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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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Embrace Default! » The Cobden Centre

Via Embrace Default! » The Cobden Centre: There is a myth circulating, and I am not sure whether it has its origin in sloppy thinking or devious manipulation. It is this: sovereign default in the euro-area is the biggest threat to the euro’s survival. Really? Why? The euro is a form of paper money, just as the dollar, the pound and the yen is paper money. Paper money is backed by – nothing. It is an irredeemable piece of paper. It […]

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Thatcher: This is what we believe.

This week, I was glad to hear David Cameron say “I’d rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown” but what does that mean for policy and society? Famously, Lady Thatcher settled a discussion by taking a book from her handbag and banging it on the table, declaring, “This is what we believe.” Read the rest of my article at ConservativeHome’s Platform.

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Spoke in the backbench banking debate this evening

I enjoyed speaking in the banking debate this evening – it was held in an atmosphere of considerable thoughfulness and dignity, for the most part. Michael Meacher thought it one of the best in his long career, which seems to me quite a complement to this Parliament. I will post the text of my speech when available, but in the meantime, here is a section from Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit which inspired me: It is impossible to grasp the […]

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Mises on inflation and destructionism

In researching a piece on QE, I found this from Mises’ Socialism, which can stand alone for the moment. Here, by “inflation”, Mises means an increase in the money supply, which causes price rises. For Mises, “Destructionism” is the socialist strategy of tearing down the existing order in the hope that the socialist utopia will emerge. The work dates from 1932 and it tells us most of what we need to know today. Inflation is the last word in destructionism. […]

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Omnipotent Government – The Rise of the Total State and Total War (1944)

I find most accounts of the Second World War unsatisfying. They usually focus on the events of the war and the actions and speeches of individuals. Rarely does an account consider the ideas which prompted particular courses of action. In a previous post, I excerpted sections of Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War. Having now finished it, I can advise that it is a satisfying read for those interested in the ideas behind the actions […]

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CentreRight: The faith and folly of the Brussels elite

The Economist’s Charlemagne column prompted me to put the boot into the EU on ConservativeHome’s CentreRight blog: In this week’s Economist, the departing Charlemagne columnist reflects on “the faith and folly of the Brussels elite”. He explains that Brussels officials really do want more Europe because they believe nationalism is the greatest of evils. They have faith that the European project is eliminating nationalism and that “the existence of the EU is a bulwark against fresh horrors”. I go on to […]

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Mark Prisk MP, Hayek and Mises

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Via Business Minister Mark Prisk wants to strip away the red tape – Telegraph: Friedrich von Hayek is a controversial choice as a pin-up. But a signed pamphlet that the Austrian-born economist wrote in 1980 entitled “Full employment at any price” is proudly framed on Business Minister Mark Prisk’s wall. In placing it there, the Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford is following in a line of leading Tories to place their faith in one of the 20th century’s most […]

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Engineering, politics, Labour and reality

As I sit here on the train, reading a book on ethics, I am mindful of being an engineer in politics. Engineers are quintessentially pragmatic. We get things done, in the circumstances we face, with the resources we have. We may accept falling short of perfection, but we deliver things which work and improve them. However, we don’t flounder around uninformed. Aeroplanes do not fly thanks to fairy dust and software does not write itself. Aerospace engineering requires the application of […]

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Tu ne cede malis

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Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. This was the motto of Ludwig von Mises, a great economist and political scientist. It comes from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book VI and it translates as, “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it”. And so we should. Last week, the Institute of Economic Affairs published Dr Eamonn Butler’s Ludwig von Mises Primer: Ludwig von Mises was one of the greatest economists and political scientists of the twentieth […]

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