Right on the Money (#1)
Of all the reasons to read Kant, the most important is to understand Mises, and thus the template for a functional world (however unobtainable). Austrian economics, as formulated in Human Action, consists exclusively of systematically assembled synthetic a priori propositions. Insofar as action is in fact directed by practical reason, the conclusions of organized praxeology cannot be wrong.
It is pointless to ask an Austrian Economist whether he ‘believes’ a rise in the minimum wage will increase unemployment (above the level it would otherwise be). The praxeological construction of economic law is indifferent to empirical regularity, as to anything less certain than rational necessity. Does one ‘believe’ that 2 + 2 = 4? No, one knows it, because the irreducible values of the signs compel the conclusion, and are inextricable from it. There could be no value ‘2’ unless its doubling equaled ‘4’, or any meaning to ‘wage’ unless its doubling reduced demand for labor. Empirically sensitive Austrianism isn’t Austrian at all.
Like game theory, Austrianism applies wherever rational agents seek to maximize advantage. Perhaps, as Moldbug argues, it is comparable to Euclidean geometry — another synthetic a priori construction — embedded, as a special case, within a more general model, unconstrained by the presupposition of intelligible purposes.
The problem with Mises as guru is that Misesian classical liberalism (or Rothbardian libertarianism) is like Newtonian physics. It is basically correct within its operating envelope. Under unusual conditions it breaks down, and a more general model is needed. The equation has another term, the ordinary value of which is zero. Without this term, the equation is wrong. Normally this is no problem; but if the term is not zero, the error becomes visible.
As a matter of historical fact, this is how the neoreactionary departure from pure libertarianism has occurred. It has stumbled upon non-zero curvature in the domain of political economy, and — unable to comfort itself through the dismissal of this discovery — it has precipitated an intellectual crisis, through which it spreads. Whether faithfully Carlylean, or not, it insists upon a generalization of realism beyond expectations of liberal order. Civilization is the fragile solution to a deeper problem, not a stable foundation to be assumed — as a parallel postulate — by subsequent, elaborate calculations.
What does this make of money? Can Austrianism be modified, by systematic transformations, that adapt it to the dark intrusion of neoreactionary realism? That is a question recent discussions have already introduced.
ADDED: Spandrell triggers a related discussion.