On George Selgin, Fractional Reserve Banking, and the Curious Sport of Insulting Austrian Economists

August 12, 2013
Don't make cats sad.

Don’t make cats sad.

Insulting Austrian economists is a popular sport among non-Austrian economists. Paul Krugman reigns as champion, with his latest feat of derogatory dexterity appearing in his column of July 16th, entitled The Paradox of Flexibility:

Well, Hazlitt has been wrong about everything for more than 80 years, and is still regarded as a guru. Bad ideas, it appears, are extremely robust in the face of contrary evidence.

Nice jab, Paul. Good one!

I was nonplussed this morning to witness George Selgin get in on the fun. Selgin is a self-styled former Austrian economist whom I understood as well regarded among the Austrian marketeers that I’ve heard speak. His lecture for the Austrians at the Ludwig von Mises Institute entitled The Private Supply of Money is one of my all time favorites from that outfit, so imagine my perverse interest when I happened upon a post of his entitled A Theory of Banking Made Out of Thin Air, which began thus:

Instances of self-styled Austrian economists bungling their banking theory seem almost as common these days as instances of theologians bungling their cosmology were six centuries ago.

Ouch, George! I didn’t know you could dish ’em out like that!  Read the rest of this entry »


What Libertarians Mean By “The Free Market”: My Two Cents

May 26, 2013

From  Libertarianism.org, via Cato.org

I’ll just add my two cents to this:  Read the rest of this entry »


Bizarre Claim: Businessmen Don’t Create Jobs, Consumers Do

May 17, 2012

Bizarre Claim:

I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me. 

Emphasis added. Full Article: The Inequality Speech That TED Won’t Show You (Oooh! TED censorship! How scandalous!)

The purpose of the claim, as I can tell, is to relieve any anxiety the reader may have felt about the government’s helping itself to people’s property:

That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

So, help yourselves, Washingtion! Help yourselves, America! Don’t worry. You won’t kill any jobs! ….Well, okay. Not so fast. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for Monday, March 29, 2010: Reason.tv >> Certificates of Need Stifle Health Care Competition, Fish Pedicures Banned, others….

March 28, 2010
  1. reason.tv | New Hampshire Nannies

    It’s for your own good.

  2. reason.tv | Nick Gillespie Discusses Pet vs. Human Hospitals on Stossel

    Thirty-six state governments require a “certificate of need” before a new hospital may be built in a given area, thereby directly inhibiting the growth of the supply of medical services and increasing the cost of medical care. Where’s the outrage? Next week: Certificate of Need Pro/Con. Read the rest of this entry »


The Barefoot Bum: A Very Special Blogger

March 1, 2010
The Barefoot Bum: A very special blogger

The Barefoot Bum: A very special blogger

(Originally written September, 2009. I’m giving my ‘Drafts’ folder a little spring-cleaning.)

The more belligerent an anti-Libertarian screed is, the more I feel the need to respond.  It’s, like, an honor thing.  I have to defend my honor.  I’ve just now found an almost two-year-old blog entitled Libertarians are Retards, by a gentleman who identifies himself alternatively as Larry H. and The Barefoot Bum. Will I just sit here and take that sort of verbal abuse?  No sir!  Read the rest of this entry »


Links for Febrauary 20, 2010: Can Socialized Medicine Beat a Faux Market?, SEPTA gripes, others….

February 21, 2010
Health care Systems

Where does our Frankenstein's Monster health care system fit on this map?

  1. Little Alex in Wonderland | Honest Statism Beats a Fake ‘Free Market’ Every Time

    “The point, Welch said, is not that a socialized system is better than a private system.  The point is that their honestly socialized system is better than our socialized corporate system masquerading as a ‘private’ one.”  —- An idea I played with a while ago, after having watched Michael Moore’s SiCKO during the summer of 2008 (SiCKO has opened me to the possibility that a [sic] socialized health care may even be better for us than the congressional-industrial complex that apparently controls health care in this country today.”). It’s good to see Matt Welch at Reason.com on the same page. Boy, this commentating stuff is easy! I still don’t buy the claim, made later in the article, that the public option would be self-financing, but perhaps there is something to be said for the “competition” it would create.

  2. The Christian Science Monitor | Greenspan the libertarian

    Good to see the Christian Science Monitor cross-posting from the Mises Institute blog! The post endeavors to set the record straight on “Greenspan the libertarian”, but it is very poorly titled, and was so in the original post.

  3. Lost Liberty Café | SEPTA… and a Gun

    I was wondering myself why SEPTA has no competition. Other busses are apparenlty legally allowed in Philadelphia, but may be thwarted by regulations and union activities. See Section 9-403 of Philadelphia’s municipal code for more on Philadelphia’s bussing regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for 2010-02-19: ACLJ on Free Speech and Teachers’ Mailboxes, a Poor Critique of Austrian Economics, others….

February 20, 2010
  1. ACLJ | Content based discrimination Vodpod videos no longer available.

    A careless misstatement of First Amendment law from the ACLJ. Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983), ruled specifically that teachers mailboxes are not public fora for speech. The school may allow certain people to use the mailboxes for limited speech purposes and exclude others. The question is whether the caller’s religious message falls within the limited purpose intended by the school. Jay won in Lamb’s Chapel only because the Court held the Church’s message in that case fell within the school’s limited purpose for opening the forum.  A similar case out of the 9th Circuit: Edward Diloreto v. Downey Unified School District Board of Education, 196 F.3d 958 (9th Cir. 1999), in which the fence around a school’s baseball field was held not to be a public forum open to all advertisers, The school did not violate the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by rejecting an ad displaying the 10 Commandments. This is settled law.

    Update: Time to correct my own misstatement. It is true that the school may not discriminate against the church simply because it is a church. It may, however, discriminate against the church’s message if that message is not within the limited purpose for which the forum was opened. The church is not entitled to put whatever it wants in the mailboxes merely because the school allows other groups to use the mailboxes.

  2. YouTube | A Critique of the Austrian School of Economics


    The critic misstates why Austrians do not rely on facts and experimentation. Read the rest of this entry »