Austrian Scholar’s Conference 2009
Every year the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, AL hosts a conference for scholars of the Austrian tradition to come together and share essays and ideas. This year’s conference was loaded with big names and reputable authors among the Libertarian and generally liberty-minded.
The conference opened up with a survey of recently released literature by some of those big names, including Tom Woods’ new Meltdown, Lew Rockwell’s The Left, The Right, and the State, Thomas DiLorenzo’s Hamilton’s Curse, among others. After these, a few laughs courtesy of Robert Murphy’s promotion of his Human Action study guide, and a short break for lunch, the conference really began to move forward with a talk by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
This talk on “God’s blueprint of connectivity” and the “alchemy of relationships” was insightful, and particularly humanistic in nature. Using this almost daring rhetoric in a lecture hall full of anarcho-capitalists and libertarians, the rabbi was sure to emphasize that our true end was not profit, as understood in the contemporary sensibility, but rather the relationships built in the name of creating actual wealth. He said in essence that relationships are what produces that profit, and that those relationships depend on the the inherent uniqueness of every human being. In other words, that none of our systems would function were we homogenous as a society.
There were many more to speak over the three day span, include one of the most reputable Austrian economists: Peter Schiff. Schiff delivered a lecture entitled “Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One” which enraptured the audience for a solid hour and a half, delivering a first hand glimpse at a reliable, concise forecast of our economic future.
Naturally a recurrent theme of this lecture was monetary policy, specifically having to do with the dollar’s spiral toward hyper-inflation in the midst of the current economic collapse. Schiff stressed that sooner than later the rest of the world, more importantly those still buying our debt would wise up to our inability to repay those fiscal obligations. He told a short story about a wily old man in a certain neighborhood who had hoodwinked the neighborhood kids into vying for the job of painting his fence. He related the metaphor by surmising, “We’ve got the world painting our fences, as if they don’t have their own fences to paint.” Essentially, he said the way it is now, we get all the stuff and they only get the jobs. He then fittingly asked, “What good are jobs without stuff?” In short, we are barreling straight toward a currency crisis.
After the lecture had ended, rather regrettably without a question and answer session, one mischievous young man had the audacity to ask Mr. Schiff if he was planning to run for Senate in Connecticut. “I doubt it…” he replied, with a distinct twinkle in his eye, “at least that’s what I’ve been telling everybody.” One thing is for certain, we’ll certainly find out.
The Austrian Scholar’s Conference is a wonderful forum for those economists so blessed with the consistency of the Austrian tradition to get together and share ideas. It is in this author’s opinion that the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the ideas that it promotes will become increasingly potent and popular in the near future. If you have not had the pleasure of attending one of their seminars to date, signing up for this summer’s “Mises University” would be a great place to start.
Sound money simply makes sense! It is a requisite moral truth we must assert as a part of our reality.