Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview of Dr. Mark Skousen at The Daily Bell

These comments are in reply to the interview found at:

@DB, I can understand why your afterthoughts went the direction they did, in order to deflect from the less than compelling comments by your interview subject. This was one horrific set of comments by your interviewee.

First of all, his five questions: talk about dancing on the periphery. These are questions of the type one would ask if one believed tinkering on the edges of a corrupt system would actually change things.


“Europe is cutting back on government spending…”

Where, exactly is this happening? As far as I can tell, there may be reductions on what was planned for growth…at best. But when a EUR 10 billion "cut" is accompanied by a EUR 100 billion bank bailout, tell me, where exactly is the reduction in government spending?

“…while engaged in monetary expansion…Of course, libertarians do not believe in managing the economy through central banking, but we are stuck with the system we have.”

What libertarian speaks like this? We are also “stuck” with the system of politicians spending more money than they take from the governed, but Skousen has no trouble speaking against this.

“Within the parameters of this system, monetary expansion is likely to be more effective than government spending…”

Who says? Austrians would take honest money over balanced budgets, knowing the former is a much greater provider of discipline on the latter than the other way around. Creating play money sends the worst of all signals to the market, as “money” is the most basic building block in any free-market, capitalistic system. Government deficits, honestly financed, are far less distortive to the economy than printing funny money.

“Since then, I have argued that once you have gone off the gold standard it is very difficult to go back on it because it would cause a major redistribution of wealth to the gold holders who tend to be speculators and wealthier individuals.”

THIS is the big concern? As opposed to the major distributions of wealth caused by fiat money? So the scam artists who siphoned trillions from the bubbles created over the last 100 years can continue their game, but those who happened to rightly see the end of the scam approaching should not be allowed to be kept whole? The and real estate thefts can continue, but not a return to honest money?

And, it isn’t so difficult to return to a gold standard. Just allow competition in money, without legal tender laws or other tax consequences that penalize one choice over another. The market will resolve this false difficulty, and reasonably smoothly.

Where to begin regarding his discussion of the EU? He could have done a much better job separating the issue of the EU from the Euro, and his answer was fully supportive of the benefits of aggregation of government power in ever higher and less accountable forms.

“Have you ever seen the picture of how much water is surrounding the China sea and how much they consider is theirs? It's not 200 miles – it just keeps going and going.”

He is worried about China? Take out “China sea” from his quote and insert “United States.” This will make the perspective of his viewpoint much more clear.

“The majority of time Americans are problem solvers; the sun eventually comes out again. Traditional bond and stock markets perform better. It would be sad commentary if we didn't have that kind of situation. It would be like being a millionaire on a sinking ship. Who wants to be a millionaire on the Titanic?”

This quote could have come from any number of drug peddlers at the NY Times. It does nothing to properly address the current situation of the United States or the rest of the world.

“So, I am optimistic that we will get new leadership, reasonable policies and sound economics.”

The answer will be found in politics? Seriously?

“They paid me $100,000 in advance for Econopower.”

Who cares?

DB – I would appreciate seeing the list of the other speakers you have coming to your event in April. It is sad commentary if Skousen is representative of the conference. Your writing and philosophy are a world away from his comments. I do not understand why there would be such a connection….

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