Archive for Christopher Westley

An Austrian Economist Reports From a Mainstream Economics Conference

6922Mises Daily Thursday by Christopher Westley:

Christopher Westley reports from this year’s National Association of Business Economists Convention. He finds that the mainstream’s intellectual blinders are firmly in place, and that the “fatal conceit” Friedrich Hayek wrote about in 1988 is alive and well in 2014.

Now in Italian: ‘How Consumers Rule In a Free Economy’

Chris Westley’s article explaining how Carl Menger put consumers front and center in determining value has been translated into Italian: “I consumatori sono i re in un’economia di libero mercato.”

When Steelers Steal

6798Mises Daily Thursday by Christopher Westley:

In a free-market economy, firms threatened with competition often respond by searching for ways to increase efficiencies, attempting to lower costs and improving on economies of scale and scope. Meanwhile, protectionists and labor unions seek to avoid having to become more efficient by simply outlawing competition.

How Consumers Rule In a Free Economy

6749Christopher Westley writes in today’s Mises Daily:

Nonetheless, the values of all of the goods of whatever order are derived from the initial subjective desire on the part of the individual to satisfy a felt need, so that rubber has value not in itself or in the work effort going into its production, but because of the initial human desire for transportation, leading to a human preference for cars. This understanding of goods contrasted greatly with the Classical economist’s notion that the value of economic inputs is based on their technical usefulness in production. Menger’s value theory represents an expansion of Say’s Law that supply creates its own demand, and is the proper theoretical response to the monetary and credit cranks (of Menger’s time as well as today) who see no difference between government-created and -directed capital and privately-created and -directed capital.

Should E-Cig Manufacturers Love the FDA?

6743 (1)Christopher Westley writes in today’s Mises Daily:

If the purpose of anti-smoking regulation was about, you know, actually reducing smoking, then one might presume regulatory authorities would champion the emergence of smoking substitutes. But it was never about this. It was, and is, always about control, and the result is a Bizarro World in which e-cig manufacturers apparently support the use of extra-market force against the sale of their products.

Ben Bernanke Gets His Reward

6700Christopher Westley writes in today’s Mises Daily: 

“Bernanke Enjoys the ‘Fruits of the Free Market,’” or so we’re told in a Reuters headlinefrom March 4 about the former Fed chairman’s 40-minute speech in Abu Dhabi for which he received, ahem, $250,000. In the Reuters author’s defense, he was only quoting a DC lobbyist who was defending the amount, and added, Bernanke “will personally experience supply and demand.”

Well, yes, it’s just supply and demand and all that. No big deal and if you don’t like it, you must have something against markets. Still, it would be nice (and a bigger deal) if these reporters would quote someone outside of the accepted intellectual class of the Boswash corridor so compromised by being among the primary beneficiaries of all the new money Chairman Ben and his comrades created, ex nihilo, when he wasn’t shooting baskets in the Marriner Eccles building. If they did, they might hear some healthy skepticism about these events in which top officials cash in on their “public service” via contacts with the very industries they benefited while in office.

Labor and Energy Regulations Take Us To the Cleaners

6657Christopher Westley writes in today’s Mises Daily

With my own broken dryer, I could have dipped into savings and bought a new low-end model for about half a grand, but this was an option I wanted to avoid. I could have contacted a repair service, but the cost could have easily reached the price of a new machine.

Both outcomes result from restrictions on market forces that hinder both the supply of dryers and availability of repair. “Energy Star” compliance standards on appliances have increased production costs so as to cartelize this industry while providing only negligible benefits in terms of power efficiency. Meanwhile, labor market interventions, especially on the entry-level side of the market, have reduced the supply of repairmen, thus allowing existing repairmen the ability to claim higher wages than they would otherwise. For people (like myself) who do not live in a big city, evenfinding a repairman can be difficult.

100 Years Ago: Why Bankers Created the Fed

6616Christopher Westley writes in today’s Mises Daily, on the Fed’s 100th birthday:

The boom and bust cycle, explained by the Austrian School in such detail, became worse and worse in the period leading up to 1913. And with the rise of Progressive Era spending on war and welfare, and with the pressure on banks to inflate to finance this activity, the boom and bust cycles worsened even more. If there was one saving grace about this period it would be that banks were forced to internalize their losses. When banks faced runs on their currencies, private financiers would bail them out. But this arrangement didn’t last, so when the losses grew, those financiers would secretly organize to reintroduce central banking to America, thus engineering an urgent need for a new “lender of last resort.” The result was the Federal Reserve.

This was the implicit socialization of the banking industry in the United States. People called the Federal Reserve Act the Currency Bill, because it was to create a bureaucracy that would assume the currency-creating duties of member banks.

It was like the Patriot Act, in that both were centralizing bills that were written years in advance by people who were waiting for the appropriate political environment in which to introduce them. It was like our current health care bills, in which cartelized firms in private industry wrote chunks of the legislation behind closed doors long before they were introduced in Congress.