Irish Liberty Forum

Archive for October 2008

Keynesian Economics in One Lesson

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Expect inflation to head skywards in the UK.

Do you want to know how I know? It’s no secret. In fact, the decision to inflate was made by Alistair Darling when he revealed the Labour government’s plans to spend its way out of the current recession.

Under Keynes’ own framework, the economy is not self-correcting and can languish for years in what is termed “underemployment equilibrium”. The economy can be “in equilibrium” with high levels of unemployment. As such, a government stimulus of sorts is needed to jump-start the economy – much like a doctor defibrulating a patient.

I won’t bother dismissing these Keynesian assertions here (I’ll leave that to the pros). I will focus on the fact that even within the Keynesian framework, Darling’s move will be inflationary.

What Darling hopes to do is stimulate spending, which will increase aggeregate demand. This is illustrated by the rightward shift of the AD curve (below). The new equilibrium will occur at a higher output (GDP) and at a higher price level (P).

So when Mr. Darling revealed his massive spending spree he announced that Britons will not only be paying off UK government borrowing, but also paying an inflation tax in the near future.

So the lesson is… when prices in Britain begin to creep upwards, it’s because of government policy, not because of anything OPEC does in the next few days.


Written by 20000miles

October 24, 2008 at 1:01 am

You Can Call Me Friday

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Taking a break from economics:

Italy’s top court of appeals has barred a couple from naming their son “Friday,” castigating them for the “ridiculous” name and forcing them to call the boy Gregorio instead.

The court agreed with two previous ruling from courts in Genoa which found that the name — Venerdi in Italian — was too reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe’s servant named Friday.

The judges found that Robinson’s sidekick in the Daniel Defoe novel was associated with “subjection and inferiority.”

The child’s parents, who have battled in court for two years for the right to name their son what they want, insisted they chose Venerdi because “it was nice and sounded good” and not because of the novel.

I’ve known Irish people with much, much stranger names than “Friday”, which doesn’t seem like such a bad name to me at all. I wonder if this court battle has improved the young man’s prospects in life?

Written by Graham

October 23, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Posted in children, Ireland, justice, law

Keynesianism Triumphant in the UK

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“Much of what Keynes wrote still make sense,” Mr Darling told The Sunday Telegraph. “You will see us switching our spending priorities to areas that make a difference – housing and energy are classic cases where people are feeling squeezed.”

Mr Darling said it would be “wrong” to start taking money out of the economy by cutting spending or raising taxes… The stimulus package will give departments immediate access to future years’ budgets. This is to be funded in the short term by borrowing.

Written by Graham

October 21, 2008 at 12:24 am

Posted in economics, UK

A New World Order? (No, really)

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It looks as if we are on the verge of some major political developments:

World leaders are being invited to gather together before the end of the year to begin designing a new structure for the global economy.

US President George W Bush held talks… with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

The aim of the summit would be to ensure there could be no repeat of the current international financial crisis.

Written by Graham

October 19, 2008 at 9:19 am

Posted in news, politics, socialism, World

A Definition of True Socialism

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Rothbard recalls:

One time I asked Professor von Mises, the great expert on the economics of socialism, at what point on this spectrum of statism would he designate a country as “socialist” or not. At that time, I wasn’t sure that any definite criterion existed to make that sort of clear-cut judgment.

And so I was pleasantly surprised at the clarity and decisiveness of Mises’s answer. “A stock market,” he answered promptly. “A stock market is crucial to the existence of capitalism and private property. For it means that there is a functioning market in the exchange of private titles to the means of production. There can be no genuine private ownership of capital without a stock market: there can be no true socialism if such a market is allowed to exist.”

Something to bear in mind as the British government looks set to suspend trading in soon-to-be-nationalised financial institutions.

Written by Graham

October 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Jim Rogers: They’re Unleashing an Inflationary Holocaust

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Adventure capitalist Jim Rogers on CNBC discussing governmental response to the current financial meltdown.

My favorite quote: 

I think they [the G7] need to go down to the bar and have a beer and leave the rest of us alone.

Written by 20000miles

October 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Posted in economics, finance, news, USA

Who Benefits from Bank Bailouts?

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Well, according to this Daily Telegraph article it is not only banks, but both savers and borrowers too who benefit from the £500 billion government bailout like the one we have seen today in Britain. While it is true that the bank CEOs whose companies went bust, the depositors of those banks and current borrowers who are in debt in the banking system as a whole benefit it is certainly false to say that all banks, borrowers and savers benefit from a bailout.

What the telegraph has missed is the crucial point that Ludwig Von Mises made in ‘Human Action’ (1949) about the printing of money that the Austrian School has been repeating ad nauseum for over a century. This can be summarised as follows:

Inflation is defined as an increase in the money supply.
1. When money is printed the relative purchasing power of any unit of money already existing in the rest of the economy is decreased.
2. It is the person who receives the money first who benefits most from pre-inflationary prices and the person who receives the money last who suffers most from post-inflationary higher prices from a decrease in the purchasing power of their money.

As Peter Schiff likes to point out, Governments have no money, all they have is a printing press and the only effect they can have on an economy is a re-arrangement of who pays the debts for mal-investments.

In this case, it is clear that while the depositors of banks like Northern Rock have benefited from the fact that their deposits in the insolvent bank were not lost but guaranteed by government, all savers in other banks which had not collapsed saw an immediate decrease in the relative purchasing power of their savings. In this sense, it is precisely the savers who invested their savings in better run banks who lose out the most for they can now buy less because of this government intervention.

Furthermore, there is also the unintended and unseen consequence that this will encourage other banks to act more recklessly to maximise gain with the knowledge that if they take big enough risks and fail they will be bailed out. This is said to be why Merrill and Bank of America merged because having seen AIG get bailed out and Lehman fail they realised that the bigger you are, the more likely you will be bailed out. In other words, they wanted to be ‘too big to fail’.

Borrowers who indebted themselves before the bailout will benefit for they will now have to repay less in real terms because the value of the amount they borrowed off the bank will have decreased in the ensuing inflation from the bailout. But the borrowers who arrive after the bailout will be investing in a world where the pricing system has become utterly confused. The new money entered into the system by government will increase ten fold under the legalised fractional reserve banking system (FRB) as the banks get ‘loaned up’ which will cause another wave of mal-investments in the ensuing boom leading to the need for another bailout at a later stage. For these new borrowers it will be difficult to distinguish what is a good investment as the real value of goods will become difficult to discern from the inflation and the FRB system.

In the past, bank runs were necessary to remove poorly run and insolvent banks from the system to make way for the growth and expansion of prudent and well-run banks. Bailouts do not reward good business practice, they reward the politically connected at the expense of everyone. There is no incentive for banks to be responsible when risk is socialised amongst the population at large.

In short, only the politically connected and the indebted from before the bailout benefit from bailouts from their unique first access to the fiat produce of the Government printing press.

Written by NaomhAdamnan

October 9, 2008 at 7:23 am