Sydney Kendall Says

Thinking in public about anything that matters.

Month: March 2009

Who predicted the Crash of 1929?

Gerard Jackson writes about the economists that DID predict the Crash of 1929.

The Great Depression — then and now and bloody journalists

Excerpt:

“…Yet 80 years later we are still being told that economics still failed to predict the Great Depression, despite the historical fact that a group of economists succeeded where the mainstream forecasters failed. Widespread ignorance of this fact among those who are paid to know better is an intellectual scandal.”

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Kevin Rudd’s International Dud

Whether it becomes internationally celebrated or is recognized for the travesty it is, Kevin Rudd’s 7900 word paper on the current economic crisis is a whacking dud, full of half-truths and falsehoods.   Now it is propagating throughout the world.

All 7900 words of Rudd’s essay.

(Many sources say this is a 7700 word essay, but the monthly says it’s 7900.  Whatever.)

What we need in this onslaught of stupendous economic erroneousness  is ordinary-man-in-the-street-friendly analyses of what led to this crisis and what is needed to make it resolve as quickly and soundly as possible ( i.e., resolve quickly without using means that will backfire in the future).

We need analyses that avoid economic jargon where that jargon is unnecessary.

It should be thorough, with clear, unconfusing definitions of jargon where that jargon must be used.

It should take care not to leave gaping holes in explanations where the writer carelessly assumes his readers know something seemingly simple but crucial that he hasn’t explained.

It should be free and online.

And we need for these articles to be actively, urgently circulated.  We need everyone who is on the side of economic (and other kinds of) liberty to rev up their motors and make sure that their friends and acquaintances are aware of these articles.

There are a number of excellent articles and even books online that explain free market economic principles (from an Austrian School perspective)well, and lots of articles that explain well what has happened to bring about the present economic distress and what should be done about it.  Are they getting widely read?  I don’t know.  But I want to do my part to get them read.

If you know of articles that I have not listed that meet the above criteria, especially ones  that even an intelligent high-school kid could understand without the author  having to over-simplify – if you find articles even more thorough and clear than the ones below – please direct me to them!

Below I list some of the articles that I think are important reading, with excerpts.  Some I have listed before.

The crisis we’re enduring is not the worst possible economic disater we could have.  If  people are convinced that it was free market capitalism and not ENOUGH government regulation that is the fundamental cause of our present trouble, and if governments act accordingly, this crisis could be prolonged for many years more than it would have lasted naturally.  A lot of bad could come from that.

It is in the interest of every single person on earth that we understand the whole truth and nothing but the truth and get the solution right.

I am really worried.

$$$$$Free Market Thinkers on the Crisis$$$$$

George Reisman

The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis – October 21, 2008 – “The news media are in the process of creating a great new historical myth. This is the myth that our present financial crisis is the result of economic freedom and laissez-faire capitalism.”

The above is a long blog article by an Austrian School economist, with footnotes.  I’ve posted it before.

I recommend George Reisman’s blog.  Sometimes parts of his articles are a bit difficult (for me, at least), but well worth the effort.

Here’s his front page:

George Reisman’s Blog on Economics, Politics, Society, and Culture

$$$$$$$$

Robert Higgs

Recession and Recovery: Six Fundamental Errors of the Current Orthodoxy – 16 March 2009 – “…Most unfortunate have been the policy implications derived from this mode of thinking, above all the notion that the government can and should use fiscal and monetary policies to control the macroeconomy and stabilize its fluctuations. Despite having originated more than half a century ago, this view seems to be as vital in 2009 as it was in 1949. Let us consider briefly the six most egregious aspects of this unfortunate approach to understanding and dealing with economic booms and busts.”

$$$$$$$$

Thomas Sowell

(Brief commentary articles.)

False Solutions and Real Problems – March 17, 2009 – “What was the problem that didn’t exist? It was a national problem of unaffordable housing. The political crusade for affordable housing got into high gear in the 1990s and led to all kinds of changes in mortgage lending practices, which in turn led to a housing boom and bust that has left us in the mess we are now trying to dig out of…

“… where the problem was real, local politicians were the cause. National politicians then tried to depict this as a national problem that they would solve.”

Upside Down Economics – Feb. 18, 2009  – “Lawsuits were only part of the pressures put on lenders by government officials. Banks and other lenders are overseen by regulatory agencies and must go to those agencies for approval of many business decisions that other businesses make without needing anyone else’s approval.

“Government regulators refused to approve such decisions when a lender was under investigation for not producing satisfactory statistics on loans to low-income people or minorities.

“Under growing pressures from both the Clinton administration and later the George W. Bush administration, banks began to lower their lending standards. ”

‘Jolting’ the Economy   – Nov. 25, 2008 –  ” Many of those who have, over the years, praised the fact that this was the first time that the federal government took responsibility for trying to get the country out of a depression do not ask what seems like the logical follow-up question: Did this depression therefore end faster than other depressions where the government stood by and did nothing?

“The Great Depression of the 1930s was in fact the longest-lasting of all our depressions.”

A ‘Sound’ Economy –  Nov. 4, 2008  –  “You may be as sick as a dog from having eaten the wrong thing. But that does not mean that you need to have your arm amputated or to receive massive doses of morphine. In other words, your body may be perfectly sound— and radical medical treatment can do more lasting damage than your temporary suffering will. ”

Postponing reality  – Dec. 17, 2008 – “Detroit and Michigan have followed classic liberal policies of treating businesses as prey, rather than as assets. They have helped kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. So have the unions. So have managements that have gone along to get along.”

Thomas Sowell’s front page:  Thomas Sowell

$$$$$$$$$$$

For more articles addressing the economic crisis, please click the “Economics”  link in the sidebar under “Categories”.

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Eat at Home

The Australian Government must be motivated to get people to eat at home and to kick a lot of restaurants off the face of the planet along with the entry-level jobs they provide.  Prodos and I will probably not be holding our two weekly meetings anyplace but our own home if this plan goes ahead.   Maybe we can get our participants to each bring a pot-luck dish…

Restaurant Awards Hike Hard to Stomach

UPDATE:

Unions Opt for Jobs Over Pay

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Cruel Bastard!

For some reason Thomas Sowell thinks it’s wrong for taxpayers to bail out people who just wanted to have a house that they couldn’t afford.  He is mean and heartless and doesn’t care about the little guy! 

I just love him.

Go HERE to read the rest of this:

Since the average American never took out a mortgage loan as big as seven hundred grand— for the very good reason that he could not afford it— why should he be forced as a taxpayer to subsidize someone else who apparently couldn’t afford it either, but who got in over his head anyway?

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Green Blasphemy

This link – The Rise and Rise of Climate Blasphemy –  is to an article posted in July, 2008, but I only just came across it at Spiked-Online.   Another Brendan O’Neill gem.

“You don’t have to endorse Durkin’s film, or the ‘alternative’ climate-change theories that he and others have put forward (I, for one, do not), to be concerned about the censuring of anyone who challenges any part of the politics or science of climate change today. Rather, this is about upholding openness, scepticism and the right to question everything, in the world of journalism and in the world of science. “

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“The Debate is Over!”

This commentary is just too good to pass up:

Pathologising dissent? Now that’s Orwellian
By Brendan O’Neill

“Ahead of a conference on the psychology of climate change denial, Brendan O’Neill says green authoritarians are treating debate as a disorder.”

Excerpt:

“…The labelling of those who question certain scientific ideas or green ways of life as ‘deniers’, ‘addicts’ and ‘reptiles’ with a ‘baffling’ inability to understand The Science and act accordingly has a deeply censorious bent. If ‘climate change denial’ is a form of mass denial and self-deception, a fundamentally psychological disorder, then there is no need to engage in a meaningful public debate; instead people just need to be treated…”

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