Category Archive: 6b) Austrian Economics

The Majority of Virginia Homicides Come from only Two Metro Areas

In most times and places, crime tends to be a highly localized phenomenon. I have covered this for Mises.org at the national level, pointing out that homicide rates in, say, the Mountain West and New England are far lower than homicide rates in the Great Lakes region or the South. Gun-control laws clearly don't explain these differences, since many places with rock-bottom homicide rates such as Idaho and Maine also have few controls on private gun...

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Negative interest rates have cost Swiss banks CHF8 billion

Swiss banks have been forced to fork out CHF8 billion ($8.3 billion) in negative interest fees since the Swiss National Bank (SNB) imposed its policy in 2015. Last year saw the heftiest annual bill of CHF2 billion, according to research from German company Deposit Solutions.

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Money, Inflation, and Business Cycles: The Cantillon Effect and the Economy

Abstract: Austrian economists hold that money matters a great deal in concrete terms in the immediate short run and has permanent long-run effects. Sierońs book investigates the Cantillon effect, which indicates that money is not neutral because inevitabily it is injected unevenly, creating economic distortions. These distortions are important to the long run and the Austrian theory of the business cycle.

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Luck and Taxes

“Luck egalitarianism” is a philosophical fad, and in the past I have had some characteristically unkind things to say about it. I’d like today to discuss a new argument that concerns luck and government. The economist Robert H. Frank says in Under the Influence, Because successful people often fail to appreciate the importance of seemingly minor random events in life, they tend to develop an exaggerated sense of entitlement to the enormous material...

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California’s Anti-Self-Employment Law Is Already Crushing Freelancers

In 1971, Isaac Asimov wrote an extraordinary novel, The Gods Themselves, about a machine that generates unlimited energy for free, defying the fundamental economic principle known as scarcity. It is later learned that the Electron Pump is originating from a hole in space that connects parallel universes. Doomsday is nigh as it is discovered that galaxies will soon be destroyed and that the sun will metastasize into a supernova. The crux of the...

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Investing in crypto the sound way!

I have long been fascinated by the far-reaching consequences and the great potential of the wave of new technologies and ideas that emerged with the crypto revolution. While most of us first came into contact with these concepts in 2017, this tectonic shift that is only just beginning has been in the making for nearly a decade. Now, we begin to see the basic ideas and tools take shape and give rise to endless exciting possibilities that can affect...

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The Prospects for a Sound-Money Revolt against the Dollar and Euro

In the last decade, the combination of virulent asset price inflation and low reported consumer price inflation crippled sound money as a political force in the US and globally. In the new decade, a different balance between monetary inflation’s “terrible twins” — asset inflation and goods inflation — will create an opportunity for that force to regain strength.

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How Do We Calculate Value?

[From Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, by Ludwig von Mises, pp. 113–22.] All human action, so far as it is rational, appears as the exchange of one condition for another. Men apply economic goods and personal time and labour in the direction which, under the given circumstances, promises the highest degree of satisfaction, and they forego the satisfaction of lesser needs so as to satisfy the more urgent needs. This is the essence...

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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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