Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Worst Five Years Since World War II

In a new essay, my colleague, Tracy Miller, explains why our economy has turned in the worst five-year performance since World War II. Miller notes that:
The Obama administration has pursued several policies that make it harder for market forces to work. These include: bailouts, expansion of entitlement programs, regulation of the economy, tax increases, and huge government deficits.
These policies cumulatively result in capital consumption and curtailment of entrepreneurship. They reduce the incentive and ability of people to save and invest and hamper the price system, making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to do their job of allocating resources to their most highly value uses.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Three Reasons Private Property Is Essential for Human Flourishing

In his Elements of Moral Science, published in 1835, Baptist minister and college president Francis Wayland cogently identified the positive link between private property and human flourishing.

He describes it in elegant prose:
Just in proportion as the right of property is held inviolate, just in that proportion civilization advances, and the comforts and conveniences of life multiply. Hence it is, that, in free and well-ordered governments, and specially during peace, property accumulates, all the orders of society enjoy the blessings of competence, the arts flourish, science advances, and men begin to form some conception of the happiness of which the present system is capable.
Economic theory teaches that Wayland was speaking truth. The right to property is absolutely essential for human flourishing, for it is the social institution necessary for the engines of economic prosperity to function.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hulsmann on the Cultural Consequences of Fiat Money

Our current monetary system is one of fiat money. The monetary units of all modern nations are money based on nothing but the government's say so. They ceased to be money substitutes for gold when the world left the last semblance of the gold standard back in 1971. In a lecture he recently gave at Mises University at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Guido Hulsmann explained the broader cultural consequences of fiat money. You can watch it below:

Hulsmann notes that economic phenomena help determine the culture of any society because the human action which is manifest in culture always involves using scarce goods.

The question he investigates is how does government intervention of fiat money change the culture. Hulsmann explains both the direct and indirect consequences of fiat money. He argues that the direct consequences of fiat money is centralization of government and tyranny, and the indirect consequences mainly flow from debt culture that is fruit of fiat money.