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The German way of 1923


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I chanced this morning on the superb collection of essays from Ludwig von Mises, The Causes of the Economic Crisis and Other Essays Before and After the Great Depression (PDF). In his Stabilization of the Monetary Unit—From the Viewpoint of Theory written in 1923, he showed considerable foresight: Only the hopelessly confirmed statist can cherish the hope that a money, continually declining in value, may be maintained in use as money over the long run. That the German mark is […]

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Bank reform demands monetary reform – an essay for Banking 2020


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Today sees the return of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill to Parliament. It does not do enough. In the book Banking 2020: A vision for the future, my essay summarises the institutional problems with our monetary and banking orthodoxy: The features of today’s banking system As Governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King told us in 2010: ‘Of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today.’ Notes and coins are irredeemable: the promise […]

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Book review: Ouch! Ignorance is bliss, except when it hurts…


Once I saw George Selgin referenced on page 7, the paper dollar criticised on page 8 and a Zim$100 trillion note on page 12, I knew I would enjoy Ouch!: Ignorance is Bliss, Except when It Hurts- What You Don’t Know About Money and Why It Matters (More Than You Think). It’s a wonderful read. From the jacket: We live in a world dominated by a system that most of us aren’t aware of, never mind understand. When it comes […]

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Free, zooming presentations with Prezi – How Government created the crisis by debasing money


I have many times presented the argument that for forty years politicians’ promises in excess of what they could take in tax were paid for by debasing the currency to avoid an explosion of debt. Here’s a typical PDF generated from Keynote, Apple’s (superior) competitor to PowerPoint. Then I was introduced to Prezi. Instead of a series of animated slides, Prezi uses a zooming user interface over a canvas. Here’s my first attempt to convey the big economic story of the […]

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Taxes, currency debasement and the OFT report on pump prices


Via the Office of Fair Trading, Rises in pump prices for petrol and diesel over the last 10 years have been caused largely by higher crude oil prices and increases in tax and duty and not a lack of competition, an OFT report has found. and, emphasis mine, The OFT found that, pre-tax, the UK has some of the cheapest road fuel prices in Europe. In the 10 years between 2003 and 2012 pump prices increased from 76 pence per […]

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A confession from the Governor?


In his Cardiff speech last night, Sir Mervyn King admitted the Bank of England’s short term policies “appear diametrically opposed to those needed in the long term.”Sir Mervyn still believes that ulta-low interest rates have prevented the recession becoming a depression. However he confessed that such low interest rates prevent bad investments from the boom years unwinding and prop up failing firms surviving on cheap credit, thus postponing the recovery. I could point out that I have been saying this for years. Although that […]

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LearnLiberty.org: Should we End the Fed?


Another excellent video from LearnLiberty.org, in which Lawrence White concludes it would be dangerous to leave the control of money with the same institutions which caused the present crisis, hoping they will do better in future: What would it mean to “End the Fed?” Free banking expert and professor Lawrence White begins his answer by explaining the functions of the central bank of the United States, also known as the Federal Reserve or just “the Fed.” As the hub of […]

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Two speeches on sound money, the morality of taxation and the cruel fiction of state power


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I spoke yesterday to the European Young Conservatives on the origins of the crisis in excess state power, deficit spending, debt and debasement. Here are the slides: And this morning, I spoke on the morality of taxation alongside Syed Kamall MEP, Cllr J P Floru and Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. My remarks are here: PDF. My central message was the same on both occasions: if we really care about human welfare, especially the welfare of the poor, we need to […]

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Stimulus, to infinity and beyond


There was a beautiful symmetry to last week’s policy announcement by the Fed. Precisely a week after the ECB had pledged its commitment to unlimited purchases of Euro Zone government bonds, the Fed declared that its new round of debt monetization – ‘quantitative easing’ or QE3 – would be open-ended. Read the rest of the article by my Cobden Centre colleague, Detlev Schlichter: Stimulus, to infinity and beyond.

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Republicans eye return to gold standard – FT.com


After much that I have said, written and done, this gives me some satisfaction: The gold standard has returned to mainstream US politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy. via Republicans eye return to gold standard – FT.com.

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