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The Crisis of Interventionism, part 2: The Exhaustion of the Reserve Fund


Blogging will be light for a few days for reasons which will become apparent when I return to it. In the meantime, I wanted to offer some prescient writing from Mises’ 1949 masterpiece, Human Action on the crisis of well-intentioned economic intervention. Via Human Action chapter XXXVI: The Exhaustion of the Reserve Fund: The idea underlying all interventionist policies is that the higher income and wealth of the more affluent part of the population is a fund which can be freely […]

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The Crisis of Interventionism, part 1: The Harvest of Interventionism


Blogging will be light for a few days for reasons which will become apparent when I return to it. In the meantime, I wanted to offer some prescient writing from Mises’ 1949 masterpiece, Human Action on the crisis of well-intentioned economic intervention. Via Human Action chapter XXXVI: The Harvest of Interventionism: The interventionist policies as practiced for many decades by all governments of the capitalistic West have brought about all those effects which the economists predicted. There are wars and […]

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Gordon Kerr predicts the failure of the Greek bailout


My Cobden Centre and Cobden Partners colleague Gordon Kerr appeared this morning on Bloomberg to explain why the Greek bailout will fail: As I have said in debate, in the context of using the IMF to facilitate bailouts: …If this is not the time of all times to question the fundamental basis of our financial system, I do not know when we ever shall. … To conclude, we are in danger of simply kicking a can down the road and, […]

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The Government’s business strategy


The Government recently announced a number of policies to help British businesses. They have launched the updated and overhauled businesslink.gov.uk website. This is now the primary gateway for businesses, of whatever scale, seeking support and information from the Government. It’s backed by a new telephone contact centre and many thousands of new business mentors. They have launched a new nationally-delivered Manufacturing Advisory Service to help small and medium-sized manufacturers to grow. It is estimated that this will help generate £1.5 […]

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Financial regulation and the deception of government intervention » The Cobden Centre


I have written today on financial regulation for The Cobden Centre: In the aftermath of the financial crisis, we are now going down a road towards ‘judgement-based’ regulation of financial firms in an attempt to salvage capitalism. It is proposed that firms will be supervised by what amount to shadow management teams of disinterested, public-spirited individuals more able to reach sound views than firms’ own management teams: they shall possess “the optimal experience and technical ability”. Quite where these mythical philosopher […]

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The Causes of the Economic Crisis (1931)


From an address by Ludwig von Mises in 1931, published in The Causes of the Economic Crisis and Other Essays Before and After the Great Depression (PDF) (emphasis mine): According to the circulation credit theory (monetary theory of the trade cycle), cyclical changes in business conditions stem from attempts to reduce artificially the interest rates on loans through measures of banking policy—expansion of bank credit by the issue or creation of additional fiduciary media (that is banknotes and/or checking deposits not […]

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Atlas Shrugged on the big screen


As I have reported before, there’s much in Ayn Rand’s writing that I do not like: As an articulation of what goes wrong when government and other coercive institutions intervene in the economy and in society, it is a masterpiece. As an articulation of the timeless morals which have sustained human society, it leaves something to be desired: magnanimity. Ironically, Aristotle, who made magnanimity “the crowning virtue”, was the only philosopher to whom Rand would acknowledge a philosophical debt: it […]

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EU transport policy


Today, the Transport Committee learned that: We are stuck with the ridiculous Galileo project. If we don’t like aspects of the ‘Eurovignette’ in due course, we are stuck with it. The Government accepts the principle of central planning and wealth redistribution combined with attempts at market liberalisation, despite the failure of the ‘First Rail Package’ to create a ‘Common European Rail Area’. Potentially, the High Speed Rail network will be pan-European. And so on. Do check the transcript in due […]

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