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Why paper money is collapsing

Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight’s economics editor (and the guy who fronted that Keynes v Hayek radio show we’ve blogged about here), picks Detlev Schlichter’s Paper Money Collapse as one of his five economics books to give people for Christmas.

Mason begins his Guardian piece thus:

Two questions predominate in this year’s slew of books on economics. The first is the most obvious: how do we get out of this mess? It’s a question that has set authors along many roads but they all lead to the same destination: a bigger role for the state and the need for renewed international co-operation.

Which, alas, explains why Detlev Schlichter is so pessimistic about good sense prevailing in financial policy before ruin engulfs us all. The world’s rulers have pushed the world slowly but surely into a huge hole, and all that Mason’s authors (aside from Schlichter) can recommend is digging the hole ever deeper.

A “bigger role for the state” is not the solution to the world’s problems just now. That is the problem, and it has been for many decades.

At least Schlichter’s kind of thinking is getting around, and, as this piece by Mason proves, in some somewhat surprising places. Mason may not fully understand Austrian economics to the point of actually agreeing with it, but he does seem (as I said towards the end of this earlier posting) to respect it. He knows it is saying something important.

Schlichter has been unwavering in his pessimism about the world getting “out of this mess” and he is being proved more right with every week that passes. When total ruin does arrive, we can only hope that he and people with similar opinions to his will then be listened to rather more.

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8 comments to Why paper money is collapsing

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Another book to look for, though people outside Australia might have trouble finding it, is ‘The Sweet Spot’. It tells the real story of how Australia finds itself in that sweet spot- low inflation and low unemployment. The past thirty years are examined, and some of the policies might be applicable to your own countries. Some people think we are just lucky to have a mining boom, but this book shows that we were ready to take advantage of any luck that came our way.

  • Dishman

    “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
    -RWR

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I’ve come up with the best name for the New Euro- the neuro! The coins can be called ‘The Merkel nickle’, or the Mickel, or micky, since Germany will be the power behind the Neuro/newro

  • The problem is not so much the government as the liberal education systems across the Western world. For example most UK politicians (and certainly the majority of the current cabinet) have had the same liberal education – mostly doing PPE’s at Oxford and Cambridge. Their European equivelents attend different institutions and obtain different qualifications, but the programming is all pretty much the same.

    This is why the primary views of politicians across the political spectrum appear identical in most respects, the fundamentals of Big State, ‘Keynsian spending’ (usually without ‘Keynsian surpluses’) and European unity are indoctrinated from almost the first day of University.

    Given this it is unsurprizing that they are all headed like Lemmings (the game, not the animal) to throw themselves off a cliff by following the paper money cycle to its obvious and inevitable conclusion.

    This is why I am transfering the majority of my assets and business (as well as my own arse) to the far east, in the hope of escaping the worst excesses of the inevitable collapse of western paper money.

    I’ll probably still be screwed, but being screwed in a tropical climate might be more enjoyable.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Brian.

    And interesting comments.

  • John K

    The problem is not so much the government as the liberal education systems across the Western world. For example most UK politicians (and certainly the majority of the current cabinet) have had the same liberal education – mostly doing PPE’s at Oxford and Cambridge. Their European equivelents attend different institutions and obtain different qualifications, but the programming is all pretty much the same.

    Don’t blame Cambridge for PPE, only Ofxord teaches that dodgy degree which seems to give only a tenuous grasp of any of its three subjects. However, Cambridge cannot escape its connection to J M Keynes. Sadly, I doubt it wants to.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly Cambridge (like much of the international “liberal” elite) acts in exactly the nasty way it thinks “capitialists” (businessmen) act.

    For example some champagne socialist (who inherited a lot of supermarkets and bought himself a position in Mr Blair’s government) decides he want to become Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (it will be a new thing to impress people with at dinner parties).

    So the man drops Cambridge a few million and the push out the existing Chancellor (on grounds of “ill health” although the position is not an executive role – and Prince Philip, who had been the Chancellor, then goes on a official visit to Australia).

    Then there is a the “election” and all is done.

    Think about it.

    Bribes, lies and rigging.

    The Cambridge elite are NOT monsters (they really are not) – they just think that is how people in the commercial world behave.

    And some of them DO behave like this (George Soros, Warren Buffett – and so on), of course other people (Jon Huntsman senior, the Koch brothers – and so on) do NOT behave like this – but the “liberal” elite, do not know these people very well (if at all).

    So when dealing with “commercial” matters the Cambrige elite act in a vile way – because they think everyone does (look back into the records of the various elite clubs at Cambridge and so on – the contempt for people in “trade” is obvious, they are considered vile people because of their “vile” occupations).

    With this cultural attitude (described, for example, by Hunter Lewis in his book “Where Keynes Went Wrong”) would you not want to roll back commercial life as much as possible?

    Oxford looks back to Aristotle (a man of many virtues – but no great friend of businessmen), but Cambridge looks back to Plato – someone with a fantatical hatred of businessmen (because he believed their world to be utterly vile).

    With such a view it is only natural to seek to increase the role of government (and reduce the role of the vile “private sector”) as much as possible.

    And, almost needless to say, Harvard followed Cambridge – and most American universities followed the Harvard way.

    “But Paul – many businessmen and Conservative party politicians have been to Cambridge, and Peterhouse has historically been a very conservative college and……”.

    No doubt many libertarians have been to Cambridge also.

    But such a reply misses my point – my point being about a general cultural and intellectual atmosphere, not about exceptions to it.

  • dee garmon

    Two cheers for all those who were clapping the demise
    of socialism, rise of New Labour, glory of Anglo-American model and so forth!