Author Archive for Guido Hülsmann

The Last Knight in Russia

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May 24th, 2013 will remain in the annals of the Circle Bastiat as an infamous day of self-promotion. There is indeed a second publication which yours truly is most happy to announce: the Russian edition of the Last Knight of Liberalism: Последний рыцарь либерализма: Биография Людвига фон Мизеса (Chelyabinsk: Социум, 2013), 893 pp. Translated by Alexander Kuryaev, Tatiana Danilova, Elena Vasilyeva, Marina Oborina, Yuri Nurmeev, Vasily Koshkin, and Natalia Avtonomova.

My Bielorussian doctoral student, Olga Peniaz, sent me the picture of the book-cover, which seems to be identical with the Amercian edition except for the Cyrillic letters. How truly astonishing that the first translation of this book (and possibly the only one ever) has been made for those very people who arguably suffered most under the ideas of statism and socialism, which the great Ludwig von Mises opposed so fiercely during all his life. My special thanks go to the wonderful persons who have made this edition possible, especially to the sponsors, and to the translator team coordinated by Alexander Kuryaev, who also made a book presentation on May 18th (watch the video as from about 1h30). God bless you, and I hope to meet you all in person one day.

Political Economy of Finance

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Yours truly is happy to announce a new book publication : Krise der Inflationskultur (Munich: Finanzbuch-Verlag, 2013), 320 pp.

The strongest criticisms of fiat money and central banking have been based on monetary considerations and on the theory of capital. By contrast, the repercussions of an inflationary monetary system on financial markets and on the use of wealth has been somewhat neglected. The present essay on the political economy of finance fills this gap. The central thesis is that, in a fiat money system, financial markets tend to turn into engines of destruction; they absorb excessive amounts of savings, facilitate the consumption of savings, and reinforce a culture of inflation that saps and undermines the economic foundations of civilisation.

 

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From Grexit to Gerexit

More monetary competition, this is the promising title of Markus Kerber’s new book, in which he makes the case for establishing currency competition to solve the current conflicts within the Eurozone. Kerber is a law professor at my alma mater and for this reason alone, of course, his book deserves attention. Moreover, he is the founder and president of Europolis, a think-tank based in Berlin and Paris that opposes the extension of the “pathological interventionism of the French state” over the entire European Union.

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Two lectures in Gent

Belgium is not only the host country to the central planners from the European Commission in Brussels. It is also the land of great charming historical commercial towns such as Bruges, Antwerp, and Gent. If you happen to be in the area: next Tuesday yours truly shall deliver two lectures for the Flemish liberal student association in Gent.  The first one will deal with the “Problems of a transition toward natural monies” and the second one present “The case against fiat money.”

Dictionary of Liberalism

In his magnificent Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School, Ralph Raico recently stressed that there never has been any such thing as “classical” liberalism. There was and is only liberalism, an intellectual movement centred around the notion that society is working by itself and does not need to be supported, or reigned in, by coercive government.

True, the word liberalism has also been adopted by various enemies of liberty and turned into the opposite of its traditional meaning. But this perversion of language is by and large limited to the Anglo-Saxon world. On the old Continent, despite recent efforts by social democrats and other statists to appropriate the labels of liberty and liberalism, the latter is still being used in its original meaning. And the liberal movement is thriving even in those countries where coercive government is omnipresent.

To wit, a 639-pages Dictionnaire du libéralisme has just been published in France by the prestigious Larousse publishers. Edited by Mathieu Laine, this compendium features 267 entries from “Action humaine” to “Voltaire” written by 63 authors from France and other countries. It is a landmark publication with a distinctly Austrian flavour.

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Mises in Germany’s no. 1 business weekly

Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche just published a major story on Mises’s life and works, stressing his contributions to business cycle theory. The “intransigent visionary” provided the theoretical framework for analysing, understanding, and correcting our present financial quagmire.

Congratulations Dr Kraus !

Wladimir Kraus, a former Rowley Fellow at the Mises Institute, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation “Essays on Reisman’s Net Consumption Theory of Profit and Interest” yesterday at the University of Aix-Marseille in southern France.

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A Temporary Form of Democratic Surplus

Ever heard of social imperialism? That’s an old name for the aggressive foreign policy of governments wishing to deflect attention from the fact that they are unable to solve domestic problems. If you just cannot quite get yourself to repair a public pension system, or a public health system, well, then you might consider invading a few foreign countries to improve things over there. The late Kaiser Wilhelm II was a pioneer of social engineering. In our day he has found emulates all over the western world. Unable to solve our public-debt problem or to equilibrate our governments’ budgets, we liberate foreign populations from their autocratic rulers and bring them the blessings of democracy.

The remarkable thing is that very same countries that today are bent on spreading democracy with the sword have less than perfect democracy at home. For example, the Republican Party in the US recently had difficulties with the vote count in several primary referendums. On the other side of the Atlantic, in the European Union, we have the tradition of repeating referendums until we get the correct result. Irish voters needed three referendums until the ratified the Lisbon Treaty. We also have another cherished tradition of never ever letting unreliable people get to vote in the first place. The German population was never asked to ratify the Euro or the various power-grabs of the Commission in Brussels. The French, too, were not asked to vote again after they turned down the Lisbon Treaty in May 2005.

The proverbial cherry on the western-democracy cake was delivered just this month. The European Parliaments Legal Affairs committee, whose mission is to safeguard the “integrity and trustworthiness of the legal framework as a whole in Europe” has voted 14-12 on a copyrights issue, even though the committee has only 24 members. This has been aptly called “a temporary form of democratic surplus.” Is it a fruit of the Lisbon Process, initiated twelve years ago, which aimed at turning the EU into the most innovative region of the world economy?