Mises Institute Summit 2008 Review

The 2008 Mises Institute Supporters Summit

The GoScottRonld Standard Revisited

This past weekend was a chance for many of the Mises Institute’s supporters to get together, get familiar, and get updated on the Austrian tradition’s interpretation of recent events.  The focus of this weekend seminar was on the gold standard, and the increasingly desperate need for sound money in today’s fiat fiasco of an economy.  Speakers, local and international, delivered the message of monetary sanity to the supporters and students in attendance, as well as those who tuned in around the world via Mises.org.  Talks were given by many of today’s great outspoken Austrian Economists, by very special guests such as Judge Andrew Napolitano, and by the hero of the decade, Congressman Ron Paul.

The material was enriching and enlightening, as can be regularly expected of such great minds.  Warnings of the dangers of letting the government nationalize and further monopolize the financial sector rang throughout almost every lecture.  Calls to sound monetary policy; grounded in the foundation of liberty and the consistent, reliable ethics of individualistic equality underlaid a number of the passionate assertions of fiscal reality given by those in-the-know.  Commentary on the continued assaults on liberty and the expansion of the surveillance and police states were right there, hand-in-hand with talks on the restrictions already choking out economic freedom and naturally free markets.  Lew Rockwell delivered one of the most potent sermons on “How abolishing the Fed would change everything (for the better),” which I encourage everyone to seek out on the Mises website.

Ron Paul, in his usual strong, but modest way, said during his speech after receiving the Henry Hazlitt Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Cause of Liberty, that we should stop calling the understanding of the Austrian Business Cycle a “theory,” and rather call it properly an “explanation” due to its reliability and common sense nature.  Without getting into too much detail, one can surmise it as “what goes up must come down” when it comes to fiat inflation, and the fed’s manipulation of the interest rate as the root of false credit, naturally doomed to produce mal-investment by its detached nature from the amount of real resources available.

Thomas Woods, always an engaging and entertaining presenter, commented on the “incestuous nature of bank and state” and explained how the results of these sorts of abuses are easily imputed onto various scapegoats, typically groups already disdained by the majority of society.  He outlined the necessity for the separation of bank and state, as it holds just as much relevance to preventing the government’s propagation of superstition as does the separation of the state from the church.  If there were a truly free banking system he says, there would be as much of a chance for inflation as there would be for treasonous bailouts- zero.  What it all boils down to is that without sound money, and rather with a fiat currency based on perpetual inflation, any ‘booms’ created through the manipulation of credit are likened to drug induced dreams.  If you keep trying to inject more dream booms, you’ll eventually kill the user.

In fact, as John Denson pointed out, the largest denomination of a currency ever was printed as recently as 1993, with the issuance of the 500b dinar note in Yugoslavia.  What would that get you?  A single gallon of milk.  Dr. Mark Thornton had commented shortly beforehand that hyperinflation is one of the most dangerous contributors to breakdowns in social order, as it undermines the systems of prices we depend on for society.  He reemphasized that we should get the government out of the banking industry.  Money is a commodity, and it too has its price.  An added bonus and incentive for this separation is that if the government can no longer print money, creating it out of thin air on loan from other nations (taxing the generations of the future), it will find itself in its own credit crunch, forcing it to cut spending and maintain a more literal sense of the word “accountability.”  Perhaps then we will finally be relieved of a government bent on perpetual warfare…

There was a great deal discussed in the short time we were in Auburn, certainly much more than I can hope to relay in a short article online.  Much of the Austrian School is still new to me, as the first time I had ever heard of the Mises Institute was while I was campaigning with the Students for Ron Paul in Iowa in December, 2007.  “Who in the world cares about Austrian Economics in Auburn Alabama?” was my rather shocked reply upon discovery of how close I lived to the Institute.  Nevertheless, through the Mises University experience this past summer as well as this follow-up over Halloween weekend, the consistency of principle and overall coherency have lent well to quick learning.

Of course any opportunity to thank Dr. Paul once again for his courage and contributions to our future is a welcome one, and worth a drive if not a flight.  I even had the opportunity to ask for his comments on whether or not he thought the Executive would use the impending economic collapse as an excuse to institute martial law after his speech upon receiving the Hazlitt Award.  He replied that it would be a safe assumption that we would continue to have our liberties assaulted, and that we would soon find ourselves even less free than we are today.  While this is a frightening reality considering the degree to which our “fascist shift,” as Naomi Wolf has termed it, has already been implemented, it’s good to know there’s a place like the Mises Institute where the liberty minded can congregate and plan for our future.

The sooner we free ourselves of the blight of fiat currency and fractional-reserve banking, the sooner we get the governmental fox out of our financial henhouse. As soon as we return to sound money and a government for the people, by the people, instead of “for the banks, by the banks”, we will once again be able to truly live free and pursue that ever-elusive happiness of the American Dream.  Here’s to freedom, here’s to ethical monetary systems, and here’s to Dr. Paul!

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