Friday, May 28, 2010

Reading List for learning about Recessions, Depressions, and Financial Crisis'

Hey Guys,

To really appreciate the importantce of understanding economics, and austrian economics primarily in the fight for liberty one must understand history. Why? It's when the economy is at it's weakest that the biggest losses of liberty is justified, so understanding what causes a recession or a depression is important in understanding what leads to liberty lost.

As Far as Understanding the Current Crisis, I would recommend reading the following, in the following order:

Tom Woods - Meltdown: This is probably the best introduction to the current crisis available, it's a quick read yet is able to get a whole lot of information across as well as a solid foundation in austrian economics for any beginner. This is a must read and provides you with the intellectual understanding of history and economics to go toe to toe with any enemy of liberty.

Johan Norberg - Financial Fiasco: While not a book with any ties to austrian economics, this is a great book to fill in the play by play of the events surrounding the Financial Crisis. In this book you learn who were the key players, and go in depth into all the mechanisms that are mentioned by Tom Woods in Meltdown, great follow up read to Meltdown. So while Meltdown paints the big picture very clearly, Financial Fiasco paints all the details of what was the perfect storm.

Charles Goyette - The Dollar Meltdown: After reading the previous two books you will definetley be left with the question... "so what's going to happen to the dollar?". Charles Goyette does a great job of focusing on how the crisis, the response to the crisis effected the US currency and how to prepare for the inevitable currency crisis that will come out of those events. You also learn some great history of money and how inflation has brought many nations to their knees.

After reading those three books, you should have pretty in depth knowledge of the crisis, the response, and what's to come but in all three books a portion is spent revisiting the great depression. While these books serve great introductions to great depression, a part of history clouded by many misconceptions, what are some goods sources to learn more about the great depression?

Robert P. Murphy - The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal: I just got my copy signed by Murphy himself at the recent Mises Circle in NYC which was a treat. This is a great book that addresses every misconception about the great depression, and can even serve as a great introductory book into economics.

Murray Rothbard - Americas Great Depression: While I've only read certain portions of this book at the moment, this is widely recognized as the source for history of the Great Depression. This is a larger and more advanced book written by one of the greatest economic minds to have ever lived so I'd recommend reading Murphys book before tackling this tome to the great depression.


Alex Merced

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Liquidity: The Destructor of Economies and Liberty

Liquidity: The Destructor of Economies and Liberty
by Alex Merced

I always believed and still believe that innovations that make our day to day tasks simpler and easier is the key to raising the standard of life. Although, in making investment more convenient we have sown the seeds of our own destruction. The primary deterrent to anyone saving or investing capital has always been liability, the risk that the bank may go under, or that they won't be able to get out of their investment in a good time at a good value. In trying to accommodate to this fear we have focused on created several institutions to separate these liabilities from investment. Although, when separating liability from those who rightfully should own that liability you distort the economic calculation between risk and reward which will always yield unintended consequences.

Through different legal structures and mandatory insurance programs people became more and more willing to invest their capital, but they also became less concerned with what they were investing it, and with who. On top of this through trading markets and derivatives we made it possible for investors to get their return on their investments in short and shorter a period of time, creating more demand for investment.

Due to these "innovations" the time horizon for investors became less and less as "liquidity" increased. Is there any inherent problems with these innovations? Trading Markets and Derivative products in themselves were great innovations, yet the underlying separation between ownership of enterprise and liability caused by the underlying corporate structure caused a level of moral hazard that was heightened by the amount of liquidity provided to any investment. The check's a balances built into structures like a Limited Partnership were gone, and along with it much of the prudence and calculation that makes investment and it's benefits sustainable.

You couple this with the fraud of fractional reserve banking, and the leverage it allows, the end result you have is self-destructing economic whirlwind. As an economy is destroyed, liberty dissipates with it as people begin to look and blame each other for the lack of resources.

The answer to all this is a sound belief in ownership of property, and the liability that should come with it or else in a world without this basic principle, Liquidity will eventually be the catalyst of the economies destruction.


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