This past Saturday, my wife and I spent a fascinating day learning about the Austrian School of Economics (von Mises, Hayek, etc.).  I was only superficially informed about the Austrian School and wanted to learn more.  Much of the previous reading I had done on the subject was due to exposure to the concepts in Imprimis, the free speech digest of Hillsdale College.  If you know nothing about Hillsdale College and their history with the IRS and the U.S. Government, you owe it to yourself to read about the institution and how our government fought for 10 years to control their admissions policy.

The speakers were Robert Murphy and Richard Ebeling.  Both spoke clearly and convincingly about the need to understand the direction of the current Leadership of our Economy in Washington, D.C. and the probable results of the actions being taken by Mr. Obama, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, etc.  It is not a pretty picture.

There were many high points to the day, but I will only mention a couple, briefly.  If you want more information, you can learn about the Freedom Seminars (started 20 years ago by the owners of Columbia Food Machinery Company in Salem, Oregon).

One most interesting discussion with a fellow attendee during a break was about labels.  It is common practice to demonize conservatives, libertarians, liberals, socialists and others based on labels that place large numbers under one roof allowing commentators to ascribe all manner of evil (usually the worst traits/views of the most extreme members of the group) to all who are placed under one of the labels.  Her view was that the best way around this problem was to classify all participants in our current political debate as either Big Government/High Tax or SmallGovernment/Low Tax.  I found the classification system interesting.  It solves the problem of definition quite well.  Is Mr. X, your Congressman, a Liberal, a Socialist, a Moderate?  That might be hard to pin down since each of those labels has more definitions than Carter has Pills.  But, is he in favor of and does he vote consistently for Big Government and Higher Taxes?  That is usually a simple answer.  Whether I completely agree with the Libertarians or not, or if I even know enough about the idea to properly define it, I do know that I favor the vast majority of actions that will make our government smaller and will lower our taxes.  Nice concept.

One interesting part of the presentation was Mr. Murphy commenting on the wisdom or lack thereof of the views and commentary by Mr. Paul Krugman, the Keynesian Economist, New York Times Op-Ed columnist, self proclaimed Liberal.  Mr. Murphy thinks that Mr. Krugman is full of poop and his views fly in the face of the facts(my very polite way of expressing the opinion).  He has challenged Mr. Krugman to a Debate.  His method of promoting the debate and convincing Mr. Krugman to accept the challenge is quite clever.

Though I have only commented briefly on a couple of thoughts from Saturday, this seminar caused a great deal of thinking and a desire to ‘hit the books’ to learn more.  If all it accomplishes is to force me to read, think and study more, it will have been worthwhile.  If you take the time to try a few of the links on this page, I hope it will cause you, too, to consider learning more about the Austrian School of Economics.

Please also see the post on QE.