From time to time, I can't help bumping into posts from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. It has a blog here.
It also has this post, which presents a capsule overview of the "Austrian school" of economics and how it believes a free market should work versus the manic and depressive cycles we periodically experience: Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure
Ayn Rand and her ilk were supporters of the Austrian school.
I was never convinced.
I'm still not convinced.
Earlier today I posted excerpts from Jack London's The People of the Abyss.
I keep seeing that nightmarish vision of a poverty-filled and coldly uncharitable society as the natural consequence of Austrian economics.
What else can I be expected to conclude when in this post -- "Neanderthal" Economics -- I see this:
In one of his most important books, America's Great Depression, Murray lists six ways government could delay market adjustment, which he says would create the "favorite 'anti-depression' arsenal of government policy." These include the following:
1. Prevent or delay liquidation
2. Inflate further
3. Keep wage rates up
4. Keep prices up
5. Stimulate consumption and discourage saving
6. Subsidize unemployment
Emphasis added by me.
The People of the Abyss is a document clearly showing the effects of not "subsidizing" unemployment. (And notice the Nazi-like sneer implied by the use of that term, subsidy, instead of the neutral insurance!) The People of the Abyss is a testament to people being reduced to being beggars and even to committing suicide because there is no safety net.
There is something inhumanly callous about any system of economics that ignores what Jack London terms "the thing happening."
Ayn Rand's acolytes imagined a broad sweeping vision of a world drenched in liberty due to economic freedom. I think that's a delusional view of life. Not everyone is motivated by money. There is no syllogism in life where money = X behavior. People are not like computers, with output equaling input.
Alan Greenspan -- a member of Ayn Rand's core "Collective," who read Atlas Shrugged as it was being written! -- discovered that aspect of human reality -- too late:
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Mr. Greenspan said.
Who other than bankers and financiers should have been motivated by money and to its preservation? That's their line of work, for god's sake!
And yet the Austrians would have us fed to them -- as trustworthy defenders of capital and its preservation?
Don't tell me about gold-backed currency. Or gold itself. Is gold limitless? Unlike oil, there isn't an abiotic hypothesis that would explain an expanding supply of it. That means growth is limited to the amount of available gold. That's a worse prospect than the Peak Oil hypothesis!
How many Jews in Nazi Germany tried to buy their freedom? Shouldn't that money have granted them that? Very often, all it got them was murdered and their wealth stolen.
So much for the overriding motivation of Dollar Uber Alles!
Of course, the Austrians, being good little bean counters and true-believing ideology-huggers, would probably argue that their system depends on a rational world.
Tell me: On what fucking planet does that exist? It's not this one!
So, no. I couldn't swallow von Mises and Company back in the early 1980s -- and today I can't tolerate its nonsense at all.