Let Irving Fisher sink into oblivion

I'm getting tired of hearing people quote Irving Fisher as a great economist or mention ideas from his books and so forth. I think it's time to debunk him and push him down as much as possible to allow for him to sink into oblivion once and for all. Fisher is also the one responsible for Milton Friedman and his monetarist theories that fail the test of reality, but still are worth Nobel prizes and attracts politicians who act on those failed theories.

Looks like all the evil of our civilization have been actually seeded by Irving Fisher. We owe Fisher for:
  • His own failed theories, which politicians still try apply
  • Keynes'
  • Friedman's
  • Going off the gold standard
  • Our fiat monetary system
Wow... what a sad realisation...

From Wikipedia:
[Irving Fisher] famously predicted, a few days before the crash, "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher stated on October 21 that the market was "only shaking out of the lunatic fringe" and went on to explain why he felt the prices still had not caught up with their real value and should go much higher. On Wednesday, October 23, he announced in a banker’s meeting “security values in most instances were not inflated.” 
For months after the Crash, he continued to assure investors that a recovery was just around the corner.
Fisher was so discredited by his 1929 pronouncements and by the failure of a firm he had started that [...] People instead eagerly turned to the ideas of Keynes.
Here are a few quotes from the History of Money and Banking in the US by Rothbard.

Quote 1 - pages 303-304 — I mean, if this quote doesn't show that Fisher was unable to understand what was going on in the 1920s, and then was not able to get his way even after convincing the president to go off the gold standard and devalue and finally, failed even after corrupting himself, the currency of his country, betraying his country and his people...

Fisher strongly urged the inflationist devaluation and fiat standard upon Roosevelt, who had asked him for advice. When Roosevelt cast the die against gold, Fisher exulted to his wife, “Now I am sure—as far as we ever can be sure of anything—that we are going to snap out of this depression fast. I am now one of the happiest men in the world.” 
Fisher had a personal as well as an ideological stake in rapid inflation. Sure of a permanent prosperity and stock boom in the late 1920s, he had invested all of his wife’s and most of his sister-in-law’s substantial Hazard family fortune in the stock market, and he was desperately anxious for Roosevelt to reflate and to drive up stock prices. As Fisher added in the same letter to his wife: “I mean that if F.D.R. had followed Glass [who had urged him to stay on gold] we would have been pretty surely ruined.” 
As it happened, the fiat money policy did not restore the stock market and Fisher’s and his wife’s and sister-in-law’s fortune was ruined by his unwise speculations—a mute testimony to the unsoundness of Fisherine monetarism in explaining or counteracting business cycles.
Quote 2 - pages 455-456 — this is an extended version of the previous quote.
Irving Fisher, in response to a request for advice by President-elect Roosevelt, had strongly urged at the end of February a frankly inflationist policy of reflation, devaluation, and leaving the gold standard without delay.

By April 19, when Roosevelt had cast the die for this policy, Fisher exulted, “Now I am sure—as far as we ever can be sure of anything—that we are going to snap out of this depression fast. I am now one of the happiest men in the world.” In the same letter to his wife, an heiress of the substantial Hazard family fortune, Fisher added,
My next big job is to raise money for ourselves. Probably we’ll have to go to Sister [his wife’s sister Caroline] again. . . . I have defaulted payments the last few weeks, because I did not think it was fair to ask Sister for money when there was a real chance that I could never pay it back. I mean that if F.D.R. had followed Glass we would have been pretty surely ruined. So would Allied Chemical [in which much of his wife’s family fortune was invested], and the U.S. Govt. . . . Now I can go to Sister with a clean conscience. 
[...] Irving Fisher’s interest was personal as well as ideological [...]
Quote 3 - page 303 — just in case.
The major theoretician of the inflationists, who had liquidated the assets of his own prior Stable Money Association into The Committee for the Nation, was Yale Professor Irving Fisher, the intellectual forerunner of Milton Friedman (who has hailed Fisher as “the greatest economist of the twentieth century”) and who mechanistically had believed that since the price level was not rising in the 1920s, there was no inflation to worry about and no coming crash.


Dave Narby said...

One more dolt in a long line of '
'useful idiots'.

PEJ said...

I classify him an Evil Buffoon.