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.

The WTO Is Both Irrelevant and Unnecessary

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in a state of crisis. When it comes to trade negotiations among large states like the US, India, and China, the WTO has been shown to be an organization that is largely irrelevant.

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Tax Burdens, Per Capita Income, and Simpson’s Paradox

How many times have you heard that higher taxes mean greater social welfare and economic development? The statement is backed up by a touch of popular wisdom: “More taxes, more public services.” Almost incontestable empirical evidence is also cited: with very few exceptions, the richest countries’ tax rates are very high, whereas taxes in poor countries are relatively low.

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Who wins and who loses because of negative interest rates?

The Swiss National Bank’s negative interest rates, introduced five years ago, are having an increasingly significant economic and social impact. But despite criticism, the SNB does not want to remove them. It considers the measure necessary to stop the Swiss franc appreciating too much.

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Nationalism as National Liberation: Lessons from the End of the Cold War

During the early 1990s, as the world of the old Soviet Bloc was rapidly falling apart, Murray Rothbard saw it all for what it was: a trend of mass decentralization and secession unfolding before the world's eyes. The old Warsaw Pact states of Poland, Hungary, and others won de facto independence for the first time in decades. Other groups began to demand full blown de jure secession as well.

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Gold is the 7th sense of financial markets

Claudio Grass (CG): Looking at the interest rate policy of the last years, it would seem that central banks are backed into a corner. They cannot hike borrowing costs without risking a domino effect, as both government and corporate debt have reached record highs, encouraged by the central banks’ own NIRP and ZIRP policies. In your view, is there a “safe” way out of this vicious circle?

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Is Free Market Economics Too “Ideological”?

Free market economics is often ignorantly dismissed for being "ideological" rather than scientific. It probably sounds smart to the economically illiterate, but it is decidedly not. It doesn't mean nearly what most people assume it does. The word "free" in free market economics is not used as a normative value judgment but indicates an economy that is unaffected by exogenous (from the outside) factors.

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Why It’s so Hard to Escape America’s “Anti-Poverty” Programs

One of the most common debates that has occurred in the United States for the past six decades is the discussion of the poverty rate. As the narrative goes, the US has an unusually high poverty rate compared to equivalent nations in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

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Gold is the 7th sense of financial markets

As we embark on this new decade, there are plenty of good reasons to be optimistic about gold’s prospects. The global economy and the financial system are already stretched to a breaking point and demand for precious metals is heating up. This, of course, is plain for all to see, even as mainstream investors and analysts still refuse to face facts and prefer to focus on naïve hopes of an eternal expansion.

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Some Problems with Worker Productivity Stats

According to the US Labor Department, worker productivity in the non-farm sector increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 after declining by 0.2 percent in the previous quarter. For the year, productivity increased 1.7 percent, up from 1.3 percent in both 2017 and 2018. It was the best annual showing since the 3.4 percent increase in 2010.

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Three Reasons Why Decentralization and Secession Lead to More Open Economies

When we hear of political movements in favor of decentralization and secession, the word "nationalist" is often used to describe them. We have seen the word used in both Scottish and Catalonian secession movement, and in the case of Brexit. Sometimes the term is intended to be pejorative. But not always.

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The Secret to Fun and Easy Stock Market Riches

Post Hoc Fallacy. On Tuesday, at the precise moment Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell commenced delivering his semiannual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee, something unpleasant happened. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) didn’t go up. Rather, it went down.

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Rothbard: The Constitution Was a Coup d’État

[Conceived in Liberty: The New Republic, 1784–1791. By Murray N. Rothbard. Edited by Patrick Newman. Mises Institute, 2019. 332 pages.] We owe Patrick Newman a great debt for his enterprise and editorial skill in bringing to publication the fifth volume, hitherto thought lost, of Murray Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty.

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Government “Fixes” for the Trade Balance Are Far Worse Than Any Trade Deficit

In December 2019, the US trade account balance stood at a deficit of $48.9 billion, against a deficit of $43.7 billion in November and $60.8 billion in December 2018. Most commentators consider the trade account balance the single most important piece of information about the health of the economy. According to the widely accepted view, a surplus on the trade account is considered a positive development while a deficit is perceived negatively....

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A Pharmaceutical Stock That Is Often Particularly Strong At This Time Of The Year

An Example of Strong Single Stock Seasonality. Many individual stocks exhibits phases of seasonal strength. Being invested in these phases is therefore an especially promising strategy. Danish drug company Novo Nordisk.

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The Triumph of Madness

Historic Misjudgments in Hindsight. Viewing the past through the lens of history is unfair to the participants.  Missteps are too obvious.  Failures are too abundant.  Vanities are too absurd.  The benefit of hindsight often renders the participants mere imbeciles on parade.

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Small Countries Are Better: They’re Often Richer and Safer Than Big Countries

In the wake of the Brexit vote, Scottish nationalists have renewed their calls for a new referendum on Scottish independence. But many remain unconvinced, and many claim Scotland is "too small" to be an independent country. Others claim that Scotland is too poor, since Scotland's GDP per capita is only 90 percent that of England.

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Europe Can’t Afford a New “Green Deal”

Today’s brand of the left-leaning politician is all about substituting what sounds good for what actually works. Modern politics, whether in the US or Europe, is about taking a chainsaw to everything that produced even a modicum of success to appease the deities espousing progressive orthodoxy.

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The Economy Is Not a Factory—Nor Should We Try to Make It One

A common issue with economists and political economists from left to right is that they misunderstand the market economy as simply being a set of production processes. We see this in Lenin’s statement that the Soviet Union should be run like one big factory. We see it in market socialists from Frederic Taylor to Oskar Lange attempting to respond to (and resolve) Mises’s argument that socialist economic calculation is impossible.

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The Fight for Liberty and the Beltway Barbarians

In the conservative and libertarian movements there have been two major forms of surrender, of abandonment of the cause. The most common and most glaringly obvious form is one we are all too familiar with: the sellout. The young libertarian or conservative arrives in Washington, at some think-tank or in Congress or as an administrative aide, ready and eager to do battle, to roll back the State in service to his cherished radical cause.

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Why Progressives Are Anti-Vaxxers When It Comes to the Alt Right

Bob Murphy first explains a standard progressive viewpoint when it comes to dealing with issues like virus outbreaks, underage drinking, and prostitution. Yet, when it comes to dealing with people whose views they abhor, the progressives suddenly are “zero tolerance” and ignore the mechanisms they point to for the other issues.

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