From: Steven Jancarek
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2020 5:53 PM
Subject: Interview for Research Paper
Hello Professor Block, I hope you’re having a blessed week. I am a student at a community college in Virginia who plans to transfer to George Mason University as an economics major for the 2020 fall semester, and I’m a big fan of you and your work. I’m currently working on a research paper that covers the Great Depression in a similar format to the great Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression. One of the requirements for my paper is that I get an interview with a credible source, and if it’s not too much of an inconvenience, would you be willing to answer a few questions pertaining to the ABCT, the Fed, etc. via email exchange? I understand that you’re a very busy man with other students and obligations, so having your time would be a great honor to me.
On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 7:25 PM Walter Block <email@example.com> wrote:
Yes, I’ll do this, but only on one condition: that you seriously consider transferring to Loyola instead. See below for support of Loyola in general. We have almost 10 profs who are in the free enterprise camp, and a few dozen students with similar interests. You’d be among friends, here.
In particular, if you go to Mason, and then also get your phd there, you get only one set of profs. If you come here first, and then go there, you get two sets of profs. Two is better than one. More intellectual diversity
From: Steven Jancarek
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2020 5:51 PM
To: Walter Block <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Interview for Research Paper
I’ll have to call Loyola and speak with a counselor to see if my classes will transfer over nicely. If so, I’ll absolutely take serious consideration in transferring there and will apply for the Walter Block scholarship, which is certainly a game changer. Loyola, as well as Auburn and NYU, has been on my radar since high school, and I’d love to be a student under the economics program that you and others have built there. I will begin my application to Loyola, and follow-up in another email with questions as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your help and bringing me awareness to your scholarship, Professor Block.
From: Walter Block <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2020 2:21 PM
To: ‘Steven Jancarek’
Subject: RE: Interview for Research Paper
You’ve got a deal. Yes, I’m willing to answer a few questions pertaining to the ABCT, the Fed, etc. via email exchange
How would you explain to someone the Austrian Business Cycle Theory in fairly basic terms?
<< Here’s the best reading on that issue:
Rothbard, Murray N. 1969. Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure, Lansing, Michigan: Constitutional Alliance; http://mises.org/tradcycl/econdepr.asp; http://mises.org/daily/3127/Economic-Depressions-Their-Cause-and-Cure
Keynesians often charge the idea that the word had been run on classical economics, the gold standard, free markets, etc. prior to the Great Depression and it failed to prevent it or find a solution. However, this is factually not the case, between the Federal Reserve’s credit expansion of the 1920’s and Hoover’s irresponsible proto-New Deal policies deviating far from what economists at the time would have called for. How would you challenge this assessment?
<<Here’s an excellent challenge:
Woods, Thomas E. Jr. 2009A. Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing
In a 1979 interview of Friedrich Hayek, he states “I agree with Milton Friedman that once the Crash had occurred, the Federal Reserve System pursued a silly deflationary policy.” Do you think this view is compatible with the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, and if not, what do you believe was Hayek’s blindspot in this case?
<< I think Hayek is mistaken. Read this on that:
Rothbard, Murray N.  1975. America’s Great Depression. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, http://www.mises.org/rothbard/agd.pdf
You’ve written some very sharp responses to different ABCT criticisms in the past, and for me, your response to Gordon Tullock’s Why the Austrians Are Wrong About Depressions first comes to mind. What criticism(s), Keynesian, Monetarist, or otherwise, do you believe to be most important for Austrians to rebuke? What have you found to be most challenging, whether the criticism(s) be sneaky or thoughtful?
<< thanks for your kind comment about this essay of mine:
Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “Professor Tullock on Austrian Business Cycle Theory,” Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 8, pp. 431-443; http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1880562
What should Austrians rebuke in non Austrian theory? Anything. Everything.
In leaving the classical gold standard in 1933-1934, did this sustain FDR’s New Deal, and if so, how? Were there any other notable economic effects this change had at the time?
Sorry I can’t answer all of your questions, apart from recommending readings to you. I hate to reinvent the wheel. There are some more readings on this below:
Did the UK’s choice to redefine the value of the pound to $4.86 from its market value of $3.50 after WWI make it politically feasible for the US to leave the gold standard almost 10 years later, or was it inevitable?
<<Nothing in economics is inevitable.
What are some parallels you see in monetary policy prior to the Great Depression and today?
<< in both cases, we are in the boom part of the biz cycle.
What would be your ideal solution to fixing our monetary system?
<<Pure 100% gold standard
On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 10:31 AM Walter Block <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Block, 1999; Block and Barnett, 2008; de Soto, 2006; Gleason, 2019; Greaves, 1995; Greenspan, 1966; Hazlitt, 1965, 1980; Herbener, 2002; Howden, 2008; Hulsmann, 2008; Kaza, 1996; Mises, 1952, 1981; Mundell, 1981; Murphy, 2010; North, 1986; Palyi, 1972; Paul, 1985; Paul and Lehrman, 1982; Rader, 1980; Reisman, 1996, 2000; Rothbard, 1962, 1963, 1975, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1992; Selgin, 2015; Sennholz, 1975A, 1975B, 1979, 1985; Vieira, 2002
Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, Mundell, Hayek, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33; http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf
Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Going (back) to gold money with no government gold: blood in the streets?” Indian Journal of Economics & Business, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 185-193; http://www.ijeb.com/Year2008_Dec.htm
de Soto, Jesus Huerta. 2006. Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, translated by Melinda A. Stroup, ch. 9; Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/books/desoto.pdf
Gleason, Mike. 2019. “Why Powell Fears a Gold Standard.” July 20;
Greaves, Bettina Bien. 1995. “How to Return to the Gold Standard.” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty; Vol. 45, No. 11, November; http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=4848
Greenspan, Alan. 1966. “Gold and Economic Freedom,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand, ed., New York: Signet: 1967, pp. 96-101 (reprinted from The Objectivist, 1966); http://www.321gold.com/fed/greenspan/1966.html
Hazlitt, Henry. 1965. “Back to Gold?” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, Vol. 15, No. 10, October; http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=7670
Hazlitt, Henry. 1980. “How to Return to Gold?” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, Vol. 30, No. 9, September; http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=458
Herbener, Jeffrey M. 2002. “After the Age of Inflation: Austrian Proposals for Monetary Reform,” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter: 5-19.
Howden, David. 2008. ‘Stability of Gold Standard and its Selected Consequences: A Comment’, Procesos de Mercado: Revista Europea de Economía Política 5(1), 159-175.
Hülsmann, J. G. 2008. The Ethics of Money Production; Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn AL.
Kaza, Greg. 1996. “Is There a Case for the Gold Standard?” The Intercollegiate Review. http://www.mmisi.org/ir/32_01/kaza.pdf
Mises, Ludwig. 1952. Epilogue to The Theory of Money and Credit , “The United States’ Return to a Sound Currency.”
Mises, Ludwig von. 1981. The Theory of Money and Credit, Indianapolis: LibertyPress/LibertyClassics, ch. 23.
Mundell, Robert. 1981. “Gold Would Serve into the 21st Century.” Wall Street Journal, September 30.
Murphy, Robert P. 2010. “Gold: The Market’s Global Currency.” November 11;
North, Gary. 1986. Honest Money: Biblical Principles of Money and Banking, chaps 11-13
Palyi, Melchior. 1972. The Twilight of Gold 1914-1936: Myths and Realities. H. Regnery Co
Paul, Ron. 1985. “The Political and Economic Agenda for a Real Gold Standard,” delivered at the Mises Institute’s 1985 conference on the gold standard; final chapter in The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School: http://www.mises.org/books/goldstandard.pdf;
Paul, Ron and Lehrman, Lewis. 1982.U.S. Gold Commission (September). The Case for Gold: A Minority Report of the U.S. Gold Commission. Washington, DC: Cato Institute (2d ed. Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007). |
Rader, Randall R. 1980. “Remonetizing Gold, Again.” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. Vol. 30, No. 8, September; http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=461
Reisman, George. 1996. Capitalism. Ottawa, Il.: Jameson Books, pp. 951-963
Reisman, George. 2000. “The Goal of Monetary Reform,” The quarterly journal of Austrian economics VOL. 3, NO. 3 (FALL): 3–18
Rothbard, Murray N. 1962. “The Case For a 100 Percent Gold Dollar.” Leland Yeager (ed.), In Search of a Monetary Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 94-136. Reprinted as The Case For a 100 Percent Gold Dollar, Washington, DC: Libertarian Review Press, 1974. http://mises.org/rothbard/100percent.pdf
Rothbard, Murray N. 1963, 1985, 1990 What Has Government Done to Our Money? Auburn, AL.: Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/rothmoney.pdf
Rothbard, Murray N. 1975. “Gold vs. Fluctuating Fiat Exchange Rates.” H. F. Sennholz (ed.), Gold is Money, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, pp. 24-40. Reprinted in The Logic of Action One: Method, Money, and the Austrian School. Glos, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 1997, pp. 350-363.
Rothbard, Murray N. 1983. The Mystery of Banking. New York: Richardson and Snyder.
Rothbard, Murray N. 1985. “The Case for a Genuine Gold Dollar.” L. H. Rockwell, The Gold Standard: An Austrian Perspective. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, pp. 1-17. Reprinted in The Logic of Action One: Method, Money, and the Austrian School. Glos, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 1997, pp. 364-383.
Rothbard, Murray. 1991. The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://mises.org/rothbard/100percent.pdf
Rothbard, Murray N. 1992. “Aurophobia: or, Free Banking on What Standard? A Review of Gold, Greenbacks and the Constitution, by Richard M. Timberlake,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 97-108; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae6_1_4.pdf
Selgin, George. “Ten Things Every Economist Should Know about the Gold Standard.” June 4; http://www.alt-m.org/2015/06/04/ten-things-every-economist-should-know-about-the-gold-standard-2/
Sennholz, Hans, ed. 1975A. The Luster of Gold. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press
Sennholz, Hans. 1975B. Gold is Money. Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut
Sennholz, Hans. 1979. Age of Inflation, Western Islands; chap. VI
Sennholz, Hans. 1985. Money and Freedom, Spring Mills, Penn.: Libertarian Press, chap. 8
Vieira, Edwin. 2002. Pieces of Eight, 2nd ed., Fredericksburg, VA: Sheridan
On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 5:55 PM Steven Jancarek wrote:
My apologies Professor Block. I had not seen the earlier emails. I have not yet sent any questions because I am still in the research process and I’m doing as much reading as I can. I just read through Lionel Robbins The Great Depression and am currently revisiting Rothbard’s What Has Government Done To Our Money? in order to write with more clarity and detail on the shifting monetary phases of the central banks at the time, which I’m feeling very unsatisfied with in my writing at the moment. Truthfully I am also feeling self-conscious and I’m worried I’ll ask something you’ll find incredibly stupid or so simple that you’ll feel this was a waste of time. But I see now that in taking my time I’ve exhausted some of yours as well, and for that I do sincerely apologize. Nevertheless, I do have a handful of questions right now that would be very useful for my paper
3:12 am on May 3, 2020 Email Walter E. Block
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