Category Archive: 6b) Austrian Economics

Eugen von Böhm Bawerk
“Value does not come out of the workshop, but out of the wants that goods satisfy” The quote by Mr Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk is as true today as it was more than 100 years ago, even though modern pundits often ignore the simple fact. This blog is not an attempt to revive Mr Böhm-Bawerks thoughts, life and deeds, but from a sober view of the world comment on and analyze ongoing events. We aim to take the analysis a step further. We question accepted truths and always strive to answer the simple question “why?” We are opinionated.

Creating More Money Won’t Revive the Economy

In response to the coronavirus, central banks worldwide are currently pumping massive amounts of money. This pumping, it is held, is going to arrest the negative economic side effects that the virus-related panic inflicts on economies. As appealing as it sounds we suggest that this view is erroneous.

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In March, US Deaths From COVID-19 Totaled Less Than 2 Percent of All Deaths

About 2.9 million people die in the United States each year from all causes. Monthly this total ranges from around 220,000 in the summertime to more than 280,000 in winter. In recent decades, flu season has often peaked sometime from January to March, and this is a major driver in total deaths. The average daily number of deaths from December through March is over eight thousand.

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What “Lender of Last Resort” Is Supposed to Mean

Modern central banks have already moved far beyond what was once considered the proper role for a central bank as a "lender of last resort." Now Keynesians and MMTers (modern monetary theorists) want to take things even further.

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The Pandemic Exposed the Frailty of the Financial System

Despite the more optimistic claims of political pundits and Federal Reserve officials (Jerome Powell, specifically), things are far from being under control. Notwithstanding archetypal Austrian objections to “loose” monetary and fiscal policies on the grounds that they create production structures that ultimately deplete the pool of real savings, the operational failures of central banks cross-globally are largely nested in faulty axioms.

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What Is the Good Entrepreneur to Do?

In a January 2020 Forbes Magazine article titled “Why Doing Good Is Good For Business” clearly left out critical information: who is the good or bad entrepreneur? According to the author, good entrepreneurs are doing good if their primary objective is not to make a profit. And bad entrepreneurs are doing bad if their primary objective is to make a profit.

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The Bureaucrats Can’t Fix This

In the midst of the emerging economic chaos triggered by the COVID-19 coronavirus, individuals are seeking answers from governments as to how to prevent the emerging economic disaster. Most economic experts are sympathetic to this and are urging the authorities to push massive injections of money. Thus in the US the central bank has embarked on a $2 trillion stimulus.

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The Crisis Has Exposed the Damage Done By Government Regulations

As we watch in real-time how governments respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, some of the most predictable forms of state overreach—from restrictions on the freedom of assembly to the suppression of regular commerce—have been rolled out. Thankfully, there is no unified world government, so there exist various examples of how certain countries are dealing with the crisis that we can closely examine and learn from.

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End the Shutdown

The shutdown of the American economy by government decree should end. The lasting and far-reaching harms caused by this authoritarian precedent far outweigh those caused by the COVID-19 virus. The American people—individuals, families, businesses—must decide for themselves how and when to reopen society and return to their daily lives.

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Oren Cass and the Conservative Critique of Pure Laissez-Faire

Oren Cass is the executive director of American Compass (AmericanCompass.org), a conservative think tank that stresses the importance of family and domestic industry, in opposition to a singleminded devotion to economic efficiency. Cass was previously a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and was the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

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The Last Thing We Need Right Now Is Bernie’s Proposed Tax on Financial Transactions

When one imagines working on Wall Street, he envisions stock traders scrambling to place buy or sell orders, perhaps even some puts or options. Today’s powerful artificial intelligence tools allow traders to game stock market trading. In some ways, this computer-driven high-frequency trading resembles actual gaming in that it may seem as if one is simulating various trading scenarios.

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More than Half of All US COVID-19 Deaths Occur in Only Four States

As of March 24, nearly 30 percent of all the COVID-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in New York state. Of the 910 deaths reported so far in the US, 271 happened in New York. Washington State was in second place, with 13 percent of the nation's COVID-19 deaths.

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Diversification versus Risk

It is widely held that financial asset prices fully reflect all available and relevant information, and that adjustments to new information is virtually instantaneous. This way of thinking which is known as the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) is closely linked with the modern portfolio theory (MPT), which postulates that market participants are at least as good at price forecasting as any model that a financial market scholar can come up with,...

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Is gold still a safe haven?

There have been moments in recent months when many gold owners, myself included, have asked themselves whether gold might have lost its safe haven status, at least in the western world. Was it enough for two generations, who grew up in a paper money system, to forget the history and the 5000-year-old status of gold as real money? 

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Central Bankers Are Running Out of Options

Corona fears have shifted the world’s central banks into hyperdrive. Talk more, do more, lend more—and buy everything that moves. One after the other, the major central banks took to the barricades, manned the canons, fired their bazookas, and every other military metaphor you can think of.

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The European Central Bank Is Being Stretched to Its Breaking Point in Italy

When Mario Draghi’s tenure was approaching its end, I argued for a sterner governor for the European Central Bank (ECB); hence, I was not even slightly enthusiastic when Draghi’s successor turned out to be Christine Lagarde—a patent dove, as can be inferred from her ideological proximity to a famous Keynesian like Olivier Blanchard.

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Diseases Are Bad. Government-Forced Shutdowns Are Often Worse.

However high the death rate of the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes, the governmental response to the threat will be even more dangerous. If the current blockade of economic life continues, more people will die from the countermeasures than from the virus itself. In a short time, the basic supply of everyday goods will be at risk. By interrupting the global transport and supply chains, important medicines will be missing and food supplies will be...

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In Spain You Can’t Use Your Own Back Yard. Police Make Sure of It.

The last days and weeks of the coronavirus epidemic give an interesting insight into the human psyche. Elementary liberties are restricted all over the world, such as the freedom of movement or private property. Yet most people accept these restrictions without blinking, as the state declares their indispensability.

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No, Technology Shocks Aren’t Behind Recurring Business Cycles

Economic fluctuations, also known as business cycles, are seen as being driven by mysterious forces that are difficult to identify. Finn Kydland and Edward C. Prescott (KP), the 2004 Nobel laureates in economics, decided to attempt to find out what these forces were.1 They hypothesized that technology shocks are a major factor behind economic fluctuations and demonstrated that a technology-induced shock can explain 70 percent of the fluctuations in...

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A crisis is a terrible thing to waste – Part I

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” -Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010. Only a couple of weeks ago, if anyone told you that your entire country would be basically shutting down, that events and public gatherings would be outlawed, that you’d be looking at empty shelves in your local supermarket and that the global...

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Aplanando la economía «por el virus»

Escribo esto el 18 de marzo, después de haber visto un cambio de 180 grados en la forma de pensar sobre las enfermedades contagiosas. Anteriormente, poníamos a los enfermos en cuarentena y respetamos el derecho de los sanos a seguir con sus vidas. Ahora estamos al borde de la ley marcial. En nuestro afán por combatir el coronavirus, estamos cerrando los viajes, las reuniones públicas, los restaurantes, etc.

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