Patrick Barron

Patrick Barron

Patrick Barron is a private consultant to the banking industry. He has taught an introductory course in Austrian economics for several years at the University of Iowa. He has also taught at the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin for over twenty-five years, and has delivered many presentations at the European Parliament.

Articles by Patrick Barron

Good Logic Prevents Bad Regulation

Much onerous and harmful government regulation can be prevented by the application of well-known and well-understood principles of logic. I will use the recent regulations placed upon Americans in response to the so-called pandemic. I refer to the panoply of regulations that government enacted starting in 2020 as the covid control program. Application of proper logic would have eliminated the debate over the possible effectiveness of the regulations by allowing the individual to decide for himself, without harm to others, whether or not to adopt them.
There were four main elements to the covid control program:
Mandatory vaccinesMandatory maskingMandatory social distancingMandatory business lockdowns (and the completely arbitrary division of businesses into “essential” and

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The Dangers of a “Cashless” Economy

While the ruling elites and the Federal Reserve try to sell digital money as “modern” and “convenient,” it poses threats to financial privacy and civil liberties.
Original Article: "The Dangers of a ""Cashless"" Economy

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The Dangers of a “Cashless” Economy

Before delving into the dangers of eliminating cash and mandating that all transactions be conducted by digital means, let us briefly discuss the legal aspects of money. In the United States, as in all economies that have legal tender laws, only cash is recognized as money. Some may think that the balance of their bank accounts is money too, but that is not quite the case. Your bank balance is one step removed from legal money.
All banks must maintain minimum balances of reserves, in cash held either in their vaults—a very small amount—or in their “reserve accounts” with their local Federal Reserve Bank branch (there are twelve of them). These reserve account balances may be converted to real money, or cash, at your bank’s discretion. However, the total cash in our economy also includes

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Gold Will Destroy the Keynesian Fallacies

Keynes denounced monetary gold as "a barbarous relic." In the end, it will be that "barbarous relic" that overthrows the regime of paper currency.
Original Article: "Gold Will Destroy the Keynesian Fallacies"

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Dollar Hegemony Is Ending Due to Geopolitical Changes

Since the end of World War II, the US dollar has been the world’s reserve currency. That status may well change because US monetary authorities insist on inflating the dollar into oblivion.
Original Article: "Dollar Hegemony Is Ending Due to Geopolitical Changes"

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Gold Will Destroy the Keynesian Fallacies

Leaders of the Western democracies are unprepared to deal with the forces that will end the fiat dollar’s dominance as the preferred medium of international trade settlement, in place since the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971.
The BRICS summit, currently taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, is expected to include an agreement on a first step toward establishing an alternative international trade settlement system based on commodities, which would certainly include gold. Dozens of non-Western and even some Western-affiliated nations are attending and watching with great interest. Six new members have been invited to join Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Although the coming change

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Dollar Hegemony Is Ending Due to Geopolitical Changes

Since the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944, the dollar has been the world’s preferred reserve currency—the major trading nations of the world were willing to hold dollars in vast amounts to satisfy their need for a readily accepted worldwide payment medium. Even when, in 1971, the United States violated its solemn promise to redeem its dollars for gold at thirty-five dollars per ounce, nations were still willing to hold dollars.
Germany Shies Away from Monetary Leadership
In the mid-2010s, I was certain that Germany would abandon the euro and reinstate the deutsche mark. It was clear, especially to some German central bankers, that Germany was being cheated by the European Central Bank. Germany’s TARGET2 surplus represented a vast excess of German exports to other European Union members,

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Pennsylvania Legislators Want Higher Unemployment, Government Dependency, and Crime

On June 20, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the commonwealth’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. Although the bill is unlikely to pass the state senate, it seems only a matter of time before the minimum wage is raised from its current $7.25 per hour, where it has been since 2006.
The Lesson
Those supporting this bill need to read Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. Written in 1946, it has become a classic of free market advocacy. Hazlitt brings to modern audiences the timeless lesson most famously penned in 1850 by Claude Frédéric Bastiat in “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen.”
The one lesson has two parts. First, any economic action must be viewed for its effect not only on the immediate party but by its effect on all parties in

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Sound Money Is Required for Real Budget Discipline

The usual suspects are "relieved" that Congress gave President Biden what he wanted on the so-called budget deal. Without sound money, however, the borrowing and spending regime will collapse sooner or later.

Original Article: "Sound Money Is Required for Real Budget Discipline"

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Sound Money Is Required for Real Budget Discipline

News here in the USA has been full of the latest farce known as raising or not raising the debt ceiling. After the usual dog-and-pony show, a budget deal was reached. But was it progress? It was a foregone conclusion that the debt ceiling would be raised, yet again, for the simple mathematical reason that unless the budget is cut, via spending cuts or increases in taxes, it can do nothing else.
With the budget deficit projected to be (hold on to your hat!) $1.5 TRILLION, that is a political impossibility. Notice that I used the adjective “political.” Of course, technically it isn’t impossible to balance the budget or even run a surplus. But under the current monetary regime of fiat money that can be produced in any amount at the click of a computer at the Fed, there is no support either in

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Role Reversal: The Collapse of the Dollar-Enforced Empire

A generation ago, the Berlin Wall fell and the USSR collapsed. Today, US monetary authorities are bringing down our own country.

Original Article: "Role Reversal: The Collapse of the Dollar-Enforced Empire"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Role Reversal: The Collapse of the Dollar-Enforced Empire

The Soviet empire started to crumble around 1989. The time period between the forming of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the late 1940s and the retreat of Russia from Eastern Europe with the eventual collapse of communism in Russia is known as the Cold War. There was a great power confrontation in Europe that did not result in war.
Essentially, US-led NATO stood its ground to prevent further Soviet expansion from the territory it occupied at the end of World War II and waited for the inevitable collapse. Now, perhaps not everyone saw the collapse of the Soviet empire as inevitable. But all one had to do was view the Soviet empire for oneself, up close and personal, which is what I did in the early 1970s as a young Air Force officer.
The State of the Communist Economy
The

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Authoritarianism Is Not Compatible with Economic Progress: Freedom Is Indivisible

Is it possible, or even desirable, for economic freedom and progress to be compatible with authoritarianism? Although some may believe so, this is a fallacy. Freedom is indivisible. Political and economic freedom cannot be separated.
This is the position of Ludwig von Mises himself. In Planning for Freedom, he says, “Tyranny is the political corollary of socialism, as representative government is the political corollary of the market economy.” Regarding a citizen’s reaction to such tyranny, he writes in Planned Chaos that “If one master plan is to be substituted for the plans of each citizen, endless fighting must emerge. Those who disagree with the dictator’s plan have no other means to carry on than to defeat the despot by force of arms.” Mises contrasts the tyranny of socialism with

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The End of World Dollar Hegemony: Turning the USA into Weimar Germany

In a recent essay, I explained how over time the US abused its responsibility to control the supply of dollars, the world’s premier reserve currency for settling international trade accounts among nations. This abrogation of its duties is leading to the likely adoption of a new reserve currency, commodity based and controlled not by one nation but by members, all watchful that the currency is not inflated.

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Sound Money Can Prevent What Representative Democracy Does Not

One of the arrogances of “Western” nations is that our way of life and our liberties are protected by periodic elections as required by constitutions, written (America) or not (Great Britain), containing bills of rights, etc. The people rule, it is claimed, and we get exactly what we want, even if those in the minority are unhappy with the result.

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Germany Can Save Itself, and Possibly the World, by Abandoning Four Failed Policies

The following is a plea to Germany—the war is over and has been for three-quarters of a century. It’s time to stop prostrating yourself for the supposed "good" of Europe. It’s time to take complete control of your domestic and foreign policy, without interference from haughty, busybody world elites, and do what is best for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised that what is good for yourself is also good for your neighbors and the world.

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GDP Tells Us Little about the Health of an Economy

The government and the mainstream media’s favorite economic statistic is gross domestic product (GDP). If GDP goes up, then the economy is doing well. If GDP shrinks, then the economy is doing poorly, or so it is assumed. It all seems so simple. But GDP tells us no such thing. The economy may be doing poorly when GDP rises. Likewise, the economy may be doing well when GDP falls.

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The World Needs a Gold-Backed Deutsche Mark

The seeds of sound-money destruction were sown at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, which established that US dollars could be held as central bank reserves and were redeemable for gold by the US Treasury at thirty-five dollars an ounce. This was the so-called gold exchange standard, but only foreign central banks and some multinational organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), enjoyed this right of redemption. The system depended upon the solemn promise by the US that it would refrain from issuing unbacked dollars. The watershed event that ushered in a new malignant, pure fiat money era occurred on August 15, 1971, when the US abandoned the gold exchange standard in order to stop the drain on the US gold stock.
American money printing had begun in earnest in the

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The Hidden Link Between Fiat Money and the Increasing Appeal of Socialism

What causes the seemingly unfounded confidence in socialism we encounter more and more in the news media and among political activists? In the Extinction Rebellion movement, for example, activists are quite certain they have learned that there is an alternative to markets as the means to economic prosperity. It’s a means that does not involve meeting the legitimate needs of one’s fellow men in the marketplace.

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