An Austrian economist gets tired of dealing with money, and so decides to go back to school for a career switch. A decade later, he has a medical degree. He passes his boards, and opens up his own general practice.

His first patient comes in for a routine checkup, and he asks, “So, doc, how’m I doing?”

And the Austrian doctor says, “You’re dying.”

The patient freezes for a moment, then he starts to panic. He shouts, “Well, what do I do?”

And the Austrian doctor says, “Nothing.”

The patient panics even more. He screams, “Do I need surgery? Do I need a prescription? Do I need therapy?”

The Austrian doctor replies, “No! Those things could have unintended side effects! Just let it run its course!

The patient sits down with his head in his hands, catching his breath. He finally says, “Okay, doc, give it to me straight. What am I dying of?

The Austrian doctor says, “Old age.”

The patient nearly falls off the cushioned table. “Old age?!” he shouts. “I’m 32 years old! When am I supposed to die of that?!

And the Austrian doctor growls, “ANY DAY NOW.”


Hat tip: Dream shade

Category: Economy, Humor

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

10 Responses to “Austrian Economist Goes to Med School . . .”

  1. JohnathanStein says:

    ROFL at the punchline! A shade of Keynes’, “…when the storm is long past the ocean is flat…”.

  2. peacock says:

    I read about the Keynesian economics versus the Austrian School and I wonder, these theories are almost 100 years old, is this the best we have?

    Have there been any new innovative theories that have blossomed since then? All other sciences have advanced, what about economics.

    • Laphroig says:

      This is a fair question but it rings with a hint of what C.S. Lewis calls “Chronological Snobbery.” Old things that are still around are not necessarily outdated because they are old. They are still around because they have not been determined to be obsolete.

      Think of the Philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Surely there have been advances in the field of Philosophy, but they established a foundation that will not be uprooted. Therefore, they will continue to be apart of the conversation even as the field progresses.

  3. S Brennan says:

    Good one…

  4. gloeschi says:

    The Austrian doctor translated: “In the long run, we are all dead”. Oh, the irony.

  5. Low Budget Dave says:

    The funniest part is the assumption that an Austrian economist would ever submit to taking a test that uses the “coercive power of the state” to restrict his freedom of choice to answer each question any way he pleases.

    More likely, an Austrian economist would open their own medical school. This school would offer medical degrees to anyone who agreed that the best health came from unrestricted individualism.

    Naturally, each doctor would reject any empiracal evidence that suggested they were killing people.

  6. Sadly, once you cross 40, the death rate — your statistical probability of dying in any given year — does in fact start to steadily increase for the rest of your life.

    The difference between those who live to 100 and those who die in their 40s is partly genetics, partly living in healthy ways, and partly due to some of the wonders of modern medicine… but nevertheless, it is largely influenced by luck.

    So the Austrian Doc actually does have a good point. I find it interesting that most folks don’t want to hear it.

    I’m reminded of the famous quote by Feynman after the Challenger disaster exposed the flaws in the O-ring design on the space shuttle’s booster tanks: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

    The medical industrial complex has been almost as successful as the financial community in persuading the public to believe in PR over reality. People get persuaded to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in other people’s money (insurance payments) on medical treatments in the last few years of life, treatments which generally don’t improve one’s quality of life, and simply prolong dying with increasing agony. (There was a great article on this in the Wall Street Journal last weekend, “A Full Life to the End” in the Review section.)

    Just as financially-illiterate Americans fall prey to financial fraudsters and exploitation by those offering “investment products”, so it is true that all too often we fall prey to the doctor’s suggestions for aggressive treatments, when the only person benefiting from many of these treatments is the medical industry. When the taxpayer or the insurance company pays, the lure of a free cure seems to rob people of their skepticism… Moral Hazard strikes again!

    Perhaps the healthcare hype is yet another reason why we are dumb enough to spend twice as much per person as any other nation on medical “products”, yet we live no longer and not much better than folks in the rest of the developed world?

    • Frilton Miedman says:

      Sustainable gains, I completely agree on your comments about the medical-industrial complex, the way it’s abused solely for the gain of providers, your comparison to the financial sector is spot on.

      However, I don’t agree with – “So the Austrian Doc actually does have a good point. I find it interesting that most folks don’t want to hear it.”.

      I have an auto mechanic to keep my vehicle running after the alternator dies for about $300 rather than having to buy a whole new vehicle.

      The same applies to doctors and economists, they have an actual productive purpose, the gist of this blog (IMO) was to point out the oxymoronic nature of Austrian economics….like my mechanic telling me it’s time for a new car because the alternator is dead, or my doctor telling me to get my affairs in order because I have diabetes and he won’t give me insulin.

  7. rd says:

    Burton Malkiel’s Random Walk Down Wall Street may be a better analogy since you don’t know what your treatment will cost or its quality until after you have had it:

  8. mysterious eggs says:

    So funny it hurts.