Hayek Unclear?

In a comment to a recent post at Robert Murphy’s blog, Nick Rowe writes,

I always find Hayek too unclear on these questions to have any confidence of capturing what he is saying.

I find this to be equivalent to people who argue that Keynes’ writing was too convoluted to understand. I don’t mean to be rude, or belittle Rowe — I am in no position to do something like that to an economist like Nick Rowe —, but these are the type of statements made by people who obviously have expended little to no effort to actually read these economists. If most Austrians can understand Hayek, then most non-Austrians should be able to understand Hayek.

I find Hayek difficult, because the concepts are difficult and Hayek was truly pushing capital theory ahead during the 1930s (his work was cutting edge stuff, at the time), but I find him clear. Even if he weren’t clear, the best thing about being part of a network of blogging economists is that there’s people to help you get through what you may not completely understand.

4 thoughts on “Hayek Unclear?

  1. Nick Rowe

    No, many years ago I did put some effort into reading and understanding Hayek. And I’ve read other Austrians too, many of whom I understood. I thought I understood some of Hayek. But what I was referring to in that comment was Hayek’s theory of monetary non-neutrality. His Business cycle theory, if you like. I don’t understand it clearly, despite trying to. And despite others’ trying to explain it. Hayek’s fault? My fault? Who knows.

    1. JCatalan

      When you say Hayek is difficult to understand, do you mean that it’s difficult to understand the assumptions he makes when constructing his business cycle theory? In other words, do you understand the basic mechanism, but you don’t really see where Hayek is coming from? For example, I understand Keynes in that I “get” his theories, but sometimes it’s difficult for me to figure out why Keynes believes what he does.

      1. Nick Rowe

        I don’t understand the basic mechanism. I can parrot the words, and fake some sort of understanding. But I don’t understand it.

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