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Announcing my controversial new book…Vienna and Chicago: Friends or Foes?

CLASH OF THE TITANS

“You’re all a bunch of socialists!” — Ludwig von Mises (Vienna)
“We are friends and foes!” — Milton Friedman (Chicago)
Austrian and Chicago economists have battled Keynesians, Marxists and socialists alike, but they often fight each other as well. What are the differences between the Austrian and Chicago schools, and why do free-market economists disagree so much?

After years of research and interviews in both camps, I have uncovered the strengths and weaknesses of each, and determine who’s right and who’s wrong at the end of each chapter by declaring either “Advantage, Vienna” or “Advantage, Chicago.” The book ends with a chapter on how they could reconcile on major issues.
Chapters from Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes?
1. Introduction: A Tale of Two Schools
2. Old and New Vienna: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Austrian School
3. The Imperialist Chicago School
4. Methodenstreit: Should a Theory be Empirically Tested?
5. Gold vs. Fiat Money: What is the Ideal Monetary Standard?
6. Macroeconomics, the Great Depression, and the Business Cycle
7. Antitrust, Public Choice and Political Economy: What is the Proper Role of Government?
8. Who Are the Great Economists?
9. Faith and Reason in Capitalism
10. The Future of Free-Market Economics: How Far is Vienna from Chicago?
Highlights…..
  • Whose methodology is more controversial–Mises or Friedman?
  • A debate that the Austrians have clearly won.
  • Why Chicago economists have won more Nobel Prizes than the Austrians.
  • Why did Israel Kirzner call George Stigler’s essay on politics “bizarre, disturbing, unfortunate, and an affront to common sense”?
  • Emotional fights at the Mont Pelerin Society, Foundation for Economic Education, and other freedom organizations.
  • Why Friedman and Mises admire Adam Smith, and Murray Rothbard despises him.
  • Why some Austrians call Friedman a “Keynesian” and “a statist” while Friedman calls Mises and Ayn Rand “intolerant” and “extremist.”
  • Major differences between Mises and Hayek…..and between Stigler and Friedman.
  • The “fortress” mentality: Why the Mises Institute doesn’t advertise, or appear on TV.
  • Amazing similarities between Austrians and Marxists, and between Chicagoans and Keynesians.
  • Why Mises refused to use graphs and charts in his books.
  • How Friedman shocked the audience when asked “Who is the better economist, Keynes or Mises?”
  • Why Austrians are usually pessimists and Chicagoans optimists.
  • Powerful contributions by the “new” generation of Austrian and Chicago economists…..
From the Chicago school: “This tale is thorough, thoughtful, even-handed, and highly readable. All economists, of whatever school, will find it both instructive and entertaining.” –Milton Friedman

From the Austrian school: “In his upbeat tale of two schools, Skousen gives us a delightful blend of theory, history, and political science, and shows that there is much common ground and scope for development.” –Roger W. Garrison
From an anonymous reviewer: “A novel approach. Skousen sells neither school short and takes a non-doctrinaire view. He spices up his narrative with materials from personal correspondence and one-on-one discussions. No one other than Skousen could have written this book. Advantage, Skousen!”
How to Order this Book
Vienna and Chicago is a 320-page quality paperback available now from the publisher Capital Press (http://www.regnery.com/), Laissez Faire Books (http://www.lfb.com/), Amazon, or directly from the author (see below). The book normally retails for $24.95, but mskousen.com readers pay only $20.
FOR CREDIT CARD ORDERS, PLEASE CALL EAGLE PUBLISHING AT 1-800-211-7661.
Or mail a check for $20 plus $3 shipping and handling per copy. (For foreign deliveries, pay $20 plus $10 for air mail per copy.) Make checks payable to Skousen Publishing Co., P.O. BOX 229, IRVINGTON, NY 10533.

AUSTRIAN VS. CHICAGO ECONOMISTS: RESPONSE TO THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS

By Mark Skousen
Updated in 2019

 “Blessed paper credit! Last and best supply!
That lends corruption lighter wings to fly.”

–Alexander Pope

AUSTRIAN

Since I wrote “Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes?” in 2005, we’ve suffered another monetary crisis, this one so serious that it undermined the very foundation of our monetary and economic system and is known as the “Great Recession.”

How do the Austrian and Chicago economists differ when it comes to answer these questions:  What caused the financial crisis of 2007-09? What is the best way out of the crisis and Great Recession? Let’s first start with the Chicago school, and Milton Friedman’s famous article, “Why the American Economy is Depression-Proof.”

Is the US Economy Depression-Proof?

 In late 2009, I was in Stockholm, Sweden, for the Mont Pelerin Society meetings, where 300 top experts gathered from around the world. At this meeting, I organized a special ad hoc session reassessing Milton Friedman’s famous lecture “Why the American Economy is Depression-Proof.”[1]  Friedman gave this optimistic lecture in Sweden in 1954, at a time when some prominent economists and financial advisors were predicting another crash on Wall Street and a collapse in the economy. A little over 50 years later, in the face of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, everyone at the meeting wanted to know if Friedman, one of the founders of the international society, would change his mind. Nobody knows for sure, since Friedman died in late 2006, before the crisis started. I do know that until his death, he always defended his bold prediction. From 1954 until his death in 2006, the United States suffered numerous contractions in the economy, an S&L crisis, a major terrorist attack, and even a few stock market crashes, and still it avoided the “big one,” a massive 1930s’s style Depression characterized by an unemployment rate of 15% or more (Friedman’s definition of a depression).

In his lecture, Friedman pointed to four major institutional changes to keep another Great Depression was happening:  federal bank deposit insurance; abandonment of the international gold standard; the growth in the size of government, including welfare payments, unemployment insurance, and other “built-in” stabilizers; and most importantly, the Federal Reserve’s determination to avoid a monetary collapse at all costs. Because the public and officials are petrified by the possibility of another depression, Friedman predicted that any signs of trouble would lead the Federal Reserve to take “drastic action” and shift “rapidly and completely to an easy money policy.” Consequently, according to Friedman, rising inflation would be far more of a threat to post-war America than another Great Depression.

So far so good. But now, following the financial crisis of 2008, I suspect Friedman would be forced to revise his views if he were alive. Admittedly, Friedman is still technically correct. There was no Great Depression in 2008-09, that is, according to government statistics. The official unemployment rate rose to 10% in 2009, far below the 15% rate necessary to qualify as a “depression.”

However, it’s important to note that the official unemployment rate does not include discouraged workers who have stopped looking, and those numbers apparently are in the millions. According to economist John Williams, editor of Shadow Statistics, if you count discouraged workers, the real unemployment rate exceeds 20%. See the chart below.

AUSTRIANSource:  www.shadowstats.com

The Fed and the Federal government appear to have averted disaster once again, at least in the short term. Yet they were able to do so only by putting millions on unemployment insurance and welfare (over 47 millions on food stamps and Medicaid), taking on unprecedented powers, and adding trillions of dollars in debt that so weaken the government and the public’s trust in its financial capacity to avoid future economic difficulties, and could lead to runaway inflation or a deflationary collapse.

Clearly, bank failures are not a thing of the past, and there have been runs on commercial banks and other financial institutions (money market funds), although Friedman is right that most banks are now either taken over by the FDIC or the Treasury, or forced to merger with a bigger, safer bank. Still, major institutions like Bank of America and Citibank would not have survived had it not been for government bailouts.

Friedman also stated in his lecture, “There has been no major depression that has not been associated with and accompanied by a monetary collapse….Monetary contraction or collapse is an essential conditioning factor for the occurrence of a major depression.”

Yet a monetary expansion is no guarantee that a crisis can be avoided. In fact, the U. S. came awfully close to an economic collapse in late 2008 without any monetary contraction. During 2008, the money supply (M2) grew every month and 9% for the year. Clearly, monetary contraction isn’t the only source of instability in the economy. Economic disaster can also be precipitated by easy money, irresponsible banking practices, or perverse tax and regulatory policies. One of the weaknesses of the Friedman Chicago school approach is their belief that inflationary asset bubbles only have micro effects on the economy and can be defused without having a debilitating macroeconomic impact. The real-estate crisis of 2007-09 demonstrated otherwise, and that’s why most Chicago economists failed to predict

The Great Contraction, Updated

Interestingly, Friedman’s famous chapter, “The Great Contraction, 1929-1933,” taken from his magnum opus, A Monetary History of the United States, 1869-1960 (Princeton University Press, 1963), was reprinted in 2007, with a new introduction by his co-author, Anna J. Schwartz. The short book had long been out of print, and was brought back just before the real estate crisis started and after Milton Friedman died. It was perfect timing as we were about to witness the worst economic debacle since the Great Depression. Yet Professor Schwartz was oblivious to any evidence of a collapse. She wrote, “As the federal funds rate moves in a low and narrow range in response to low and stable inflation, volatility of the business cycle and real economy has moderated.”[2]

 

The Austrians Response

The Austrian economists, on the other hand, knew full well that the Fed’s artificial low interest rate policy and the government’s meddling with banks and mortgage companies to encourage excessive home ownership was about to blow up in their faces. Austrian financial economists, such as Peter Schiff, Bert Dohmen, and Fred Foldvary, anticipated the crisis, and said so in 2007 at FreedomFest. That is why I concluded “Advantage, Vienna” in the debate between the Austrian and Chicago schools on the business cycle (see chapter 6 of “Vienna and Chicago”).

Based on the Mises-Hayek theory of the business cycle, the Austrian economists proposed their fundamental thesis that monetary inflation is never neutral, and that asset bubbles cause unsustainable structural imbalances on a macro level. Inflation has negative unintended consequences. The Austrians knew that eventually a collapse was inevitable. As Ludwig von Mises once said, “We have outlived the short-run and are suffering from the long-run consequences of [inflationary] policies.”

At the end of our special session, I asked members of the Mont Pelerin Society how many of them still agreed with Friedman, that the American economy is “depression proof.” Only a handful raised their hands, and they were all American economists. The rest of the crowd, mostly from abroad, pointed out that most other countries did not suffer a banking crisis. The financial crisis was largely Anglo-American-induced. They agreed that until the United States adopts a stable monetary and banking system, it can no longer be considered depression-proof.

 

Government Response to the Crisis

What should the government do in response to the crisis, if anything? The United States and many other countries followed the standard Keynesian prescription — the government ran massive deficits and the central banks cut interest rates. In short, they engaged in easy money at all levels:  injecting liquidity and adopting activist fiscal and monetary policy.

The 2007 reprint of “The Great Contraction” published Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s remarks at a 2002 conference in Chicago honoring Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday. At the end, he said, “I would like to say to Milton and Anna:  Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”[3]  Bernanke said he had learned the Friedman lesson well. The Fed would not allow the banking system to collapse and cause another Great Depression. Indeed, he lived up to his word during the 2008 financial crisis in injecting massive amounts of liquidity (fiat money).

Unfortunately, Bernanke failed to recognize the other lesson found in Friedman’s scholarly works:  activist fiscal policy doesn’t work and is unnecessary. In Friedman’s testing of Keynesian policy prescription, he found that the deficit spending multiplier was extremely low, not 4 or 5 as taught in the textbooks, but 0 to 1, in its impact on the economy. Recently Robert Barro (Harvard) concluded it was close to 0, no positive impact at all. The increase in government spending was largely offset by private spending declining (crowding out).

Friedman and the Chicago economists argued that the money multiplier resulting from the Fed buying government bonds and injecting liquidity into the banking system was much higher, as much as 3 or 4. Accordingly, Friedman advocated that the Fed should be the primary source of new stimulus to get the economy going again, and fiscal policy should remain stable.

In short, it was unnecessary and maybe even downright harmful for Ben Bernanke to have called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in September 2008, and encourage the Congress to get involved. According to this view, the trillion dollar deficits and TARP monies were completely unnecessary. Monetary policy could do all the heavy lifting. After TARP became law, I asked Glenn Hubbard, former president of the Council for Economic Policy under Bush and the dean of Columbia Business School, if the Fed had all the emergency powers necessary to buy any asset — Treasuries, mortgages, even stocks — to avert a meltdown, and he said emphatically, “Yes.” It was not necessary to get Congress involved.

 

Did the Fed Cause the Real Estate Bubble?

After the financial crisis, Ben Bernanke refused to take responsibility for the collapse—or the real estate bubble. He noted that the real estate boom was a worldwide phenomenon, ignoring the fact that the dollar is a world currency. But what about the Federal Reserve’s responsibility to be the chief banking regulator? I was in attendance in January 2007, when Bernanke presented a luncheon paper on “Bank Regulation,” in which he used the words “crisis” and “panic” 34 times. Surely Bernanke knew about the irresponsible “subprime” and “no doc” loans commercial and mortgage bankers were involved in. Shouldn’t Bernanke have had the “courage to act” (to use the title of his memoirs) to stop this nonsense when he became Fed chairman; and shouldn’t he have resigned in disgrace for allowing it to happen?

 

The Austrian Response: “Do Nothing”? 

The most extreme response to the financial crisis is the recommendation by some Austrian economists to “do nothing,” that is, for the government to let the malinvestments collapse on their own weight. Libertarian economist Jeffrey Miron, who teaches at Harvard, wrote an article entitled “The Case for Doing Nothing,” for Reason magazine in 2009. According to these economists, government should not increase spending (the Keynesian prescription) nor should the Fed engage in easy money and inject liquidity (the Monetarist solution)—both policies might make matters worse. If anything, the government should retrench like everyone else. This was known as the classical economic policy. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Austrian economist with the Mises Institute, wrote about the 1920-21 period in American history as an example:

“The conventional wisdom holds that in the absence of government countercyclical policy, whether fiscal or monetary (or both), we cannot expect economic recovery — at least, not without an intolerably long delay. Yet the very opposite policies were followed during the depression of 1920–1921, and recovery was in fact not long in coming. The economic situation in 1920 was grim. By that year unemployment had jumped from 4 percent to nearly 12 percent, and GNP declined 17 percent. No wonder, then, that Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover — falsely characterized as a supporter of laissez-faire economics — urged President Harding to consider an array of interventions to turn the economy around. Hoover was ignored. Instead of “fiscal stimulus,” Harding cut the government’s budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922. The rest of Harding’s approach was equally laissez-faire. Tax rates were slashed for all income groups. The national debt was reduced by one-third. The Federal Reserve’s activity, moreover, was hardly noticeable. As one economic historian puts it, ‘Despite the severity of the contraction, the Fed did not move to use its powers to turn the money supply around and fight the contraction.’ By the late summer of 1921, signs of recovery were already visible. The following year, unemployment was back down to 6.7 percent and it was only 2.4 percent by 1923.”[4]

It takes a great deal of faith in capitalism to adopt this laissez faire policy in today’s world.

 

How to Order “Vienna and Chicago”

I refer to my book, “Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes?” as the Clash of the Titans. You can read more about it at http://mskousen.com/?s=vienna+and+chicago

It’s been endorsed by both sides – by Milton Friedman (Chicago school) and Roger Garrison (Austrian school). Supply side economist Art Laffer wrote me, “I don’t know whether I should love you or hate book. Your book was so good I spent half a day plus avoiding what I supposed to do in order to read it. It’s great!”

To order, go to www.skousenbooks.com. The price is US$20, and I pay the postage if mailed inside the US. (Add $30 for airmail shipment outside the US.) Or call Harold at Ensign Publishing, 1-866-254-2057.


[1] Milton Friedman, “Why the American Economy is Depression-Proof,” lecture delivered in Stockholm in April, 1954, and reprinted in Dollars and Deficits (Prentice-Hall, 1658), pp. 72-96. Friedman’s controversial lecture is still not available online, although my response, “Why the U. S. Economy is Not Depression-Proof” is:  http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE3_1_5.pdf

[2] Anna Jacobson Schwartz, “New Preface,” The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (Princeton University Press, 2007), p. xi.

[3] Ben S. Bernanke, “Remarks,” The Great Depression, 1929-1933, p. 247.

[4] Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “The Forgotten Depression of 1920” (Mises Institute, November 27, 2009):  http://mises.org/daily/3788

The Centrality of the Invisible Hand

THE CENTRALITY OF THE INVISIBLE HAND
By Mark Skousen
Lecture, Center for Constructive Alternatives
Hillsdale College, January 31, 2012

“Adam Smith had one overwhelmingly important triumph: he put into the center of economics the systematic analysis of the behavior of individuals pursuing their self-interest under conditions of competition.”– George Stigler[1]

A major debate has flared up recently about Adam Smith. Was he the father of free-market economics and libertarian thought, or some kind of radical egalitarian and social democrat?

Adam Smith as a Free-Market Hero

The traditional view, held by Milton Friedman, is that the Scottish philosopher was “a radical and a revolutionary in his time–just as those of us who preach laissez faire are in our time.”[2] He lauded Smith’s metaphor of the “invisible hand,” the famous Smithian idea that “by pursuing his own self interest, [every individual] frequently promotes that of the society.”[3] According to Friedman, “Adam Smith’s flash of genius was his recognition that the prices that emerged from voluntary transactions between buyers and seller — for short, in a free market — could coordinate the activity of millions of people, each seeking his own interest, in such a way as to make everyone better off.”[4] Other defenders of free-enterprise capitalism describe the invisible hand as “gentle,” “wise,” “far reaching,” and one that “improves the lives of others.”[5]

[Read more…]

Major Interview with Mark Skousen on His Life and Works in Economics, Finance and the Freedom Movement

BETWEEN CHICAGO AND VIENNA: INTERVIEW WITH MARK SKOUSEN

Mark Skousen is an American economist, investment analyst, newsletter editor, college professor and author of more than 25 non-fiction books.

AR: Professor Skousen… Thank you for this opportunity to let us know a little more about yourself. Please, explain the context in which you grew up in Portland, Oregon.

Yes, I grew up in Portland, a great intellectual environment (Reed College, a hotbed of radical thinking, was nearby). It forced me to always be informed and ready to defend my beliefs in economics, politics and religion. My two older brothers, Royal and Joel, as well as my high school friends, constantly challenged me to debate and learn new things.

AR: I have read that your father was an FBI agent. Is this a key to understand why you have been interested in economics and politics since such a young age?

Primarily politics. Like my better-known uncle, W. Cleon Skousen, my father was an FBI agent and a lawyer involved in the anti-Communist movement and gave speeches through the Northwest on politics and the communist threat. We subscribed to publications such as “National Review” and “The Freeman” and attended events and anti-communist rallies.

AR: Was your father a libertarian? Did he introduce you to the Austrian tradition of ideas?

No, he was a strict social conservative, and most of his books in his library were written by William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Goldwater, Fred Schwartz, Phyllis Schlafly, J. Edgar Hoover, and the like. He did have a copy of Ludwig von Mises’s “Human Action” on his shelf, so I was familiar with his name, although Austrian economics did not really capture my imagination until I read Murray Rothbard’s “America’s Great Depression,” “Man, Economy and State,” and “What Has the Government Done to Our Money?”

Economics did not become a topic of focus until I took a class in the subject in my senior year in high school. It was taught so badly that I knew I could do better and suddenly I could think of little else. My interests have always been eclectic, and economics interested me intensely because it covers my other interests in mathematics, history, finance, politics and writing. My interest was so intense that I got a B. A., M. S., and Ph.D., all in economics.

AR: Some authors do not like to be called “Austrian”, “Monetarist”, “Keynesian” or “Marxist”. Are we right if we say that you are an Austrian Economist?

I used to be of the opinion that we should all be simply “good economists” as Milton Friedman and Lionel Robbins preached, and not compartmentalize ourselves into various schools. If economics is an objective science, we shouldn’t divide ourselves in various camps, or even “left“ or “right,” terms that create more heat than light. We should all be searching for the truth, no matter what the source. Nevertheless, over time I’ve come to appreciate the biases and advantages of each school. Monetarists focus on the importance of money and the competitive marketplace; Keynesians on consumption, government spending, and institutions; Marxists on labor and management relations; and Austrians on capital and the structure of production. One can learn a great deal by studying the focal points of various schools that otherwise would be missed. But of all the schools, I’ve always found Austrian school to be the most rewarding.

AR: You have been working in the Austrian tradition for a long time, writing books and articles, teaching and giving conferences everywhere. You have even organized FreedomFest. Why? What have you found in this tradition that was absent in other schools of thought?

My first introduction to economics in college was through the popular Keynesian textbook written by Paul Samuelson, and his defense of deficit spending, the welfare state, and his anti-saving mentality (“paradox of thrift”) was a turnoff, contradicting everything I had been taught as a social conservative Mormon, and so I was immediately looking for alternative models.

I was first attracted to writings of Milton Friedman, having been introduced to the Chicago school by Professor Larry Wimmer at Brigham Young University (my alma mater) in the 1960s. Wimmer got his Ph. D. under Friedman. I was especially interested in “Capitalism and Freedom.” While I found Friedman’s writings refreshing and convincing, he could not answer all my questions and doubts about Keynesian macroeconomics and the business cycle.

It was then that I discovered Murray Rothbard in the early 1970s, and was smitten by “America’s Great Depression” and his magnum opus, “Man, Economy and State.” I even read the latter on my honeymoon in 1973 (though I didn’t get far). Here were  all the answers about economic theory and policy. I was also quite taken with his booklet, “What Has the Government Done to Our Money?” It finally revealed the mystery of money. To this day, I consider Rothbard’s booklet as powerful a polemic as Marx’s and Engel’s “Communist Manifesto.”

The Austrians definitely have the upper hand when it comes to discussions of money and banking, the business cycle, the structure of production, and how the economy works. I found their macroeconomics far more sophisticated and satisfying than the standard Keynesian and Monetarist models.

However, I should add that since the Seventies, I have regained a great deal of respect for the Chicago tradition, especially their approach of looking at the data and testing various theories in micro and macro economics. Today I consider myself having one foot in the Austrian school and one foot in the Chicago school. But if I lean toward any one school, it is Austrian.

AR: You have received your Ph.D. in Economics and Monetary History from the George Washington University. How was that experience? What have you learned from mainstream economics?

It was a traditional mainstream Ph.D. program, although it did not emphasize advanced mathematics as much as other schools at the time. The professors focused more on theory, history and statistics than mathematical modeling, which I found attractive. I learned a great deal from John W. Kendrick, Arthur E. Burns, and Robert Grossfarb, among others.

They gave me plenty of leeway, and in fact, they let me chose as my dissertation “The Economics of a Pure Gold Standard,” which was heavily Rothbardian — and it sailed through with few changes. I believe I’m the only economist to write a “no compromise” Ph.D. dissertation on the 100% gold standard. At the end of my dissertation committee oral, I was asked, “You don’t really believe in a pure gold standard, do you?” Not surprisingly, Rothbard always loved my dissertation, which has been published and gone through four editions so far (published currently by the Foundation for Economic Education).

AR: And what was your contribution in that dissertation?

It was a history of economic thought about the pure gold standard, as well as a discussion of a silver standard, and its role in society. I tried to show there were strong economic arguments for gold, that monetary gold increased at a rate similar to the monetary rule and that a commodity-based system was not a burden. I was surprised to read that even Mises and Hayek rejected the economic arguments for gold, and only favored gold for political reasons. I also did a comparative study between the gold standard, a monetary rule, free banking, and the current model of central banking under fiat money, pointing out the pros and cons of each.

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that the search for a monetary nirvana, an ideal or perfect monetary system, remains elusive. Each monetary program has its pluses and minuses. Economists have solved so many problems, but the ideal monetary system has eluded us. On a purely theoretical level, the international gold standard is probably the best of the lot. On a practical level at this point, the best we can hope for is a monetary system that minimizes structural imbalances, and I think it must include gold in some way as a monitoring device and discipline.

AR: You have been connected with most of the great Austrian economists such as Friedrich Hayek or Murray Rothbard. Any experience you would like to share with us?

I knew both of them. I met Hayek two or three times, and was one of the last people to interview him. In 1985, Gary North and I spent three hours with Hayek at his summer home in the Austrian Alps and peppered him with questions about philosophy, history of the early Austrian school in Vienna, and economics. Much of the interview showed up in “Hayek on Hayek,” in the collected works of Hayek (without attribution, strangely enough). Hayek was in delicate health, but loved every minute of the interview.  Afterwards, his wife yelled at us for taking so much of his time. “He won’t be able to do any work for weeks! Get out!” she shouted as she shooed us out the door.

I spent more time with Rothbard in New York, and at conferences sponsored by the Mises Institute, back in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was one of those people who could talk for hours on any subject. It’s like you could never reach the depth of his knowledge.

Around 1980, I commissioned and paid him a handsome sum to write an alternative popular history to Robert Heilbroner’s “Worldly Philosophers.” Heilbroner had an unforgettable title, but his favorite economists were Marx, Keynes and Veblen. We deserved better, so I asked Murray to write the definitive history from an Austrian perspective. He was supposed to write around 12 chapters in 1-2 years, starting with Adam Smith. It turned out to be a much bigger project, a Schumpeterian tome, beginning with the Greeks. I kept encouraging him, but ultimately gave up. The running joke was “Are you to Marx yet?” Adam Smith was supposed to be the subject of chapter 1. Instead it was chapter 16. He finally got to Marx, but then suddenly died of a heart attack in 1995, and the publisher Edward Elgar published two volumes posthumously. Murray planned on writing two more volumes in his exhaustive history, but sadly never got to them.

A few years later, I decided to  write the one-volume Heilbroner alternative myself, calling it “The Making of Modern Economics” (ME Sharpe, 2001).

AR: “The Structure of Production” (New York University Press, 1990) was your first academic book, and sometimes is described as a classic of modern Austrian macroeconomics. What can the reader find in that book?

“Structure of Production” has been viewed an the underground bible of supply-side economics; a revival of Say’s law; a tool for financial analysis; and most importantly, as an Austrian advance over the standard Keynesian and monetarist Weltanschauung.

I firmly believe that during our short sojourn in life, we should concentrate on advancing and improving upon the works of others. Why spend time in an activity that others are already carrying on satisfactorily? I saw a need to improve upon Hayek’s masterful macroeconomic model found in “Prices and Production” (1931). The Austrians needed an up-to-date macro model that countered the Keynesian and Monetary models in vogue today. I thought that Hayek’s triangles were a good starting place, but they were entirely theoretical, which was one reason it didn’t catch on. In my work, “The Structure of Production” (NYU Press, 1990), I attempted to modernize Hayek’s triangles into a universal four-stage model of the economy (resources, production, distribution, and final output) that could be integrated into national income statistics and could be tested empirically.

In addition to the universal four-stage model of the economy, the book introduces a new aggregate statistic, Gross Domestic Expenditures (GDE), which attempts to measure total spending in the economy. I show that GDE can easily be integrated into textbook national income statistics such as GDP. See below for the diagram 4-stage model of the economy, and the relationship between GDE and GDP.

The current macro model is Keynesian in nature and starts with final output (GDP), which creates distortions about the economy, overemphasizing consumption at the expense of saving and investment. My “Austrian” model creates the proper balance between the “make” economy and the “use” economy. Using GDE, I discovered that consumer spending represents only about 30% of the US economy, not 70% as is commonly reported. For more detail, see my recent article: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/consumer-spending/

I’ve incorporated the 4-stage model and GDE in my own textbook, “Economic Logic” (Capital Press, 2000, 2010), and hopefully it will be adopted eventually in all textbooks. But as Max Planck once said, “science progresses funeral by funeral.”

I also seek to advance the Austrian theory of the business cycle with my introduction of Aggregate Demand Vectors (ADV) and Aggregate Supply Vectors (ASV).

It took me nearly 10 years to write the book, and it’s only now getting some recognition. New York University Press recently released a paperback edition, with a new introduction (2007). I see it was recently translated into Polish.

AR: If I am not wrong, Rothbard had read that book. Did he give you any comments? What does he thinks about so many graphs?

Murray read the entire manuscript and offered numerous suggestions. I think he recognized the breakthrough nature of my work as an Austrian advance in macroeconomics. He has some doubts about my use of graphs, but ultimately endorsed the book, and it was carried for many years by the Mises Institute.

I firmly believe that if we don’t encourage graphics and statistical work in Austrian economics, we will never get accepted by the mainstream textbook community. I wrote my textbook “Economic Logic” in order to demonstrate how it could be done without sacrificing theoretical purity. I was amazed that it could be done. And yes, there are lots of graphs and statistics in my textbook.

I remember the story Larry Wimmer told me. In the 1960s he attended a FEE seminar in New York, and when he tried to draw a supply and demand curve on the blackboard, he was severely reprimanded by the hard-core Misesians. I hope we’ve gotten beyond that kind of Misesian Puritanism. (As far as I’m aware, Mises drew only one graph in all his books, one in “Socialism”).

AR: What do you think about Capital Based Macroeconomics developed in “Time and Money” by Roger W. Garrison?

Professor Garrison is a creative genius and his book offers a significant advancement in Austrian macroeconomics. He has lots of graphs! I especially like the way he integrates and contrasts the Austrian triangles with the Keynesian cross. Absolutely brilliant. I’ve used his book in my classes at Columbia University.

AR: Why do you think that most of the mainstream economists do not pay attention to the Austrian Theory of Capital and the Austrian Theory of Business Cycles?

They are still caught up in Keynes’s law (demand-side management) rather than Say’s law (supply-side management). Until the most recent financial crisis (2008), the mainstream macro models were deemed sufficient to explain the business cycle. For Keynesians, it was the deficiency in either aggregate demand (like the Great Depression) or aggregate supply (as in the case of the Stagflation of the 1970s); for the Monetarists, it was monetary disequilibrium (tight money in the Great Depression or easy money in the 1970s). Both the Keynesian and Monetary models downplayed the impact of asset bubbles because when these asset bubbles collapsed, they only had a micro effect on the economy. So for years, the Austrian model of structural imbalances was ignored.

Then along came the real estate bubble and collapse in the most recent financial crisis, and for the first time, economists had to pay attention to the macro effects of an asset bubble (real estate and mortgage securitization) that collapsed and impacted the entire monetary system. So now the profession cannot ignore asset bubbles any longer, and the Austrian theory of the business cycle can no longer be ignored. The Austrian theory is the only macro model that focuses on the structural imbalances created by below-natural interest rates and easy money, so I expect more and more economists will pay attention to it.

AR: Am I wrong if I say that even today most of the Austrian Economists still do not understand the meaning and the complexity of the structure of production?

Austrian macroeconomics is a sophisticated theory that has challenged even the best economists. Most economists desire simple, predictable models, and that’s difficult to achieve in the Austrian model with various stages of production and consumption, the structure of interest rates, and changes in savings rates, monetary policy, and technological development. I discuss a variety of scenarios using the Austrian model in “The Structure of Production” (see chapters 7-9).

I must admit I was shocked and disappointed that an Austrian economist of such stature as Walter Block would question the value of Hayek’s triangles in a recent article. It’s bad enough that Friedman and the Chicago school consider Hayek’s capital theory “obtuse and confusing,” but for Austrian economists to question it is a sad commentary on the state of Austrian economics today. Hopefully, these criticisms won’t undermine the good work that Roger Garrison and others have done to advance Hayek’s macroeconomics.

AR: Your second academic book was “Economics on Trial” (Irwin McGraw Hill, 1991). What was your contribution there? What were the lies, myths and realities?

Here again I tried to do something new, i.e., review the top ten textbooks in economics at the time, including Samuelson’s “Economics,” and categorize their sins of omission and commission. I noted how they were all pretty much Keynesian in their approach, using Aggregate Supply and Demand, perfect competition, etc. They were largely anti-saving, pro-progressive taxation, and pro-government/welfare state in their macroeconomics.

I uncovered some pretty dumb statements by textbook writers, which got some publicity, such as:

“While savings may pave the road to riches for an individual, if the nation as a whole decides to save more, the result may be a recession and poverty for all.” — William Baumol and Alan Blinder (1988)

“It is difficult to conceive of government bankruptcy when government has the power to create new money by running the printing presses!” — Campbell McConnell and Stanley Brue (1990)

“The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.” — Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus (1989)

The latter statement came out right before the Berlin Wall collapsed and was especially embarrassing to the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson.

But my book isn’t entirely about sins of commission. I urged the profession to focus more on savings and economic growth (using the Asian boom as a good example) rather than the business cycle and distribution of wealth and income, and that it should look to the “next economics,” one that focuses on capital and growth — i.e., the Austrian model of Mises, Hayek, and Schumpeter. I also championed the return of Say’s law, with its emphasis on saving, investment, productivity, entrepreneurship and other aspects of the supply side as the keys to economic growth and higher living standards.

I’ve received a number of letters from readers suggesting I update “Economics on Trial.” I do think the profession has made some improvements, especially by focusing on the classical model more than the Keynesian model in the most recent textbooks (Mankiw’s textbook leads the way in this respect), but it still needs to replace the defective AS-AD in macro and the perfect competition model in micro. I’ve replaced both with better Austrian-style models in “Economic Logic,” and I encourage economists of all stripes to look at my new approach in pedagogy.

AR: Some of your books deal with the History of Economic Thought. If you have to make a list of the five most important books that have influence your own thinking on the field, what would they be?

The reason I commissioned Murray Rothbard to write a contra-Heilbroner history was out of frustration with all previous histories of thought. They were all written by either Keynesians, Marxists or socialists. One exceptional work was “The Enterprising Americans,” by John Chamberlain, an economic journalist, but it was far from complete.

In writing my on one-volume history, I benefited significantly from several recent “tell all” biographies on John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, Thorstein Veblen, Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman, among others.

I also like Albert Hirschman’s “The Passions and the Interests” and Mark Blaug’s “Not Only an Economist,” and his two volume work “Great Economists Before Keynes” and “Great Economists After Keynes.” Blaug is the foremost historian of economic thought, and he has recently said some positive things about the Austrians.

Of course, I found Rothbard’s two volume history of economics useful. Another helpful textbook is Ekelund’s and Hebert’s “History of Economic Theory and Method” (1990) — a graduate level text that is comprehensive, fair and balanced.

AR: Let me jump for a moment to your “The Making of Modern Economics” (M. E. Sharpe Publishers, 2001, 2009). Let´s start with your first chapter. Is it correct to conclude that “All started with Adam” Smith? What about Cantillon or Turgot?

Obviously, there were “pre-Adamites,” as I call them. But Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” was the first real “fat” book that attempted to bring together the full body of theory and history of economic life, far more than any theoretical treatises of Cantillon, Turgot, or even Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and the Spanish scholastics. In many ways, Smith’s two-volume tome was the beginning of modern political economy. As George Stigler said, “You can find it all in Adam Smith.” Well, not quite, but it was the start of something big.

AR: By the way, what do you think of Rothbard´s criticism to Adam Smith?

When I first started writing “The Making of Modern Economics” in the late 1990s, I was still quite infatuated with everything Rothbardian, including his surprising critique of Adam Smith. According to Rothbard, Smith was a plagiarist who “originated nothing that was true, and whatever he originated was wrong.” That’s quite an indictment of the Scottish philosopher celebrated by almost all free-market economists, including Rothbard’s teacher Ludwig von Mises. Mises wrote a glowing introduction to “The Wealth of Nations” edition published by Regnery, calling it a “marvelous” and “great” book that brought together “the ideology of freedom, individualism, and prosperity, with admirable logical clarity and in an impeccable literary form.”

Who was right, Rothbard or Mises? There was only one way to find out. I decided to read the entire 1,000-page “Wealth of Nations,” page by page and cover to cover, and come to my own conclusion. Two months later, I put the book down and said to myself: “Murray Rothbard is wrong and Mises is right.” Adam Smith has written a grand defense of the invisible hand and economic liberalism.

My change of heart completely transformed my history. Suddenly, “The Making of Modern Economics” had a plot, an heroic figure, and a bold storyline. Adam Smith and his system of natural liberty became the focal point from which all economists could be judged, either adding to or distracting from his system of natural liberty. After coming under attrack by socialists, Marxists and Keynesians, the invisible-hand model of Adam Smith was often left for dead but revived from time to time and revised and improved upon by the French, Austrian, British, and Chicago schools, and ultimately triumphed with the collapse of the socialist central planning model in the early 1990s (although it is again being tested by the ongoing financial crisis).

Granted, Smith made numerous mistakes in his classic work, such as his crude labor theory of value, his attack on landlords, and his failure to recognize marginal subjective values, but French, British, Austrian and Chicago economists have done a great job improving upon the House that Adam Smith Built without destroying his fundamental system of natural liberty, and his policy prescriptions, which were largely libertarian (the classical model of limited government, free trade, balanced budgets, and sound money).

I noticed that Murray Rothbard largely ignored the strong libertarian language found in “The Wealth of Nations” and overemphasized marginal statements by Smith that were pro-government or anti-market. His attack on Smith reminds me of free-market critics who take the same parenthetical statements in Smith’s writings and make him into some kind
of social democrat. Both are wrong. Mises had the right attitude when it came to Adam Smith. Smith established the “keystone” of the market economy.

By the way, “The Making of Modern Economics” has been my most successful academic book, having been translated into five languages, including most recently a fine Spanish volume published by Union Editorial through the good support of Professor Jesus Huerta de Soto. It also won the Choice Book Award for Outstanding Academic Title in 2009. Choice is the official organ of the academic libraries in the United States. It has been adopted by dozens of history of thought classes around the United States and the world. Roger Garrison uses it at Auburn, and he tells me that the students love it. I do hope your readers will check it out either the English or Spanish edition.

AR: What do you mean saying that “Marx madness plunges economics into a New Dark Age”? Can we see in the future a revival of Socialism?

That’s my famous chapter 6 in “The Making of Modern Economics.” Marxism-Leninism has done so much harm in the world that I wanted my views unmistakably clear about Marxist doctrine and policies. This chapter has been translated into many languages and has converted many Marxists around the world into free-market advocates. The latest edition has a section of “liberation theology” that has been so popular in Latin America.

AR: In “The Big Three in Economics” (M. E. Sharpe, 2007) you talk about Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. Was Keynes the saver of capitalism?

During the 1930s and the Great Depression, Marxism was all the rage on campuses, threatening to undermine democracies around the world. Students, academics and government officials were searching for a more moderate alternative, and rejecting laissez faire, they discovered in Keynes a “middle of the road” alternative in big government and the welfare state. If Keynes hadn’t come along, the West might have fallen into a Marxist state. Now our challenge is to dig out of the pit that Keynes has put us into.

In “The Big Three,” I came up with the idea of the totem pole of economics, ranking economists from top to bottom, rather than the pendulum approach, where economists are linked to the left, middle and right. As Ronald Reagan once said, “There’s no left or right, only up or down.” Of the big three, I rank Adam Smith on top, Keynes below him, and Marx is low man on the totem pole. I commissioned a Florida woodcarver to create the Totem Pole of Economics, which I display in my home.

AR: Are we living today a Return of the Master?

Sadly, yes. Whenever the world faces a financial crisis or downturn in the economy, the political leaders turn to the Keynesian policies of activist deficit spending, easy money, and the welfare state. As a result, we are facing an unprecedented sea of red ink in the fiscal budgets of the West. As Mises said years ago, “We have outlived the short-run and are suffering the long-run consequences of [Keynesian] policies.”

AR: Let´s talk about “Vienna and Chicago: Friends or Foes?” (Capital Press, 2005). What do you think are the four areas where both schools dissent?

You mean dissent from each other? My book looks primarily at their major differences in methodology, monetary policy, the business cycle, and antitrust.

But they also agree on many points. Both the Austrian and Chicago schools see no value in heavy deficit spending to stimulate a typical recovery. Milton Friedman demonstrated years ago (and most recently confirmed by Harvard’s Robert Barro) that the deficit spending multiplier is close to zero. The two schools also oppose any tax increases during a recession.

One area they likely disagree is in monetary policy during a recession: Chicago economists argue that the money multiplier is significantly positive and can generate a faster recovery than doing nothing. The Austrian school is opposed to any effort to reduce interest rates below the natural rate or to artificially pump up the economy through easy money during a downturn. That can only have negative consequences down the road.

AR: The first big question is why do you think that Chicago has an advantage on methodology versus the Austrians? What about the Austrian traditional criticisms?

Chapter 4 of “Vienna and Chicago” deals with the debates over methodenstreit. Like most economists and, I might add, more and more Austrians, I reject the Misesian a priori view that theories can’t be confirmed or tested looking at historical data. One must always be cautious, but I found that one can learn a great about the value of a theory by looking at the evidence, and often studying history can reveal new theories that were previously overlooked. Stagflation is a case point. It was discovered in Austrian business cycle theory only after it appeared historically.

I reject both the “theory only” approach of the hard-core Misesians and the “history only” approach of the hard-core institutionalists. We need both theory and history to find out the truth. I’m glad to see more empirical testing of theories in the Austrian academic journals. It’s the only way Austrian economics is going to get any attention by the profession.

AR: The second big question is why do you think that Chicago has an advantage on sound money versus the Austrians? Why would a central bank system with a monetary rule be better than a free banking system?

It’s a matter of practical policy. I’m willing to give free banking a try, because I have a great deal of faith in free markets, but I doubt if the public or the legislatures are willing to take such risks. Name me a country in the world who is willing to give up central banking and adopt a free-banking regime? Even Hong Kong has a central bank or monetary authority (the Hongkong Bank). A return to the classical gold standard is also unlikely at this stage. Gold is playing a more important role, but only as a reserve asset and monitoring device. I think it’s much more likely that a central bank will adopt a monetarist rule of increasing the money supply (M2) at a steady rate than adopting free banking (no reserve requirements, giving banks the right to print their own money, etc.).

AR: What were those friendly debates you had with Professor Friedman?

Over a twenty year period, up until the time of his death (2006), I engaged in quite a few friendly fights with Milton Friedman, primarily over paper money vs. the gold standard and Austrian theory of capital and the business cycle. I keep in my wallet Milton Friedman’s torn up $20 bill as proof of one such incident in New Orleans in the late 1990s. I also challenged Friedman at a Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Vancouver on his cure (“print more money”) for Japan’s economic ills. I tell these stories and more in an article I wrote on the subject for “Liberty” magazine in late 2007: http://www.mskousen.com/2007/09/my-friendly-fights-with-dr-friedman/

AR: In the annual meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society that took place in Guatemala in 2006 I remember you gave a lecture. At the end I was allow to ask a question, and that was, “Would you accept an end to the Fed?” I thought your answer would be, Yes, but it wasn´t. Can you explain why?

I’d like to see the Fed replaced by either a computer (Friedman’s monetarist rule) or an international gold standard, or a competitive free-banking system, but it’s not likely to happen in our lifetimes. The humorist Will Rogers once said, “There have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: the fire, the wheel, and central banking.” Every developed nation has a central bank, and every developing country is adding one. Public choice economics suggests that having a monetary authority is simply too seductive and powerful to give up. Even Friedman’s simple proposal of replacing the Fed with a computer that automatically increases the money supply equal to real GDP hasn’t been adopted, because the governments want to be able to intervene at times during a crisis and inject liquidity at a faster pace than real GDP. They don’t have the faith that you and I have that capitalism will right itself and overcome these unpredictable crises. They want to maintain the power to manipulate interest rates and the supply of money and credit. They are too power hungry to give it up. They aren’t willing to accept the discipline of an international gold standard. Nor are they willing to try free banking. It’s too risky for them. So we talk all we want about what ideally we’d like to see, but it’s not likely to happen any time soon.

AR: I always remember Joseph Schumpeter starting his “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” (1942, p. 61) with a profound insight: “What counts in any attempt at social prognosis is not the Yes or No that sums up the facts and arguments which lead up to it but those facts and arguments themselves. They contain all that is scientific in the final result.” Are we wrong if we conclude that Chicago´s arguments are not scientific?

The Chicago school has definitely adopted a more pragmatic approach to economics, i.e., what works or what is predictable, as described in Friedman’s famous and controversial article on methodology. I think we need to use more logic and empirical studies to test our theories and knowledge. We can learn from both. For example, for years technical chartists used “guaranteed” formulas for making money in the stock market, but I was always skeptical of their logic. Eventually, they collapsed.

An old Wall Street saying applies to these fights between the Austrian and Chicago schools on theory and history: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.”

AR: What about Robert Lucas, Thomas Sargent, Robert Barro and “Rational Expectations?” Why did you ignore this New Classical Economists in your history of economic thought book?

I don’t think I did ignore them. I cover them in several chapters of my book, although not in any detail. See chapters 13, 15 and 17, inter alis.

AR: In your “EconoPower” (Wiley & Sons, 2008), you explained “How a New Generation of Economists Is Transforming the World”. Can you make a summarize of your arguments for the reader?

My main argument is that economics has moved from the “dismal science” to the “imperial” science, with economists making inroads into finance (modern portfolio theory, defined contributions plans), business (economic value added, auctions), law (capital punishment), politics (public choice and forecasting elections), history (cliometrics), environmentalism, religion, and even sports. It’s a fascinating broadening of the discipline in the past generation. I’m glad to be a part of it.

AR: There are two other academic books that I would like to talk about here. The first one is “Economic Logic” (Capital Press, 2000, 2010), which includes chapters on macroeconomics and government policy. Is this a new treatise on economics? Is this book better than Mises´s “Human Action,” Rothbard´s “Man, Economy and State” or Reisman´s “Capitalism?”

“Economic Logic” is not a treatise, but a modern-day textbook. I don’t think I can improve upon Mises’s or Rothbard’s magnum opuses, although Reisman’s captivating “Capitalism” is flawed in its defense of the Ricardian cost-of-production theory of value.

I wanted to create an Austrian-style “no compromise” textbook that could be integrated into mainstream economics and be adopted by the profession generally. So it is divided into micro and macro chapters, similar to other textbooks, but there are important additions — in micro, I start with the profit-and-loss income statement and Menger’s theory of the good, which business students can relate to and an important “missing link” in microeconomics. But my textbook is not so radical that it ignores standard microeconomics. By chapter six, I introduce supply and demand, cost analysis, the factors of production (land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship), and the financial markets.

My macro chapters start with the Austrian 4-stage model of the economy, integrating GDE with GDP and other national aggregate statistics. In my money and banking chapter, I introduce the history of money and the international gold standard before I discuss monetary policy. I also include the pros and cons of Keynesian economics, so students become familiar with this defective macro model, AS-AD, etc.

“Economic Logic” also has a test bank, and we are working on a student manual, so it has everything a professor would want to teaching sound economics at a college level. It has been adopted by a half dozen institutions, including the business school at Universidad Francisco Marroquin, the free-market university in Guatemala.

AR: The second is “The Power of Economic Thinking” (Foundation for Economic Education, 2002). How has economics invaded and transformed politics, finance, history, law, religion and other social sciences?

This book is an earlier version of “EconoPower,” discussed above, a compilation of columns I wrote for “The Freeman” during the 1990s.

AR: What about your “Investing in One Lesson” (Regnery Publishing, 2007). Is that book as clear as Hazlitt lessons were on economics?

I have always been envious of Henry Hazlitt’s classic title, “Economics in One Lesson,” and wanted to create a similar title in finance if I could come up with the “one lesson.” I finally did in 2007 — the one lesson being “Wall Street exaggerates everything: The business of investing is not the same as investing in a business.” I explain why stocks are inherently more volatile than the underlining businesses they represent, and then in the rest of the book, I offer ways to minimize the risks of stock-market investment while increasing the chances of making money.

One reason Wall Street is not the same as Main Street is based on the Austrian concept of stages of production — the stock market is a capital good further removed from final consumption. I’ve written extensively on Austrian theory of finance in “The Structure of Production,” “Economics on Trial,” “Economic Logic,” and an essay for “The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics,” edited by Peter Boettke.

AR: Can you say a word on Ayn Rand and the fifty years of “Atlas Shrugged?”

I’m both an admirer and critic of Ayn Rand and her philosophy. She articulated better than any other novelist the evils of totalitarianism, interventionism, corporate welfarism, and the socialist mindset. “Atlas Shrugged” describes in wretched detail how collective “we” thinking and middle-of-the-road interventionism leads a nation down a road to serfdom. No one has written more persuasively about property rights, honest money (a gold-backed dollar), and the right of an individual to safeguard his wealth and property from the agents of coercion (“taxation is theft”).

Yet her dogmatic defense of greed and selfishness hurts her cause and has created an apologetic brand of capitalism that is still viewed negatively by the general public. John Mackey, the brilliant CEO of Whole Foods Markets, offers an improved brand of “conscious” capitalism that hopefully will convert business leaders and the general public to a more positive view of free enterprise.

I’ve written an extensive review of “Atlas Shrugged” for the “Christian Science Monitor”:
http://www.mskousen.com/2007/03/atlas-shrugged-50-years-later/

AR: What about Peter Drucker? Is he an Austrian?

Like Joseph Schumpeter, Peter Drucker grew up in Austria along with Mises and Hayek, but is considered an enfant terrible of the Austrian school. He became the world’s most celebrated management guru, and his management style was definitely Austrian, with his emphasis on economy, thrift, creative destruction, and entrepreneurship. He was critical of Keynesian economics, but was not a true believer like Mises. He thought that laissez faire capitalism was defective. But rather than endorse big government, he endorsed big business as the ideal social institution.

AR: You have been the President of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) between 2001 and 2002. How was that experience?

It was a great experience that ended too quickly. My goal was to bring back the glory days of FEE and make it a household name like Cato or Heritage. I planned a series of events, including FEE’s first national convention in Las Vegas, which attracted over 850 attendees, and a promotional campaign to increase ten fold the circulation of “The Freeman.” I also engineered the acquisition of Laissez Faire Books. Lastly, I invited America’s mayor Rudy Giuliani to speak at our annual Liberty Ball and leased the large Hilton Hotel ballroom in New York that holds more than 2000 people.

But my plans were cut short when Rudy Giuliani proved to be a controversial choice, and I wasn’t especially adept at fundraising in my first year. I guess the board wanted someone who didn’t rock the boat and spent more time quietly raising money than creating new programs and expanding old ones. Alas, I lasted only a year as president. I’ve had a successful career in marketing, but I don’t think I was cut out to be a fundraiser, and I don’t envy those who have to do it every day.

Still, it was a thrilling time, and I continue to be a supporter of FEE and other free-market think tanks, and invite them to participate in my annual show, FreedomFest, in Vegas. (FreedomFest is a for-profit event — we don’t fundraise.)

AR: If we take your more than 25 books and all your papers, and ask which is your most important contribution to economics and finance. What would you say?

I can boil down my primary goals to three, all admittedly ambitious:

First, replace Keynes’s macro model with the universal four-stage model of the economy. This my work, “The Structure of Production;” It has application to the financial markets.

Second, write an alternative one-volume history of thought to Robert Heilbroner’s “Worldly Philosophers.” This is my book “The Making of Modern Economics,” which has now gone through two editions.

And third, develop a “no compromise” college-level textbook in economics that rivals Paul Samuelson’s “Economics.” “Economic Logic” seeks to integrate Austrian economics into the mainstream textbooks.

Professor Ken Schoolland has written a paper detailing my attempt to achieve this triathlon, published by the Cobden Centre in the UK: http://www.cobdencentre.org/?s=mark+skousen

Of the three, #2 has been the most successful so far.

AR: Please, tell us the story behind “The Mark Skousen School of Business,” in the Grantham University.

I was surprised as much as anyone when I was told in 2005 that Grantham University, an online university with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, was naming their business school after me. Usually you have to be a billionaire or dead to have a school named after you. They want to create a free-market brand of business, finance and management based on my free-market views, since I’ve had experience in all three fields. I have just completed a personal finance course, “Dollars and Sense,” for all the students (15,000 and growing, mainly in the US military), and will be using my “Economic Logic” textbook as the main book for their business students. I’m working closely with them to develop a new business school program for Grantham, and they have high hopes of expanding aggressively around the world.

AR: We can´t finish this interview without comments on FreedomFest.

Thanks for asking. FreedomFest has been a surprising success, rivaling my success as an investment newsletter writer (“Forecasts & Strategies,” which I’ve been writing since 1980).

For years, I thought that the freedom movement, broadly defined, needs to gather together once a year to learn, network, socialize and celebrate liberty, or what’s left of it. But we’ve always been too individualistic, too much like a herd of cats, and we need to come together more to show and feel a unity of support. So when I was president of FEE, we had our first national convention, and it was a big success with 850 attendees.

When I left FEE, I continued the idea by producing FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” We meet every July, a week after the 4th, in Las Vegas, the world’s most laissez faire city. It’s a “hot” conference, and we continue to set records every year. This year we had nearly 2400 attendees, with over 200 speakers and exhibitors. All the major think tanks and freedom organizations — Cato, Reason, Heritage, FEE, Goldwater, Adam Smith, PRI, Heartland, ISI, Eagle, etc. — come from around the world, and it’s quite an affair. Steve Forbes and John Mackey (CEO, Whole Foods Market) attend all three days every year and are now our official ambassadors.

I encourage everyone from around the world to join us: www.freedomfest.com.

AR: Can you conclude with some reflections or suggestions to the young students that are reading this interview?

Let me say something controversial. If you want to change the world and the economics profession, learn from the great Austrians at Hillsdale, GMU, Grove City, etc., as an undergraduate, and then apply to the top ivy-league graduate schools (Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, etc.). With your Ph.D. in hand, apply to teach at these top ivy league schools, and if you get a position, start teaching Austrian economics to the next generation of students. Don’t write academic articles for Austrian journals. Write for the top economic journals — AER, JEP, etc. That way the best and the brightest will finally know about Mises and Hayek.

One of my regrets is that I got my Ph.D. at George Washington University, a second-tier graduate program. As a result, I found it difficult to teach at the top schools. I taught two years at Columbia, but that was it.

When I wrote “The Making of Modern Economics,” I decided to have it published by a non-market publisher, M. E. Sharpe. It proved to be a good move, because it has exposed a large group of social democrats to Austrian and Chicago economics.

Back when I got started as a student in the 1960s, there were virtually no free-market textbooks, few free-market economics departments, and only a handful of treatises and publications you could read that introduced your to market principles — Friedman, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Hazlitt, and the like. Now there are hundreds of professors, books, think tanks, organizations and conferences to teach free-market principles and the heroes behind the marketplace. I encourage you at attend these seminars and become involved with the various think tanks and websites.

Be sure to check out several resources and think tanks in free-market economics. Every institution has its biases and its favorite writers, and sometimes even suppresses scholars they don’t like. It’s unfortunate but a fact of life in the freedom movement.

I invite you to visit my website at www.mskousen.com and check out my articles and books that may advance your knowledge of free-market economics and finance. I’m also starting an Austrian-oriented business undergraduate and MBA program online at Grantham University, if you are so inclined to pursue a business degree.

AR: Professor Skousen, thank you so much for your time and effort!

Un placer! It was a honor, and I wish you the best of luck in your work and your interviews. And remember, A. E. I. O. U.

Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes?

Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes? A Tale of Two Schools of Free-Market EconomicsVienna & Chicago: Friends or Foes?
A Tale of Two Schools of Free-Market Economics
(Capital Press, 2005)

Is the bridge between the Austrian and Chicago schools coming together or moving apart?

In his book, Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? economist and author Mark Skousen debates the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics, which differ in monetary policy, business cycle, government policy, and methodology. Both have played a successful role in advancing classic free-market economics and countering the critics of capitalism during crucial times and the battle of ideas.

But, which of the two is correct in its theories?

Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? includes interviews with economists in both camps, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses. At the end of each chapter, Skousen declares who’s right and who’s wrong either with “Advantage, Vienna,” or “Advantage, Chicago.” The results are surprising, and Professor Skousen ends his provocative and timely work by attempting to foster common ground between these two warring schools.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: A Tale of Two Schools.
Chapter 2. Old and New Vienna: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Austrian School
Chapter 3. The Imperialist Chicago School
Chapter 4. Methodenstreit: Should a Theory be Empirically Tested?
Chapter 5. Gold vs. Fiat Money: What is the Ideal Monetary Standard?
Chapter 6. Macroeconomics, the Great Depression, and the Business Cycle
Chapter 7. Antitrust, Public Choice and Political Economy: What is the Proper Role of Government?
Chapter 8. Who Are the Great Economists?
Chapter 9. Faith and Reason in Capitalism
Chapter 10. The Future of Free-Market Economics: How Far is Vienna from Chicago?

What They’re Saying About Vienna & Chicago: Friends or Foes?

From the Chicago school: “This tale is thorough, thoughtful, even-handed, and highly readable. All economists, of whatever school, will find it both instructive and entertaining.” —Milton Friedman

From the Austrian school: “In his upbeat tale of two schools, Skousen gives us a delightful blend of theory, history, and political science, and shows that there is much common ground and scope for development.” —Roger W. Garrison

“Finally, there is a book to compare the agreements and disagreements of the Austrian and Chicago schools of economics. This will definitely be required reading for my university students in History of Economic Thought courses. I am especially thrilled to see such an evenhanded approach to so many issues, from causes of the Great Depression to types of monetary systems. Skousen is insightful, humorous, and always full of interesting tidbits that are available in no other source…because he knew so many of the players. His books are always user friendly and this is no exception. He also offers his views, but is ever respectful to all. “ — Ken Schoolland

Order Vienna &. Chicago: Friends or Foes? from Amazon.com

 

Groundbreaking

SQUARING THE MISES CIRCLE

“Eureka!  Skousen has done the impossible.  Students love it!  I will never go back to another textbook.”

Professor Harry Veryser, University of Detroit-Mercy

Economic Logic

They said it couldn’t be done.  Austrian economics is so different, they said, that it couldn’t be integrated into standard “neo-classical” textbooks.  Consequently, college students learn little or nothing about the great Austrian economists (Mises, Hayek, Schumpeter).

 Starting with Menger’s “Theory of the Good” and the Profit-and-Loss Income Statement

Professor Mark Skousen’s Economic Logic (now in its new 5th edition) aims to change that.  Based on his popular course taught at Chapman University, Columbia Business School, and other institutions, Skousen starts his “micro” section with Carl Menger’s “theory of the good” and the profit-and-loss income statement to explain the dynamics of the market process, entrepreneurship, and the advantages of saving.  Business students find this approach especially valuable.  After analyzing the dynamics of the P&L statement, supply and demand diagrams are introduced.

 Linking Micro and Macro

Then he incorporates a simplified version of “Hayek’s Triangles,” a powerful four-stage model of the economy to link micro and macro economics for the first time.  For micro, he uses Stanford Professor John Taylor’s 4-stage process of making coffee:

Coffee_Chart_02Figure 1.  Four Stages of Production of Espresso Coffee.

 Then for the macro model, Dr. Skousen uses this universal 4-stage diagram:

4-stage_model_02bNotice that this Hayekian 4-stage model ties into national income accounting.  GDP represents the final stage of production – the value of all finished goods and services produced in a year.

GO Behind GDP:  Measuring Hayek’s Triangle

Every quarter a public-traded company releases a financial statement that includes both the “top line” (revenues/sales) and a “bottom line” (earnings, net income).

Using the 4-stage model of the economy, Skousen applies the same approach to national income accounting.  Based on his work, The Structure of Production (NYU Press, 1990), he identifies gross output (GO) as the value of all 4 stages of production (#1 through #4 above) or the “top line” in national income accounting, and GDP (stage #4) as the “bottom line.”

GO is a measure of Hayek’s triangle.  It adds up sales or revenues at all stages of production throughout the year, while GDP counts only final sales.

GO is a vital statistic, as it includes the value of the supply chain, all the business-to-business (B2B) transactions that move the production process toward final use.  It is a measure of the “make” economy, while GDP estimates the value of the “use” economy.

In Economic Logic, GO is incorporated as a more comprehensive measure of the economy, serves as a valuable tool in analyzing the business cycle, restores the business sector as the major driver of the economy, and deserves to be updated on a quarterly basis along with GDP.

GO is now a reality.  In April, 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the Department of Commerce announced it will publish GO every quarter along with GDP.  Austrian economics (Hayek’s triangles) is now officially part of macroeconomic accounting!   (For Skousen’s latest press release on GO, go to www.mskousen.com.)

For the first time, the 5th edition of Economic Logic fully integrates GO in the chapters 14-15 on national income accounting and throughout the textbook.  GO is presented as the top line, and GDP as the bottom line in national accounting.  As economists Dale W. Jorgenson, Stephen Landefeld, and Bill Nordhaus state in their book “A New Architecture in US National Accounts,” “Gross output [GO] is the natural measure of the production sector, while net output [GDP] is appropriate as a measure of welfare.  Both are required in a complete system of accounts.”

 Added Highlights to the 5th Edition

In addition, here’s new material found in the 5th edition:

  • John Mackey’s “stakeholder” model of capitalism has been incorporated into the stages-of-production process in chapter 3. Moving the production process along requires the cooperation of all economic inputs or stakeholders.
  • Updated discussions on job creation, the labor force participation rate, and the recovery after the Great Recession is discussed in detail in chapters 10 and 25. Chapter 10 also addresses the unemployment issues in Europe and America, and the prospects for renewed growth under a Trump administration.
  • Recent government regulations (Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, SEC) following the 2008 financial crisis and the Bernie Madoff fraud are discussed in chapter 13.
  • The consumption and savings rate patterns of China are compared to those of the United States in chapter 17. This comparison helps to determine what drives the economy, consumer spending or savings/investment?
  • The end of the Federal Reserve’s “easy money” policies of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) and Quantitative Easing (QE) in 2017 are debated in chapter 19.
  • The on-going debate on “austerity” vs. “stimulus” has been added to chapter 22.
  • What factor is more significant in the business cycle, Keynesian lack of “aggregate demand” or Hayekian “malinvestment”? See chapter 25.
  • The rise of state capitalism in China is highlighted in chapter 27.
  • The international gold standard, the defects of central banking, and the Mises/Hayek theory of the business cycle.
  • A full critique of the Keynesian Aggregate Supply and Demand (AS-AD) model, and a revolutionary Austrian alternative (chapters 22 and 25).  Plus a critique of Marxism and socialist central planning (chapter 27).
  • Entrepreneurship, the financial markets, environmental economics, monetary policy and inflation, federal spending and taxes, and government regulation.
  • Leaders of all schools, including Austrian, Keynesians, Marxist, Chicago, and Public Choice.
  • Austrians highlighted include Ludwig von Mises (chapter 2), Carl Menger (3), Joseph Schumpeter and Israel Kirzner (8) Eugen Böhm-Bawerk (11), Peter F. Drucker (12), Murray Rothbard (18), and Friedrich Hayek (25).  Other highlighted free-market economists include Adam Smith, Gary Becker, George Stigler, John Bates Clark, J. B. Say, Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Art Laffer, Ronald Coase, Julian Simon, and Robert Mundell.
  • Economic Logic is dedicated to Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, thus drawing from the best of the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics.
  • A glossary of terms has been added to this edition.

 What Economists Are Saying

“An excellent balance of theory and the real world that no other text has achieved.”

– Charles Baird, CalState East Bay


“Better than any book out there!  Skousen presents real business economics in a clear, provocative and logical fashion.”

– Ian Mackechnie, University of Wales


“Perfect for any economics student — designed to maximize learning while minimizing monotony.  Simple, direct, and comprehensive.”

– K. Au, home school instructor


“My college econ classes, filled with perplexing theories like the paradox of thrift, GDP and Keynesian fiscal policy, were completely refuted by this excellent free-market textbook.  Students, if your professors don’t use this text, get it for yourself so you can really understand the concepts of sound economics.”

– Amazon review


 

 SPECIAL OFFER: 

ONLY $39.95

This new 5th edition (2017) of Economic Logic is a 714-page quality paperback published by Capital Press/Regnery.  It retails for $79.95, but is available at a discount — only $39.95, plus $5 shipping & handling (for all orders outside the US, add an additional $15), by calling Ensign Publishing at:

1-866-254-2057

 

 About the Author

Mark Skousen, Ph. D., is a Presidential Professor at Chapman University, has taught economics at Columbia University, is the former president of FEE, and is the author of over 25 books, including several in Austrian economics:  The Structure of Production (NYU Press); Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? (Capital Press), The Making of Modern Economics (Routledge), and A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street:  Austrian Economics for Investors (LFB Books).  For more information, go to www.mskousen.com.

http://mskousen.com/2017/10/2322squaring-the-mises-circle/

Biographical Information

Mark Skousen, Ph.D. Biographical Information

Brief Bio (100 words)

Dr. Mark Skousen is a professional economist, financial advisor, university professor and author of more than 25 books on economics, personal finance, and investing, such as Economic Logic, A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street, The Making of Modern Economics, and The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin. He writes an award-winning financial newsletter, Forecasts & Strategies, produces the annual “FreedomFest” conference in Las Vegas, is the Chair of Management of Grantham University, and has been a regular contributor on “Kudlow & Company,” on CNBC-TV and “Nightly Business Report” on PBS. He was recently named one of the top 20 most influential living economists. Please visit: www.markskousen.com, www.freedomfest.com and www.mskousen.com.

Extended Bio (500 words)

Dr. Mark Skousen is a professional economist, financial advisor, university professor and author of more than 25 books. Dr. Skousen has taught economics and finance at Columbia Business School, Barnard College, Columbia University, Mercy College (all in New York), and Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In April 2005, Grantham University honored Dr. Skousen by renaming its business school “The Mark Skousen School of Business.” In 2001-02, he was president of the Foundation of Economic Education (FEE) in New York.  He was recently named one of the top 20 most influential living economists (www.superscholar.org).

From 1972-75, Dr. Skousen was an economic analyst for the CIA. Since then, he has been a consultant to IBM, Hutchinson Technology, and other Fortune 500 companies. He has been a columnist for Forbes magazine (1997-01), and has written articles for The Wall Street Journal, Liberty, Reason, and The Journal of Economic Perspectives. He has appeared on ABC News, CNBC Power Lunch, CNN, Fox News, and C-SPAN Book TV, as well extensively on radio and online.

Since 1980, Dr. Skousen has been editor in chief of Forecasts & Strategies, a popular award-winning investment newsletter published by Eagle Publishing in Washington, D.C. (www.markskousen.com).

He is also editor of his own website, www.mskousen.com, and three trading services, Skousen Hedge Fund Trader; High Income Alert; and Hot Commodities Alert.

From 2005-2007, Mark was the Chairman of Investment U, one of the largest investment e-letters in the country, with more than 300,000 subscribers. Now, Dr. Skousen is the editor of his own free e-letter, Skousen CAFE, at www.eagledailyinvestor.

He earned his Ph.D. in economics and monetary history from The George Washington University in 1977. Since then he has written more than 25 books, including The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990); Economics on Trial (McGraw Hill, 1991); Puzzles and Paradoxes in Economics (Edward Elgar Publishers, 1997); Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? (Capitol Press, 2005); EconoPower (Wiley, 2008); his economic textbook Economic Logic (Capital Press, 2010, 2014); The Making of Modern Economics (M. E. Sharpe, 2009), which won the Choice Book Award for Outstanding Academic Title.

His financial bestsellers include The Complete Guide to Financial Privacy (Simon & Schuster, 1983); High Finance on a Low Budget (Bantam, 1981), co-authored with his wife Jo Ann; Scrooge Investing (Little Brown, 1995; McGraw Hill, 1999); Investing in One Lesson (Regnery Publishing, 2007); Maxims of Wall Street: A Compilation of Financial Adages, Ancient Proverbs, and Worldly Wisdom (Eagle Publishing, 2011).  His latest book is A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street: Austrian Economics for Investors (Laissez Faire Books, 2013).

In 2006, on the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, he and his wife Jo Ann compiled and edited The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin (Regnery Publishing, 2006).

In the mid-1990s, he served as editor of the investment series, “Secrets of the Great Investors,” with Louis Rukeyser as narrator.

He is the founder of FreedomFest, an annual gathering of the freedom movement from around the world, held every July in Las Vegas (www.freedomfest.com).

Skousen has lived in eight nations, and has traveled and lectured throughout the United States and in 70 countries. Born in San Diego, California, he grew up in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife, Jo Ann, and their five children have lived in Washington, D.C.; Nassau, the Bahamas; London, England; Orlando, Florida; and New York.

See additional biographies at:

http://www.mskousen.com/about
http://www.markskousen.com/about-mark-skousen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Skousen

Contact Info | Bio Info | Headshots | Current Books | Financial Newsletter and Trading Services | FreedomFest | Media Appearances | Endorsements & Reviews | Upcoming Appearances | Interview Resources

Ben Franklin: The most modern of the Founders

by Mark Skousen
01/17/2012 (This article was also published on Human Events)

“I have sometimes almost wished it had been my destiny to have been born two or three centuries hence.” — Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, whose birthday we celebrate today, Jan. 17, 1706, was the oldest of the founding fathers — he was indeed a whole generation ahead of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — and yet he was the most forward-looking of the group, a man ahead of his times.  He was a supporter of free-enterprise capitalism and globalization, a skeptic about organized religion, defender of the rights of minorities, a lover of modern gadgetry, and proponent of the sexual revolution.

His views were distinctly modern.  Of all the founders, he would be the one most comfortable living today.  He would not be surprised by the tremendous advances in people’s incomes and living standards.  After the American revolution, he predicted, “America will, with God’s blessing, become a great and happy country.”  He was an optimist and a believer in progress and the American dream, the idea that every American could get ahead through industry, thrift and a good education.  Franklin was in many ways the father of American capitalism.  He would be pleased with the buzz of daily life in the market place and our major cities.

As an advocate of the “new” economics of “free trade” and open borders, he embraced the benefits of globalization, the spread of democracy and representative government.  “Our cause is the cause of all mankind.  God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all nations of the earth so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say, this is my country!”

Throughout his adult life, he was mesmerized by scientific advances in transportation, medicine, and agriculture, and loved to hear about and even create his own new inventions.  “I have sometimes almost wished it had been my destiny to have been born two or three centuries hence,” he dreamed, “for inventions of improvement are prolific, and beget more of their kind.  The present progress is rapid.  Many of great importance, now unthought of, will before that period be procured.  I mention one reason for such a wish, which is that if the art of physic [medicine] shall be improved in proportion with other arts, we may then be able to avoid diseases, and live as long as the patriarchs in Genesis.”  Franklin would be the first to have a cell phone and an HD television.

His attitudes toward religion were very much in keeping with today’s tolerant and skeptical views.  He opposed any kind of requirement of a religious test on legislators, and believed in a “general toleration of all.”  He actually donated funds to all the various churches in Philadelphia.  Of the three virtues, hope, faith and charity, he regarded charity (good works) as the most important.  He believed in God, but had his doubts about the divinity of Christ.

His views were advanced for his age when it came to treatment of minorities.  He let his slaves go during his lifetime, and was an advocate for the abolition of slavery.  He considered blacks equally capable as whites.  He blamed most of the Indian disputes on the white population.

Franklin was a defender of women’s rights and treated them as his equals.  “Women, especially, flocked to see him, to speak to him for hours on end,” commented his French friend Le Roy.  The savant of Philadelphia was no distant marble figure like the reserved Virginian George Washington or the cantankerous prude John Adams.  Here was a red-blooded American Casanova who disdained the mores of a sexually-repressed Puritan age, enjoyed a strong libido, and was adored by the fairer sex for his charm, story-telling, fame and savoir faire.  A thoroughly modern founding father who had few hang-ups.

As far as politics is concerned, there are many characteristics of today’s government he might find agreeable and some disagreeable.  He was not especially fond of the gold standard, and preferred a paper money standard, though he feared too much inflation could be “mischievous and the populous apt to demand more than is necessary.”  He supported and invested in Robert Morris’s Bank of North America, a precursor to Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States, America’s first central bank.

Some features of modern-day America would appall Franklin.  He would feel terribly uncomfortable with the size and burden of today’s national debt, and America’s leaders failure to balance the budget.  The sheer size of the federal government would depress him.  He believed “a virtuous and laborious [industrious] people can be cheaply governed.”  He would dislike the engagement in foreign wars by the U. S. military.  “The system of America is [should be] commerce with all, and war with none.”

Finally, he hated party politics.   “There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men, ambition and avarice, the love of power and the love of money….And of what kind of men will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, thro’ all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters?  It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust.  It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.  These will trust themselves to this government and be their rules.”

 


Mr. Skousen is a renowned financial economist, author and university professor. He has been the editor of the financial advice newsletter, Forecasts & Strategies, for 30 years. Two of his books highlight Milton Friedman’s career: “The Making of Modern Economics” and “Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes?.” Check out his latest book “The Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, And John Maynard Keynes” or “Investing in One Lesson” and “EconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists is

Economics Books

SoP3coverweb2The Structure of Production (3rd Edition)
(NYU Press, 2015)

Since its release in 1990, The Structure of Production has been the underground bible for supply-side economics and Austrian macroeconomics, and an analytical tool to explain asset bubbles, commodity inflation, and financial instability. Now with the adoption of “Gross Output” (based on the Gross Domestic Expenditure statistic introduced in The Structure of Production) by the federal government, Skousen’s “Structure” is more important than ever.

Mark Skousen provides a new introduction that updates his four-stage model with new statistical evidence, applications to textbooks, and historical interpretation. Click here for more details on the updates to The Structure of Production.

Economic LogicEconomic Logic (4th Edition)
(Capital Press, 2013)

This is Professor Mark Skousen’s much anticipated 4th edition of Economic Logic, which includes his chapters on macroeconomic theory and government policy as well as his chapters on microeconomics from the first edition. Skousen’s textbook promises a revolutionary pedagogy in teaching economics, with a new micro model that starts with the profit-and-loss income statement and a new 4-stage macro model that integrates micro and macro. Click here for a full summary of this exciting new textbook!

The Making of Modern EconomicsThe Making of Modern Economics (2nd Edition)
(M.E. Sharpe, c. 2009, 495 pages, illustrated.  Available in hardback and paperback.)

Here is a bold, new account of the lives and ideas of the great economists–Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and many others–all written by a top free-market economist. Presented in an entertaining and persuasive style, Professor Mark Skousen tells a powerful story of economics, with dozens of anecdotes, illustrations and photographs of the great economic thinkers. Click here to read more about it!

EconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists Is Transforming the WorldEconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists is Transforming the World
(Wiley & Sons, 2008)

The power of economic thinking can be explained by seven core principles — accountability, cost-benefit analysis, competition, choice, incentives, investment, and welfare. By understanding and incorporating these principles, better decisions will be made on individual, corporate and government levels. To explain this thesis, the author offers analyses of key economists who have effected significant changes in major domestic and international issues. Click here for more information on EconoPower!

The Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard KeynesThe Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes
(M.E. Sharpe, 2007)

The Big Three in Economics, a fascinating new book by Dr. Mark Skousen, Ph.D., is based on the latest historical data and”tell-all” biographies, woven into a cunning plot filled with unexpected twists and turns, and reveals the lives and ideas of the three greatest economic thinkers of all time:

  • Adam Smith, whose invisible hand concept and vision of rich and poor flourishing together under laissez faire and an unfettered market;
  • Karl Marx, whose radical solution to the problem of exploitation of the underpriviledged appealed to workers and intellectuals around the globe; and,
  • John Maynard Keynes, whose theoretical approach to remedy a crisis-prone market system through activist government policies seemed a perfect solution to the Great Depression.

Click here for more information on the Big Three in Economics!

Also available in AudioBook format!

Vienna & Chicago, Friends or Foes?Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes?
A Tale of Two Schools of Free-Market Economics

(Capital Press, 2005)In his book, Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? economist and author Mark Skousen debates the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics, two schools in constant, heated disagreement in their theories of money, business cycle, government policy, and methodology. Click here for more information on the book including remarks by Ken Schoolland, the table of contents and more.

The Power of Economic ThinkingThe Power of Economic Thinking
(Foundation for Economic Education, 2002)

In his provocative book, Mark Skousen contends that economics is no longer the “dismal” science. It is now the “imperial” science, invading like an army the new frontiers of crime, politics, religion, Wall Street, subjecting new economic analysis to gun rights, racial dscrimination, drug abuse, professional sports, health care, grade-school education, and environmentalism. Click here to read more about The Power of Economic Thinking with a glimpse at the Table of Contents!

Mark Skousen Biography

Mark Skousen has been on the move all his life. Born in San Diego, California, where his dad was an FBI agent, he grew up in Portland, Oregon, gaining a love for books, the outdoors and politics.

He worked his way through college at Brigham Young University, served a two year mission for the Mormon Church in Latin America, and returned to BYU, where he was Editorial Page editor of the student newspaper and a graduate teacher of economics.

When he graduated in 1972, he had a Master’s Degree in economics, a fully paid new car, a fiancée and a job as an economist for the Central Intelligence Agency. It was at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia that Mark gained his Washington sources of congressman and insiders, and his research know-how.

In 1973 he married his lovely wife Jo Ann, who gave up a four-year scholarship to move to Washington, DC. (She finally graduated as a 4.0 valedictorian from Rollins College in 1988). They are the parents of five children.

In 1984, the year of George Orwell’s celebrated fictional account of Big Brother, Mark and Jo Ann moved their family to Nassau, the Bahamas, where they spent two glorious years. In addition to their investment writing and saving on taxes, they acted in local plays, went sailing and enjoyed the beach. “Living in the Bahamas actually improved my ability to analyze the financial markets.”

After leaving the CIA in 1975, Mark became editor of the Inflation Survival Letter, and also earned his Ph.D. in economics in 1977 from George Washington University.

After living briefly in London, England, the Skousen family moved to Winter Park, Florida, where Mark was appointed Adjunct Professor of Economics and Finance at Rollins College. Students often recognized him driving around campus in his restored 1958 MGA convertible.

In his spare time, Mark enjoys writing letters (“a lost art”), playing basketball and county softball (last season he batted .750, not quite matching his win-lost record in his financial newsletter), collecting rare financial books and reading old Uncle Scrooge comic books to his children.

In 2001-02, Mark and his family moved to Irvington-on-Hudson, NY, just north of New York City, where Mark was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the oldest freemarket think tank in the country. For two years, he taught at Columbia Business School, Barnard College and Columbia University, and now holds the Benjamin Franklin Chair of Management at Grantham University. He continues to write his newsletter, Forecasts & Strategies, as well as several trading services.

Skousen likes to write books, and his latest works include A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street, Maxims of Wall Street, Investing In One Lesson, EconoPower, the 3rd edition of Economic Logic (his macro/micro economics textbook), and the 2nd edition of The Making of Modern Economics (M. E. Sharpe, 2008); Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? (Regnery Capital, 2005); The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin, compiled and edited by Mark Skousen (Regnery, 2006); and The Big Three in Economics (M. E. Sharpe, 2007).

Occasionally he writes for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor, as well as Human Events Online, The Daily Caller, Liberty Magazine and several other online and print publications.

From 2005-2007, Mark served as the Chairman of Investment U, where his investment research reached more than 250,000 readers… three times a week.

In 2006, he represented the Ben Franklin descendants and spoke at the First Issue Ceremony of the United States Post Office in Philadelphia.

In honor of his work in economics, finance and management, Grantham University renamed its business school “The Mark Skousen School of Business.”

In 2007, Skousen began writing his own personal e-letter called “The Worldly Philosophers,” which highlights the lives of the worldly wise, such as J. Paul Getty, J. P. Morgan, Ben Franklin, Aristotle, and Warren Buffett, and how to apply their lessons today. Today, he writes a weekly e-letter called “Skousen CAFE” which gives his latest views on current events, books, and philosophy, and includes his popular “You Blew It!” feature. Sign up at www.eagledailyinvestor.com.

Skousen is the founder and producer of FreedomFest, an annual conference held in Las Vegas and billed as the world’s largest gathering of free minds on liberty. The conference attracts thousands of attendees from across the country and the world, and across the political spectrum. It also attracts the best and brightest speakers, including Steve Forbes, John Mackay, John Stossel, Ben Stein, Larry Kudlow, Steve Moore, Dinesh D’Souza and many others. Sessions are not limited to politics only, but cover liberty issues in economics, finances, science & technology, art, literature, health and much more. See www.freedomfest.com for much more.

Recently named one of the 20 most influential living economists by Super Scholar, Skousen has also been appointed the Presidential Fellow at Chapman University from 2013 through 2016..