Author Archive for Tom Woods

Two Days of Truth Telling

Join me along with a great lineup — including Peter Schiff, David Stockman, and Lew Rockwell — at the Mises Institute’s Mises Circle in Manhattan on September 14. Details here (and Facebook page here). I’ll also be speaking that night at the Fifth Annual Ron Paul Freedom Dinner (limit 100).

The next day, September 15, an event featuring several Mises Institute scholars from the Circle event (Lew, Joe Salerno, and Walter Block) will take place at Columbia University: “A Prelude to The Prince: Thoughts on Power and the State from an Austro-Libertarian Perspective,” 501 Northwest Corner Building, 2:00pm. And finally, also on the 15th, I myself will be speaking near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Was Mises Bankrolled by the Financial Elite?

I know I am spending too much time on these crazy LaRouchian claims — see my post on the argument that Austrian economics benefits the plutocrats, and therefore has been promoted by them. You will hear it mentioned that the Rockefeller Foundation funded Ludwig von Mises, and that this proves Austrian economics is supported by the elites, even though (1) the elites went to a lot of trouble to establish the world’s central banks, which the Austrian School opposes, and (2) if the elites are that powerful, why is the Austrian School so little known after all their alleged efforts to promote it?

I asked Mises biographer Guido Hülsmann to comment on this. Here’s his reply:

The crucial evidence against this interpretation is twofold:

(a) The RF stopped funding Mises when he needed it most, and did not help him get a prestigious position in a US university, which they did for all true hacks. If he was truly in their pocket this was a very stupid thing to do.

(b) AFTER he was off RF money, Mises continued to profess and develop exactly the same views that he had already professed and developed BEFORE he got to meet any RF people. That’s not the behaviour of an intellectual prostitute. You would rather expect him to change his tune to the likings of his sponsors.

This leaves only one viable interpretation: The RF started funding Mises because he was already a major representative of Viennese intellectual life. Mises was part of the European intellectual establishment before he received financial support from US financial aristocracy. Like all new private research institutions, the RF first tried to hop into bed with the already existing scientific establishment to prop up its own reputation. Only in a second step did the RF (and similar organisations) try to steer the scientific agenda according to its own political and philosophical prejudices. When they proceeded from Step One to Step Two, there was no more place for Mises precisely because his views were unacceptable to RF.

Want to Hear the Sound of a Fallacy Being Exploded?

Then tune in to the Peter Schiff Show this morning, with me as guest host. I’ll be joined by Mises Institute Senior Fellow Jeffrey Herbener. We’ll be unpacking this piece of wisdom:

Demand creates jobs. How do we increase demand? We provide assistance where needed to create economic activity where the private sector won’t. We INVEST it in our infrastructure instead of throwing it away in tax cuts. We provide assistance to those in need. Food stamps and Unemployment Compensation, which I am sure you oppose, are two of the best economic stimulants and are backed up by real data. Every dollar spent on food stamps generates about $1.51 in economic activity. Tax cuts are one of the worst returns, creating a net loss in return.

Listen live for free (no subscription necessary) at SchiffRadio.com. The show runs from 10am-12pm ET.

Two Articles to Refute

For senior scholars with a little spare time, or younger folks who like slaying fallacies, here are two articles to refute.

First, Fareed Zakaria, “The Savior of Europe.” (He’s referring to Mario Draghi, the new head of the ECB.) This is your classic something-for-nothing article: we can create stability, stave off crises, and restore economic health just with a little manipulation by the ECB.

Second, “14 Ways a 90 Percent Top Tax Rate Fixes Our Economy and Our Country,” over at HuffPo.