As in BBC Radio 4, this coming Monday, January 31st, 8.30 pm:
That’s from the current Radio Times. As you can tell from the pink, I will be paying close attention. My thanks to fellow Samizdatista Chris Cooper for alerting me to this radio programme.
But will it be an attempt at a hatchet job? It seems not:
This week, Jamie Whyte looks at the free market Austrian School of F A Hayek. The global recession has revived interest in this area of economics which many experts and politicians had believed dead and gone. “Austrian” economists focus not on the bust but on the boom that came before it. At the heart of their argument is that low interest rates sent out the wrong signals to investors, causing them to borrow to spend on “malinvestments”, such as overpriced housing. The solution is not for government to fill the gap which private money has now left. Markets work better, Austrians believe, if left alone. Analysis asks how these libertarian economists interpret the state we’re in and why they’re back in fashion. Is it time to reassess one of the defining periods of economic history? Consensus would have it that the Great Depression of the 1930s was brought to an end by Franklin D Roosevelt’s Keynesian policies. But is that right? Jamie Whyte asks whether we’d all have got better quicker with a strong dose of Austrian medicine and whether the same applies now?
I think I first encountered Jamie Whyte at a Cobden Centre dinner.
I was disappointed with the recent Robert Peston TV show about the banking crisis, despite appearances on it by Toby Baxendale, the founder of and Chairman of the Cobden Centre. All the fault of the banks was the basic message, with governments looking on helplessly. No mention (that I can now recall) of those same governments monopolising the supply of money and relentlessly determining the price of borrowing it, all day and every day, all the time.
But, my understanding of Baxendale and of the Cobden Centre is that he (it) is playing a long game, giving broadcasters whatever they ask for (in Peston’s case Baxendale messing about with fish), while all the time asking them to give the Cobden Centre’s ideas at least something resembling a decent hearing. Don’t compromise on the ideas, but be endlessly mellow and accommodating at the personal level, intellectual steel in velvet glove, and so on and so forth. If that’s right, then it may be starting to work.