea of trade deficits being a problem

Anonymous at 4:42 AM on February 25, 2019 | #11895 | reply | quote

Which are the biggest problems with libertarianism?

Anonymous at 1:39 PM on February 27, 2019 | #11901 | reply | quote

> Which are the biggest problems with libertarianism?

Sympathy and alliance with left.

Open borders.

Mostly not Mises fans/students.

Mostly anti-Objectivism.

Vague, badly defined label that includes leftists.

Radicals who say they hate violence then chant "smash the state". (But, due to the lack of any organized intellectual leadership or clear meaning to the term, anyone can be deemed not a "real" libertarian to dodge criticism. OK but then what *is* libertarianism that is fair game for criticism?)

Anonymous at 4:13 PM on March 1, 2019 | #11922 | reply | quote

Of course it's not a CRIME to be ignorant of economics, but they are betraying the value of economics here. It's good to know the basics – of the subject, and of how economics think – like one should also know the basics of science (like the earth orbiting the sun and also something about scientific method and avoiding bias and experiments).

And why do they want to be ENEMIES of the state instead of being reformers? Gross.

Also if you have to donate money to get a sticker, that is not a "free" sticker.

Also the quote isn't chosen for enlightening people. It's not explaining a good point. It's implying a bunch of people should STFU – whoever the reader doesn't like and deems ignorant (they don't specify so each reader can imagine it applies to different targets).

Anonymous at 4:28 PM on March 1, 2019 | #11924 | reply | quote

What is the best investment for small sums of money?

Anonymous at 1:40 PM on March 8, 2019 | #11984 | reply | quote

> What is the best investment for small sums of money?

Index funds for small or large sums of money. In the US, use Vanguard. They are good at it and have lower fees. The simplest type is a target date fund. If you want more info, try Ramit Sethi's book: I Will Teach You To Be Rich

The partial exception is if you have employer matching for your 401k. Like for every $2 you put in, your employer puts in $2 or $1, up to a limit. If you have that, max it out. That's super efficient. It might come with restrictions on investments so you have to get other index funds, but it's still worth it. It should allow index funds of some type.

Index funds are good because they give you more diversification. They are the opposite of trying to pick winners and losers. Basically you want bet on the economy as a whole (including international companies, not just US).

curi at 1:47 PM on March 8, 2019 | #11985 | reply | quote

what are the best arguments that reparations for black slavery in the USA are a bad idea

Anonymous at 8:56 PM on March 8, 2019 | #11986 | reply | quote

Lives worth living.

Hi, I am a fan of your work. All your effort into this is very much appreciated.

In a podcast of Sam Harris with David Deutsch (DD), DD said something that caught my ear. He said that he saw a situation where it's justifiable to the whole human race to commit suicide as a whole. And that lead me to think about that issue. Given that you spent so much time discussing with him, do you know what is that justification? What made me think about was the justification to end ones life. There are people that have truly horrible lives, so horrible that if you were to choose to give existence to that person before he (i'll assume he's a he for simplicity) was born you would increase the overall suffering of humans. So that presumably would be a bad thing. The thing for me that is troubling me is that once that live exists you can only end it by persuading that person to commit suicide. But we know that we have an huge bias against death. So even if that person knew that, he wouldn't kill himself. If he was being rational then he would concede that he was making a mistake. How can we proceed in this case? The truly best thing to do is to kill that person but he doesn't want that. So, killing him is a kind of violence? (because we did something to him without he's consent) Is this an exception where it's a good thing to apply violence?

Anonymous at 2:09 PM on March 12, 2019 | #12002 | reply | quote

For reference re #12002


> DD: Human well-being, yes. Now, I actually think that’s true, but I don’t think you have to rest on that. I think the criterion of human well-being can be a conclusion, not an axiom, because this idea that there can’t be any moral knowledge because it can’t be derived from the senses is exactly the same argument that people make when they say there can’t be any scientific knowledge because it can’t be derived from the senses. In the 20th century, empiricism was found to be nonsense, and some people therefore concluded that scientific knowledge is nonsense.

> But the real truth is that science is not based on empiricism, it’s based on reason, and so is morality. So if you adopt a rational attitude to morality, and therefore say that morality consists of moral knowledge—which always consists of conjectures, doesn’t have any basis, doesn’t need a basis, only needs modes of criticism, and those modes of criticism operate by criteria which are themselves subject to modes of criticism—then you come to a transcendent moral truth, from which I think yours emerges as an approximation, which is that institutions that suppress the growth of moral knowledge are immoral, because they can only be right if the final truth is already known.

> But if all knowledge is conjectural and subject to improvement, then protecting the means of improving knowledge is more important than any particular piece of knowledge. I think that—even without thinking of things like all humans are equal and so on—will lead directly to, for example, that slavery is an abomination. And, as I said, I think human well-being is a good approximation in most practical situations, but not an absolute truth. I can imagine situations in which it would be right for the human race as a whole to commit suicide.

Anonymous at 4:08 PM on March 12, 2019 | #12003 | reply | quote

"No good deed goes unpunished" is a good argument against altruism?

Anonymous at 8:19 AM on March 19, 2019 | #12036 | reply | quote


Could you expand a little about one method to do introspection effectively for someone new to it?

What kind of method, approach, and area / theme would be recommended to begin with?

Nikola at 12:55 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12357 | reply | quote

Nathaniel Branden

What are your thoughts on Nathaniel Branden? I have started to listen to his lectures, "The Basic Principles of Objectivism", and to my knowledge, so far, I consider them to be good.

What happened to his views on Objectivism after the fallout with Rand?

If he was a "star student" of Objectivism at one point, how could he abandon correct views in philosophy out of personal spite (if that is what happened)?

Nikola at 6:54 AM on May 14, 2019 | #12374 | reply | quote

Podcasts are now up answering #12357 and #12374

I'm writing this comment because I forgot to include a criticism of Branden.


> Notice further -- and this is especially true of Atlas Shrugged -- how rarely you find the heroes and heroine talking to each other on a simple, human level without launching into philosophical sermons, so that personal experience always ends up being subordinated to philosophical abstractions.

Branden dislikes philosophy, or at least Objectivist philosophy as found in the best book ever written ("philosophical sermons" is a negative comment). And he seems unaware that good philosophy doesn't contradict empirical evidence, so one shouldn't subordinate either to the other. And he thinks people should talk to each other in a "human" way. "human" is one of the words used by or about the *villains* in AS, e.g.:

> “I don’t like Henry Rearden.”

> “I do. But what does that matter, one way or the other? We need rails and he’s the only one who can give them to us.”

> “The human element is very important. You have no sense of the human element at all.”

> “We’re talking about saving a railroad, Jim.”

> “Yes, of course, of course, but still, you haven’t any sense of the human element.”

> “No. I haven’t.”

curi at 3:06 PM on May 15, 2019 | #12397 | reply | quote

#12397 Thank you for answering my questions, Curi.

Since I still have stuff by Rand to read as well as Peikoff's OPAR, I'll focus on that instead of Branden.

I was chewing on a bunch of your podcasts after those two I asked about and in the one on *Induction* ( https://curi.us/podcast/induction ) you mentioned Alex Epstein not responding to some of your criticism on his book. I read it some months ago and am very curious on the criticism of methodology issues in particular.

(I'm a guy, not a girl btw - I know in English speaking countries it's usually a girl name, but alas :) )

Nikola at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12403 | reply | quote

Re Epstein's book:


See also:



And he also helps legitimize psychiatry and medicalize everyday life, in contradiction to liberty, as explained by Szasz. Brief summary of some of Szasz's points: https://www.szasz.com/manifesto.html

He also doesn't know Critical Rationalism, doesn't learn it, and doesn't have a refutation of it either.

curi at 12:46 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12404 | reply | quote


Thank you.

Nikola at 9:37 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12413 | reply | quote

What are some good ways to learn speed reading? And what methods are bad and should be avoided?

Nikola at 10:20 AM on May 17, 2019 | #12414 | reply | quote

Thank you.

Nikola at 12:18 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12419 | reply | quote

Are there any good rational arguments against polygamy?

Anonymous at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2019 | #12529 | reply | quote


Could you explain consciousness a little bit? Why it is so hard to understand it and what are some of the most common mistakes prevalent today when it comes to understanding consciousness. Also what was Rand's view on it?

N at 5:29 AM on May 31, 2019 | #12574 | reply | quote

Understanding consciousness requires knowing a lot about epistemology, programming/hardware/software and physics. And even then it's not understood very fully or we'd be able to create AGIs.

The most common mistake is overestimating the value of understanding consciousness. You don't really need to know anything about consciousness in order to learn epistemology (or programming, or physics, or art, or architecture, etc.)

Anonymous at 10:02 AM on May 31, 2019 | #12578 | reply | quote

How does one work on self motivation? What do do to become less lazy? I want to learn stuff but too often when I am tired I go for instant gratification --> watching a show or whatever random lazy stuff. I want to change this but I do not know how to.

Anonymous at 8:08 AM on June 4, 2019 | #12649 | reply | quote

What are some common confusions about fractional reserve banking and what's the right way to think about it?

Context is I was watching this lecture which is very critical of FRB and calls it fraud https://youtu.be/IIztM-B_Eeg

I understand some Austrian stuff about inflation and business cycle theory but have always found the FRB topic a bit confusing

Anonymous at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2019 | #12669 | reply | quote

FYI: The two last podcasts ("motivation" and "FRB") output "file not found".

Anonymous at 3:54 AM on June 7, 2019 | #12676 | reply | quote

#12676 Thx, reuploaded.

curi at 10:43 AM on June 7, 2019 | #12679 | reply | quote

#12679 Great. Thx.

Anonymous at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2019 | #12681 | reply | quote

#12669 So why having a central bank is considered to be bad?

Anonymous at 6:08 AM on June 8, 2019 | #12686 | reply | quote


What makes a bank "central"? Government support to privilege it above other banks. That support involves laws that favor the bank and taxpayer money used to favor it. So, force and more force.

Dagny at 10:09 AM on June 8, 2019 | #12689 | reply | quote

A three part question on econ.:

1) What is Mises' a priori position in his economical theory, 2) what is Hayek's critique of Mises in general, and 3) why is Hayek wrong on this?

N at 12:06 AM on June 19, 2019 | #12804 | reply | quote

> what is Hayek's critique of Mises in general

He doesn't have one. He presented himself as a Mises ally.

If you want to look up a specific issue where there's some disagreement, I recommend the economic calculation debate. I disliked what Hayek said and thought it undermined Mises and didn't understand Mises. I thought Rothbard was far better. But I don't remember the details of what Hayek said enough for a podcast.

> What is Mises' a priori position in his economical theory

He tries to argue economics stuff using arguments that don't depend on observations or experience (or value judgments). They are meant to be necessary truths like deductive logic or math. I'm not really clear on what the question is, but look at the table of contents and index of *Human Action* to find his explanations.

curi at 2:01 AM on June 19, 2019 | #12805 | reply | quote

> He doesn't have one. He presented himself as a Mises ally.

> If you want to look up a specific issue where there's some disagreement, I recommend the economic calculation debate. I disliked what Hayek said and thought it undermined Mises and didn't understand Mises. I thought Rothbard was far better. But I don't remember the details of what Hayek said enough for a podcast.

Thank you. I was under the impression Hayek was disagreeing more with Mises. I will look into the economic calculation debate.

> I'm not really clear on what the question is ...

I don't really understand to what degree Mises relies on a priori nor how he arrives at them.

Since Rand shows there is no a priori knowledge and Mises uses it for his epistemology I am a little confused. What does this entail for Austrian econ as a whole if the whole foundation stands on an a priori knowledge?

I find Austrian econ the best econ by far which make the best arguments on most, if not all, econ issues. But if the a priori foundation builds on some faulty premises I am keen to learn more about it.

I have listened to your podcast on *Austrian econ & Objectivism* ( https://curi.us/files/podcasts/austrian-economics-and-objectivism.mp3 ).

N at 2:49 AM on June 19, 2019 | #12806 | reply | quote

#12806 The a priori issue is tangential and epistemological. It's harmless to Mises' economics. Even if his arguments don't have quite the nature he believes, they are still careful, thorough, generic, difficult to dispute, high quality, etc.

curi at 10:57 AM on June 19, 2019 | #12808 | reply | quote

if a hardcore socialist were to become President in the US (like Bernie Sanders or AOC), should people take any specific financial measures in response like move from stocks into gold?

Anonymous at 11:41 AM on June 25, 2019 | #12873 | reply | quote

#12873 I just put up a podcast for this. Here are the notes I used when answering the question:

- this is not investing advice

- gold/money won’t fix nightmare, just make it a bit less awful

- govt may tax, confiscate or outlaw gold

- govt already taxes gold extra, as a “collectible”, different than walmart stock

- you aren’t an expert on gold:

- https://mises.org/wire/three-times-price-gold-collapsed-—-and-lessons-today

- can you evaluate the correctness of all the claims in that article yourself?

- maybe a shitty next president is already priced into the price of gold

- maybe a shitty next president will be priced in by the time they are elected, or a few hours after (but before you manage to buy gold in response to the election – others may be faster than you)

- if you like gold, maybe buy some now, rather than as a reaction to a specific election. that’s perfectly reasonable in our situation. but don’t put a ton of money into gold. don’t do some huge asset shift. use gold to help diversify rather than betting big on it.

- it’s hard to know what would happen with Bernie or AOC as prez. Obama is a Marxist Alinskyite. And he did a shitload of harm but it didn’t multiply the price of gold by 100x or collapse society. Bernie might get less of his agenda done than Obama. And our society and govt have lots of mechanisms to resist radical change and limit the harm, or at least make the change and harm be spread out over time instead of happening suddenly. And various broad trends have been going on for over 100 years.






curi at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2019 | #12884 | reply | quote


I agree with what you said about gold and about the limits of its value in nightmare scenarios.

I look at gold kinda like an alternate checking account. Just like my checking account, gold is not intended as an investment. Its purpose isn't to make money, but to have access to some money for spending when and if my checking account is no longer convenient for some reason. I hold enough gold for that purpose and no more.

Around 4 minutes in you indicated that something else might be a better hedge against inflation. I think I know something.

Same disclaimer: This is not investing advice, just general comments.

In an inflation scenario, you can protect yourself some by owning assets which don't deteriorate quickly and aren't tied to a fixed number of dollars. Precious metals meet that criteria. So do real estate, firearms, and stable businesses providing the masses with basic products. Businesses and some real estate (like rental property, commercial property, and farmland) also generally produce income. All of these have downsides and risks of their own of course. And in a true nightmare scenario, they can all be confiscated (think about what happened when Russia and China went communist). They're not "safe" assets. But they are inflation hedge assets.

You can also protect yourself some from inflation by being net short dollars. Meaning, you owe other people more dollars than they owe you. This protection is well known, though not usually characterized as holding a net short position in dollars. One of the main reasons people want inflation is to help make the real value of the debts of net debtors (including the government) go away.

The main downsides to being net short dollars / a net debtor are you have to pay interest, and you have to do something with the money you borrowed. Most net debtors haven't / don't do something very productive with the money they borrow. They mostly waste it, even faster than they waste the money they produce in their job. In those cases the way to look at it is: They're screwing themselves in life big time, and inflation just reduces the amount they screwed themselves by a little. That's dumb, but common. Not at all what I advocate.

But suppose you can borrow money at a fixed 5% interest rate and invest it in a productive endeavor of some sort that returns net risk adjusted cash flows of something like 6%, and involves owning one or more inflation hedge assets. In that case the cash flow from the asset pays the interest on the debt (and then some). If inflation remains tame, the money you borrowed is gradually paid off by the cash flow. If inflation spikes higher, your cash flow commonly rises and with it, the underlying nominal value of the assets you own. Meanwhile your debt payments remain fixed and the real value of both the payments and your debt shrinks.

Opportunities that return net risk adjusted cash flows in excess of the fixed interest rates available to borrowers are fairly scarce most of the time. I'm not sure they'd exist at all in a truly free market. The government makes more of those opportunities available to favored groups by things like FNMA/GNMA backed mortgages on investment property and SBA loans.

Either way, I think being a net debtor of dollars while owning more than the value of the debts in a diversified portfolio of productive inflation hedge assets is the best available protection against inflation, and far better than holding a lot of gold.

Andy at 7:23 PM on June 25, 2019 | #12886 | reply | quote

#12886 One of the difficulties with real estate is all the laws to prevent building homes and to screw with landlords ability to charge market rates and kick out bad tenants. Maybe rental building space to businesses is a better business with less government crap, idk. But to be effective you gotta actually do something with the real estate to get income, not just own it, and there are lots of restrictions on doing stuff with land.

Also you don't need to actually be in debt to get an inflation hedge, you can reduce your risk with some lesser borrowing.

Anonymous at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2019 | #12887 | reply | quote

How good of an inflation hedge is an index fund with stocks like Walmart or Microsoft? They have a ton of assets other than cash.

Also international stocks help hedge stuff some.

Anonymous at 7:57 PM on June 25, 2019 | #12888 | reply | quote

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