Austrian economics jokes bleg

by on May 3, 2009 at 7:27 pm in Medicine | Permalink

The Austrians need some good jokes if they're ever going to be taken seriously.

So writes to me one loyal MR reader.  He has a specific and indeed noble reason for wanting these jokes (someday I'll be able to explain but the best jokes will in fact be used publicly).  Although I've been connected to Austrian ideas for a long time, I don't know the jokes.  Nor does Google seem to yield much.

But surely MR readers can deliver in a pinch (Raivo?  Are you there?).  And note that simply listing the name of an Austrian economist you don't like isn't actually that funny.  It should have a punchline something like "I cut off their noses" or "I'm sick and tired of all this bickering about oatmeal," etc.  Puns and limericks are OK too.

I thank you all in advance.

1 beamish May 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

What do you call 100 Austrian Economists at the bottom of the ocean?

A reaction to monetary policy incompatible with individual time preference.

2 Student @ NCSU May 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Will Wilkinson had about Mises and Buddhists:

“Q: What does Mises call beheading a room full of meditating yogis?

A: Gardening!”

The link explains:

3 anonymous May 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm

The grand tome written by that most notable of Austrian economist in China, Lu Mi, “Hunan Action.”

4 Enda May 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Doesn’t forcing jokes about Austrian economics just eventually lead to a shortage of them?

5 steve May 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm

How many Austrian economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

All of them. First, Ludwig von Mises has to screw the bulb in personally. Then the rest of the Austrian economists have to spend the next 80 years writing about what a good job he did.

6 Anonymous May 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

What’s an Austrian economist’s favorite movie?


7 Carl May 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Rothbard and Kirzner?–Jews for Mises.

8 Will Wilkinson May 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Mises Christ Superstar? I can’t think of the joke for which that is the excellent punchline.

9 Arnold Kling May 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Q: How would you describe that play about Austrian capital theory?

A: I’d say it was a roundabout production

Q: How many Austrians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: None. It was screwed in a priori.

Q: How did Professor Hayek ask his students to line up?

A: In spontaneous order.

10 Bob Murphy May 3, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Not bad, not bad. I’m sure most have already seen this, but just in case: Here is the classic Hayek vs. Hayek.

11 sleepy_commentator May 3, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Q: Why did the Austrian Economist loose his job as a supermarket cashier?
A: He couldn’t figure out how to imput the prices without knowing what you were making for dinner.

12 Jeff Holmes May 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Not quite, but close:

A group of macroeconomists are sitting on a panel at a conference discussing developments in the discipline.

In a heated exchange, the New Keynesian says to the Real Business Cyclist: “You guys have put macroeconomics back twenty years with this nonsense!†

The Real Business Cyclist smiles and says “So you DO believe in negative productivity shocks after all.†

13 sleepy_commentator May 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Ludwig von Mises found consumer indifference “impossible to observe in practice.” It just bugged them too much that he was watching.

14 mobile May 4, 2009 at 12:58 am

I’ve posted this one before.

Two middle-age women walk into a bar. The first one said, “I really want a husband.” The second one, who was also an Austrian economist, said “I can prove that you are lying.”

15 sean May 4, 2009 at 2:38 am

steve ftw

16 Trent McBride May 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

I was going to say this one:

Q: How many Austrian economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: You can’t make quantitative predictions.

17 Cyrus May 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

Austrian economists never die; they are just dragged kicking and screaming into equilibrium.

18 Paul Zrimsek May 4, 2009 at 9:36 am

What’s an Austrian economist’s favorite country song?

“Welfare Catallactics”.

19 Rafe May 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

This is not strictly an Austrian economists joke, it is about an Austrian and the breakdown of subjective understanding (verstehen).

Popper: Some people can’t understand how anyone can dislike chocolate.
Colleague: Who can’t understand how anyone can dislike chocolate?
Popper: I can’t.

20 Mario Rizzo May 4, 2009 at 11:49 am

I once told a joke that I believe I learned from Roger Garrison. I told it to a mixed group of Austrian and non-Austrian graduate students. “There are three kinds of Austrian economists. Those who can count and those who cannot.”

The non-Austrians got it; the Austrians did not!

A meta-joke????

21 Gabe May 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

(part 2 of 2)
This is no more helpful to the economy than it is for the supply of pick pocketers to expand at a rate of 2% per year. If the pick pocketers as a group spend there money with higher velocity than the working men, this is still not a net benefit to mankind. If the pick pocketing group expands by 2% per year then eventually civilization will be destroyed. If we entrust some benevolent currency czar to decide the rate at which pick pocketing expands then we will probably see civilization destroyed even sooner because only a really bad person or a really dumb person would accept such a job. If a dumb person accepts the job then soon they will be made into a puppet from the people on this planet who wish to do the most harm in the least amount of time.

After the three economist give their advice the czar of the central board of economic growth, he recommends a Nobel prize be given to economist #2 and appoints him to an important advisors board to the monetary czar. Economist #1 is made the secretary of transportation. Economist # 3 is the subject of a New York Times in a article titled “The professor who didn’t believe in math† . Fox news does a expose on Economist #3 in a piece titled “Is anti-semitism on the rise?†. The Department of Homeland Security Fusion Intelligence Center releases a report saying that those equating “government currency creation with common counterfeiting are subject to violent acts of terrorism†. Economist # 3 is scheduled for a huge debate with other economist on C-Span but before it happens he is found in his apartment hanging from a rope with three shots to the head in a apparent suicide.

22 PM May 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Gabe’s very, very long joke does a fantastic job of illustrating why Austrians are made fun of so mercilessly, for much more than just their dogma.

23 Zdeno May 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Q: How many Austrian economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Both of them

24 liberty May 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

None : that was funny.

25 Mr. Econotarian May 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Father: “You borrowed money from me for college, and you blew it on drugs?”

Son: “Well, you expanded my money supply, and I misallocated it!”

26 Ahem May 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

“The Austrian says, no you are both wrong sell me your shirts for $5, the “signal” will save us.”

No, the Austrian says, “Quit daydreaming and help me to finish this boat and collect enough coconuts for the voyage. There are no shortcuts which obviate the need for productive work, savings and investment, you lazy-assed monetary cranks.”

27 David May 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Oops, I meant “flaws”, not “flows.”

28 David May 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm


Having a methodological objection to mathematic modeling based on abstractions and assumptions is in no way equivalent to not understanding mathematical modeling.

29 Andy May 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Conan, what is best in life?

Market process, spontaneous order, and to hear the lamentation of the Keynesians

30 sleepy_commentator May 4, 2009 at 11:28 pm

A joke for David who is sad about ignorance:

  • An individual with a sufficiently high time preference for having a methodological objection to mathematic modeling will discount the cost of not understanding mathematical modeling in the future.
  • An individual with a sufficiently high time preference for understanding mathematical modeling will discount the cost of not having a methodological objection to mathematic modeling in the future.
  • When the two meet there will be an exchange and the market will have determined an equivalence between understanding mathematical modeling and having a methodological objection to mathematic modeling.
  • Therefore only Austrians truly understand mathematical modeling.

31 A May 5, 2009 at 5:19 am

What did the Austrian do when the Fed cut interest rates by 1/4 point?

Blew his life savings on some roundabout production.

32 babar May 5, 2009 at 7:10 am

where can i learn more about economist-assisted suicide?

33 James May 5, 2009 at 11:55 am

Perhaps it isn’t a joke in the traditional sense, but here’s my contribution:

The optimist thinks the glass is half-full;
the pessimist thinks the glass is half-empty;
the Austrian economist thinks capital was malinvested in oversized glassware.

34 Tori in DC May 5, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Q. How many conservative economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None. The darkness will cause the light bulb to change by itself.
A. None. If the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself in.
A. None. There is no need to change the light bulb. The lighting in the room was previously overly bright due ligtblub manipulation as a result lights burnt out. The room is currently descending to a level of darkness at which time the conditions for re-illumination are in place.

35 FUJITSU LifeBook laptop battery May 18, 2009 at 8:23 am

The grand tome written by that most notable of Austrian economist in China, Lu Mi, “Hunan Action.”

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