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.

US Debt Makes Us Dependent on Petrodollars — and on Saudi Arabia

The Iranian regime and the Saudi Arabian regime are longtime enemies, with both vying for control of the Persian Gulf region. Part of the conflict stems from religious differences — differences between Shia and Sunni muslim groups. But much of the conflict stems from mundane desires to establish regional dominance.

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The History and Structure of the Federal Reserve System

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in late 2020.] This chapter will provide a brief sketch of the historical context in which the Federal Reserve was founded, summarize some of the major changes to the Fed’s institutional structure and mandate over the years, and end with a snapshot of the Fed’s current governing structure.

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The Many Ways Governments Create Monopolies

[From Power and Market, Chapter 3.] Instead of making the product prohibition absolute, the government may prohibit production and sale except by a certain firm or firms. These firms are then specially privileged by the government to engage in a line of production, and therefore this type of prohibition is a grant of special privilege. If the grant is to one person or firm, it is a monopoly grant; if to several persons or firms, it is a...

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Will a Credit Crisis Threaten Boris’s 2020 Brexit Plans?

Boris and the Conservatives won the General Election with a very good majority. In truth, opposition parties stood little chance of success against the Tory strategists, who controlled the narrative despite a hostile media. At the centre of their slick operation was Dominic Cummings, who masterminded the Brexit leave vote, winning the referendum against all the betting in 2016.

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Economist: Your Freedom Is Dangerous Because You Might Set a Bad Example

Last week I discussed a new argument against paternalism in the important book of Mario Rizzo and Glen Whitman, Escaping Paternalism. Today I’d like to give the other side a chance. Robert H. Frank is an economist at Cornell University, well-regarded for his work on the emotions and usually anxious to stress the flaws of the free market. In his just-published Under the Influence, he offers, among many other things, a defense of high taxes on...

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“Low” Tax Rates Often Mask Much Larger Tax Burdens

Discussions about the incentive effects of taxes can be misleading. The focus is usually on the tax rates imposed. But one’s incentives are not best measured by tax rates, but by how much value created for others (reflected in consumers' willingness to pay) is retained by the creator, which I refer to as take-home income.

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A Fearful Fed Keeps Pouring Money Into the Repo Market

The Fed announced on Thursday it is adding another 83 billion in "in temporary liquidity to financial markets" And, in a development that will surprise no cynic anywhere, the Fed also noted it "may keep adding temporary money to markets for longer than policy makers had expected in September."

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The owl has landed: Lagarde’s new vision for the ECB

On December 12, Christine Lagarde introduced her goals and vision in her first rate-setting meeting as the new President of the ECB. On the actual policy front, there were no surprises. She remained committed to the path set by her predecessor, Mario Draghi, and kept the current monetary stimulus unchanged.

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Conservation in the Free Market

It should be no news by this time that intellectuals are fully as subject to the vagaries of fashion as are the hemlines of women’s skirts. Apparently, intellectuals tend to be victims of a herd mentality. Thus, when John Kenneth Galbraith published his best-selling The Affluent Society in 1958, every intellectual and his brother was denouncing America as suffering from undue and excessive affluence; yet, only two or three years later, the fashion...

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Why Paternalists Keep Calling Us “Irrational”

Some economists, such as the 2017 Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler and his colleague Cass Sunstein, have proposed an unusual justification for government interference with people’s choices. They do not intend, they say, to override the preferences that people have. They don’t want to tell people what they “should” want, according to an external standard that people don’t accept. They claim, however, that accepting the actual preferences people have...

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Why the Minimum Wage Is so Bad for Young Workers

In today’s political discourse, the minimum wage is frequently mentioned by the more progressive members of Congress. On a basic level, raising the minimum wage appears to be a sympathetic policy for low-income wage earners. Often kept out of the conversation, however, are the downstream effects of this proposal.

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Understanding Money Mechanics

Dr. Bob Murphy joins the Human Action Podcast to discuss one of the most important issues of all: how money and credit work in today's society. Jeff Deist recently commissioned Murphy to write a series of articles on money mechanics, an exceedingly important topic for critics of the Fed—and today's podcast serves as an introduction to the project.

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Wealth Consumption vs. Growth – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

GDP – A Poor Measure of “Growth” Last week the prices of the metals rose $35 and $0.82. But, then, the price of a basket of the 500 biggest stocks rose 62. The price of a barrel of oil rose $1.63. Even the euro went up a smidgen. One thing that did not go up was bitcoin. Another was the much-hated asset in the longest bull market. We refer to the US Treasury.

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Is Greater Productivity a Danger?

It is bad enough that opponents of the free market wrongly blame capitalism for environmental pollution, depressions, and wars. Whatever the failings of their causal theories, at least they are focused on undoubtedly bad things. We have really gone beyond the pale, though, when the market is blamed for something good.

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2019 Was a Bad Year For the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative

On December 29, an armed gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas and shot two members of the congregation. Within six seconds, a third member of the congregation drew a weapon and shot the gunman dead. The events were captured on live-streamed video, with the dramatic events — in the minds of many observers — highlighting the benefits of privately-owned firearms as a defense against armed criminals.

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Economic Stats Won’t Tell Us What Really Causes Recessions

Most economists are of the view that by means of economic indicators it is possible to identify early signs of an upcoming recession or prosperity. What is the rationale behind this opinion? The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) introduced the economic indicators approach in the 1930s.

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How to Write and Understand History

[Adapted from Chapter 2 of Human Action.] The study of all the data of experience concerning human action is the scope of history. The historian collects and critically sifts all available documents. On the ground of this evidence he approaches his genuine task.

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To Be Useful, Data Needs Theory

For most so-called practical economists, information regarding the state of an economy is derived from data. Thus, if an economic statistic such as real gross domestic product or industrial production shows a visible increase, it is considered indicative of a strengthening of the economy. Conversely, a decline in the growth rate is regarded as weakening. It seems that by looking at the data one can ascertain economic conditions. Is this the case,...

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How Today’s Central Bankers Threaten Civilization

When I was asked to write an article about the impact of negative interest rates and negative yielding bonds, I thought it was a chance to look at the topic from a broader perspective. There have been lots of articles speculating about the possible implications and focusing on their impact in the short run, but it’s not very often that an analysis looks a bit further into the future, trying to connect money and its effect on society itself.

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Abolish the Office of the First Lady

It's almost Christmas time again, and that means its time for White House politicians and staff to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Christmas decorations and events for the White House.

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