Austrian economics: please explain?

Austrian economics or Austrian School economics has been cited in a number of online LibertyWorks articles to date, not including this one. However, none of us has really expounded on what Austrian economics is. As Pauline Hanson, the ‘boss’ of my former ‘boss’ Malcolm Roberts would say: “Please explain?

This piece is based mainly on a speech I gave in 2017 to an audience of Libertarians from the Liberal Democrats Party (LDP) which relied, in significant part, on a lesser-known book entitled Understanding The Dollar Crisis by Percy Greaves. The speech was entitled Austrian School Libertarianism, and it was aimed at a free-market-friendly audience that may or may not know much (if anything) about Austrian economics.

The various economics schools of thought provide most but not all of the intellectual foundations for political worldviews including that of Libertarianism, Conservatism and Populism on the Right as … Read the rest

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Federalism, Australian style: federal-state financial socialism

There has been a lot of public debate this year in Australia about the federal system of government, in general, and, in particular, the system of payments between the national level of government and the sub-national level. Australia has a federal system of government similar to countries like the USA and Canada. Like the U.S., there is a national government and sub-national governments called the states and territories. Like Canada, these sub-national governments are a relatively small in number and population compared to the U.S. and include territories. Australia has six states and two territories compared to Canada’s ten provinces and three territories remembering of course that the U.S. has fifty states plus sixteen territories. The Australian national government is called the “Commonwealth”.

Three Aussie states are strongly complaining that it is largely unfair and unreasonable that they respectively and collectively do not get nearly enough revenue back from the … Read the rest

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Quantitative easing, Aussie style

Most everybody in Australia who has watched, listened or read the news over the past decade has heard of Quantitative Easing, also known as QE for short. And perhaps some of these same people might recall that QE is associated with the American central bank of The Federal Reserve, or The Fed for short.

But did you know that Australia’s central bank of the Reserve Bank, or RBA, has also been doing QE?

QE is an approach to monetary policy that involves trying to stimulate economic growth when interest rates are already quite low. It does this through increasing the money supply with financial institutions by purchasing government bonds and other securities from them.

This is supposedly new and unconventional. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. That is largely unimportant, in an economic sense.

What is important is that QE is about flooding the economy with more money. Money largely … Read the rest

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Christian liberty: are you serious??

I boldly declared at the start of my speech in October last year at the inaugural LibertyFest that: “Christianity is by-far-and-away the most compatible religious faith or spiritual belief with Liberty.” Note that I include Atheism, Scientism and Statism amongst such beliefs. I will go even further now by testifying that: “Not only has Libertarianism and Austrian School economics helped lead me back to Christianity, but since then Christianity has made me a better Libertarian and Austrian School economist.” This article will draw upon this speech and more.

There is no exact date when I became a Libertarian, but it has been at least a decade possibly two. I say possibly two, as looking back with 20-20 hindsight I was more Libertine than Libertarian in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s (or in other words more Left-Libertarian than Right-Libertarian). There is an exact date for my return to Christianity, … Read the rest

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Regulated public utility monopolies are not ‘natural’

Editor: A version of this article by LibertyWorks’ advisory board member Darren Brady Nelson, was published by Master Resource, July 2 2015. It has been updated to be applicable to an Australian audience as well as with more recent data on the US public utility prices.

Every Australian business and household is directly and indirectly impacted by the seemingly never-ending rise in public utility prices (including airports, electricity, gas, post, public transport, rail, seaports, telecommunications, and water & sewerage). State and federal regulation of these so called natural monopolies (very worryingly, now including the Internet) in fact virtually “locks in” such an upward trajectory.

Consequently, consumers are paying a pseudo-tax that is hidden from plain sight. This is in great part due to, as pointed out by economist Ludwig von Mises, that:

No alleged “fact finding” and no armchair speculation can discover another price at which demand and

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Why Stan Grant is wrong about Hayek and the ball tampering saga

Recently Stan Grant wrote to tell us that F.A. Hayek — of all people — not only founded the global order we have today, but gave us a set of ideas that lead directly to ball tampering in cricket! It was another one of those cliched “other people consider mere economics but ‘I’ consider higher ideals” articles. The bogeyman of “Neoliberalism” strikes again, we are told.

The message of Grant’s article is that economics is pretty much the science of greed. He complains of the “reduction of all human motivation to the one-dimensional rational self-interest of Homo-economicus”. The concept of homo-economicus was constructed by the early classical economists because homo-real-life didn’t fit their mathematical models. But anybody familiar with economic history would know that Hayek was from the Austrian school, which robustly rejected this approach.

The Austrian method starts with humans as they actually are – purposeful, choosing, acting beings, … Read the rest

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Trump’s tariffs: free, fair or foul trade?

Many Democrats and Republicans were in uproar in early March after the imposition of American import tariffs on steel and aluminium by President Donald Trump. He has long complained, as president, candidate and citizen, that the US has so many bi-lateral “trade deficits” and is “losing on trade”, particularly with the countries like Mexico and China. It is very important to note that these two tariffs are only the latest in a very long line (of literally dozens of rounds) of such taxes from President Washington through to Bush 43 and Barack Obama.[1] Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been at the forefront of the Trump Administration in defending such a policy. He said, in part, that:

Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared.

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CPAC 2018 and the American liberty scene

I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington DC in the good old US of A. I was there on behalf of Mark Latham’s Outsiders. This is my second CPAC in the past few years. It is a “yuge” annual and multi-day event with speakers, media, exhibitors and attendees of all sorts from the right side of politics including conservatives, libertarians, Trumpers, Never-Trumpers and more. Note that the term “conservative” is often used in the States as short-hand to include libertarians and other freedom-friendly folks. The young and not-so-young come from around the USA and world every February to beautiful National Harbor in Maryland for CPAC. This event along with FreedomFest in America should be on every right-minded person’s bucket list, along with the Friedman Conference and LibertyFest in Australia.

There were many highlights from CPAC, but none greater than the hour-plus speech by President Donald Read the rest

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Trump’s infrastructure plan: making infrastructure great again?

The President of the United States (POTUS), Donald Trump, once again publicly talked about his “bold”, “new” and “transformative” infrastructure plan in his recent State of the Union (SOTU) speech:

“[I]t is time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. … Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a Bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. Any Bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one. Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. … And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”[1]

The SOTU statement above is typical Trump. On the one hand, he … Read the rest

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