Posts Tagged Ludwig von Mises Institute

Austrian economist Huerta de Soto explains the real causes of the financial crisis

An hour’s talk, with no notes. Informative and stimulating. I wish I could talk like this (including the Spanish accent! I’m a sucker for non-English accents).

Update:  The speech was given on March 1st, in Belgium, at the conference ‘The Phantom of Hyperinflation’.  Tuur Demeester, the translator of de Soto’s book  ‘Money, Bank, Credit and Economic Cycles’ has split up the speech into convenient segments according to subject on his homepage here.

I can’t embed the YouTube video here, unfortunately, but you can see it on YouTube, on and on, where you can also read a summary as well as the complete transcript of the talk.

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Author sues the US Government for copyright infringement!

J. Neil Schulman actor's headshot
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An author and film-maker, J. Neil Schulman, wrote a novel in 1979 about the collapse of the American economy due to massive government overspending and pumping massive amounts of unbacked money and credit into the the system. Schulman claims the US government has stolen his plot!

How long before the Randians follow suit? I wonder. I’m only surprised they have not already filed suit.

Mouse-tip to Jeffrey Tucker at the Mises Institute blog (Kinsella, by the way, is a lawyer who is strongly opposed to copyright law in its present form).

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Is anyone minding the store?

Jörg Guido Hülsmann speaking to a group of stu...
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Mousetip to Douglas French at Mises Institute.

And speaking of “enough”….Here’s another video of Grayson questioning Geithner.

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Something is destroying British education, says former Chief Inspector of Schools

Henry Hazlitt
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Chris Woodhead, a man many teachers loved to hate when he was Chief Inspector of Schools under the Conservative and then Labour governments, 1994-2000, has written a book in which he expresses his views about British education. An excerpt was published in the Times (online), May 10, 2009.

Fifty years ago the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch asked whether we could maintain educational standards while making education more “democratic”. The experience of the past 12 years has taught us we cannot.

John Holt, in Freedom and Beyond (1972), wrote about a fallacy of universal education: the idea that if everybody was equally educated, everyone would have a better job. (I don’t have the book, and could only find online this excerpt, which is not quite what I was looking for, but close).

Woodhead, in this excerpt, does not closely examine this fallacy, or delve too deeply into the possible meanings of “democratic”. He refers to Murdoch writing 50 years ago, which certainly predates Holt by about 25 years.

Woodhead goes a little deeper into what he means by freedom:

By freedom I mean an appreciation of what the greatest human beings achieved; a sense of what other people in other ages knew to be important and possible; a liberation from the tyranny of the majority view; a release from the monotony of the quotidian. I want every child, every “disadvantaged” child in particular, to walk as far as they can down that road to freedom.

Why “every disadvantaged child in particular“, and would this mean that disadvantaged children would be given preference (in an ideal, Woodhead world) to others? It’s impossible to tell from this excerpt alone, but leaving that aside, this concept of freedom seems rather threadbare: there is no suggestion, for instance, of the freedom to create new, exciting realities, only a typically conservative reliance on the past – “what the greatest human beings achieved… what people in other ages knew…” Nor is there any awareness of any form of tyranny other than “the majority view”. What about the tyranny of ruling elites, or of the state?

Woodhead goes on for a couple of pages which could easily have been expressed in a single word: egalitarianism.

I am reading a fascinating biography of Murray Rothbard, which mentions an essay of his on egalitarianism (pdf warning). Rothbard is an exciting thinker to read: highly knowledgeable, and with a flowing, readable style which leavens the erudition with a mordant wit. I am looking forward to reading Rothbard’s essay: I expect to learn much about the history of the egalitarian concept, as well as a barrage of solid arguments against it. Another great thinker whose essays and books are available on the Mises Institute website is Henry Hazlitt. In The Science of Thinking, Hazlitt makes this suggestion for choosing what books to read:

you should endeavor to get, in as short a time as possible, the greatest number of important facts and the main outlines of the best that has been thought. So if you sincerely intend to master any subject, the best way to begin is by the selection of the most comprehensive and authoritative work you can secure. … If you take up the most thorough book first you need merely glance through the smaller books, for the chances are that they will contain little that is new to you, unless they happen to be more recent.

I recommend Hazlitt, and Rothbard. If you want to learn about freedom and egalitarianism, reading Rothbard will be more profitable than reading Woodhead.

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