Monday, March 16, 2009

Gone Fishin'

I've recently reached the conclusion that I simply don't have the time for blogging that I once thought I had. The reader will notice that my previous entry was March 1st, which was over two weeks ago.

So I've decided to take an indefinite hiatus from blogging. If I do decide to return to the blogosphere some day, it will be quite some time from now, and it probably won't be here. Somehow, I doubt it will miss me in the interim. (Though I will most likely continue to occasionally put in my two cents over at the Strike-The-Root blog when the spirit moves me, and of course, I will continue to put in a penny or two in the comments threads of various other blogs I enjoy frequenting hither and yon.)

Hasta la vista.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hayek Speaks! recently published a transcript of the late Austrian economist F.A. Hayek's appearance on NBC-TV's Meet the Press back in 1975.

Then, as now, there was a great deal of economic turmoil facing the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. Hayek contended then that the turbulence was mainly caused by the central bank's inflation of the money supply in order to finance unsustainable central planning, a criticism that equally applies today. Hayek suggested that the answer then was for the Federal Reserve System to simply stop inflating and allow resources to be reallocated according to consumer demand, however painful that adjustment may be in the short term. That's a suggestion that equally applies to today's turbulence, but one that Republicans and Democrats alike have shunned in favor of bail-out capitalism and pie-in-the-sky "stimulus" spending and all the massive debt and inflation that goes along with it.

The interview is interesting enough to read for all of the parallels to recent events, but there was one answer from Hayek that I found particularly striking.

One of the interviewers suggested that to simply cease inflation and allow for new economic adjustments to take place would most likely lead to more unemployment, and for that to happen in the already troubled inner cities would most likely lead to anger, frustration and violence amongst those populations, which would then most surely be followed by governmental crack-downs. The interviewer asked Hayek what he would do to ameliorate any ill social effects deriving from further unemployment among urban populations during any post-inflationary adjustment period.

Here's Hayek's answer:
"Well, I don't think there is anything I can do about it. We'll have to tide over the storm which may be threatening."
Wow, how refreshing it is to hear such an intellectually honest answer from a public intellectual! How incredibly rare that is. Your typically neo-Keynsian/neoliberal court intellectual--blindly assuming the interviewer's implied assumption that predominantly black and hispanic populations in inner cities are simply incapable of pulling themselves up by the bootstraps to be gospel truth--would have heard his cue and trotted out all sorts of half-baked ideas for wasteful government welfare programs. Hayek, however, did not so arrogantly assume that he knew what was better for people he knew nothing about.

"I don't think there is anything I can do about it." To hear any of your court intellectuals and assorted think tank "experts" make such an admission today would probably cause a complete tear in the space-time continuum, simultaneously catapulting all of us into an alternate reality.