November 11, 2012
Gaga Over Galbraith
Joseph Salerno discusses the rehabilitation of John Kenneth Galbraith’s reputation among left-wing professional economists. Salerno suggests one possible reason for this phenomenon: in comparison to the mechanistic and hyper-mathematical theorems of modern-day academic economics, even Galbraith’s fallacy-ridden and unsystematic writings look attractive because they are at least expressed in English and deal with real phenomena.
You Call That Austrian?
David Gordon pans John Allison’s (the new president of the Cato Institute) new book on the financial crisis. Despite purporting to be an Austrian observer, Allison repeats Objectivist tropes about Immanuel Kant without adequate explanation, accepts Milton Friedman’s monetarist interpretation of the Great Depression without even acknowledging Murray Rothbard’s critique, and betrays a simplistic grasp of Austrian business cycle theory.
No, Military Keynesianism Does Not Make Us Wealthier
William Anderson critiques Aaron O’Connell’s recent New York Times article about the supposed positive economic effects of military spending.
Romney and Rent-Seeking
Peter Klein argues that the real welfare bums are not the urban poor, but the big corporations reliant on government subsidies, the professionals protected by stringent licensing requirements, and the legions of bureaucrats dependent on the government for their salaries.
There’s Still a Case for Gold
Ron Paul lauds the revival of Lassiez Faire Books and credits Murray Rothbard for helping him and Lewis Lehrman craft the minority report of the 1982 U.S. Gold Commission, now available in a 30th anniversary edition.
The Public Purpose of Economics–The Education of Students
Peter Boettke argues that the interest and dedication of young economics students is a cause for optimism. Online programs, he contends, will not replace the face-to-face interactions that are central to their education.
November 2, 2012
Once More, with Feeling: Our System Is Not Socialism, but Participatory Fascism
Robert Higgs explains why the term “participatory fascism” is the best descriptor of the American political system. The existence of a nominally private economy, he argues, makes more wealth available for the state’s expropriation and expansion.
I’m Not Voting
David Gordon explains why neither Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, nor Gary Johnson has earned his support.
Democracy is a Terrible System, Period.
Douglas French denounces the entrenched bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, and gullible voters that are fundamental features of all modern democratic systems.
Fiscal Stimulus or Fiscal Depressant?
Joseph Salerno discusses new empirical data that undermines the Keynesian idea that government spending generates a “fiscal [or money] multiplier” effect.
Bastiat and “Full Employment”
Peter Klein responds to critics of Bastiat’s broken window fallacy and provides links to Austrian critiques of the Keynesian theories of idle resources and full employment.
U.S. Economic Freedom Plunges
Benjamin Powell explains how thanks to the increased use of eminent domain, the expansion of the war on drugs and the war on terrorism, and the arbitrary government bailout regime, the United States is now only the 18th most economically free country in the world.
May 23, 2012
A few days ago, I quoted Steven Horwitz’s blog post on government involvement in banking before the creation of the Fed, a time that Krugman ridiculously claimed represented an era of laissez-faire banking. The interventions Horwitz mentions are important enough, but as Joe Salerno points out today on the Circle Bastiat, they are tangential to the central issue–how the National Banking System then in existence operated as a quasi-central bank. Salerno explains:
Horwitz seems to imply that the panics were isolated events that were somehow caused by sudden monetary stringency when in fact the very opposite was true. As Rothbard shows in his masterful discussion of the National Banking era in A History of Money and Banking in the United States (pp. 132-79), every panic was preceded by an expansion of the money supply. And during the panic of 1873, there was no contraction of the money supply, while there was a very mild one in 1884. As a free banker, I would have expected Horwitz to counter Krugman’s nonsense by pointing to the inflationary, quasi-central banking cartel that existed during the Gilded Age, rather than carping about minor regulations that may have curbed the ability of banks to inflate their way out of difficulties caused by previous inflation. And why no mention of the banking cartel’s “clearing house certificates” as fostering systemic moral hazard and undue credit expansion among banks? Doesn’t Horwitz ascribe to the oft-repeated free banker doctrine, “Every bank on its own bottom.” Finally, how does Horwitz square his idiosyncratic financial-regulation theory of panics and recessions with the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle? He sounds like a supply-sider to me.