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Tag Archives: central planning

Open Letter to John Taft, Report 17 Dec

Dear Mr. Taft: I eagerly read your piece Warriors for Opportunity on Wednesday, as I often do about pieces that argue that capitalism is not working today. You begin by saying: “Financial capitalism – free markets powered by a robust financial system – is the dominant economic model in the world today. Yet many who have benefited from the system agree it’s not working the way it ought to.” Leaving aside that our financial system is not robust—the interest rate is...

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Targeting nGDP Targeting, Report 3 Nov

Not too long ago, we wrote about the so called Modern Monetary so called Theory (MMT). It is not modern, and it is not a theory. We called it a cargo cult. You’d think that everyone would know that donning fake headphones made of coconut shells, and waving tiki torches will not summon airplanes loaded with cargo. At least the people who believe in this have the excuse of being illiterate. You’d think that everyone would know that printing fake money and waving bogus...

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Treasury Bond Backwardation, Report 22 Sep

Something happened in the credit market this week. A Barron’s article about it began: “There have been disruptions in the plumbing of U.S. markets this week. While the process of fixing them was bumpy, it was more of a technical mishap than a cause for investor concern.” Keep Calm and Carry On So, before they tell us what happened, they tell us it’s just plumbing, it’s been fixed, and that we should not be concerned. The article asserts that the reasons for the...

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Directive 10-289, Report 25 Aug

Everyone must ask himself the question. Do you want the world to move to an honest money system, or do you just want gold to go up (we italicize discussion of apparent moves in gold, because it’s the dollar that’s moving down—not gold going up—but we sometimes frame it in mainstream terms). Gold’s Going Up We have written about the tension between these two goals before. Many people start with the former. They come to gold, as they begin to realize that the dollar...

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GDP Begets More GDP (Positive Feedback), Report 30 June

Last week, we discussed the fundamental flaw in GDP. GDP is a perfect tool for central planning tools. But for measuring the economy, not so much. This is because it looks only at cash revenues. It does not look at the balance sheet. It does not take into account capital consumption or debt accumulation. Any Keynesian fool can add to GDP by borrowing to spend. But that is not economic growth. Borrowing to Consume Today,...

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What Gets Measures Gets Improved, Report 23 June

Let’s start with Frederic Bastiat’s 170-year old parable of the broken window. A shopkeeper has a broken window. The shopkeeper is, of course, upset at the loss of six francs (0.06oz gold, or about $75). Bastiat discusses a then-popular facile argument: the glass guy is making money (to which all we can say is, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”). Bastiat says it is true, and this is the seen. The glazier does...

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Is Capital Creation Beating Capital Consumption? Report 3 Mar

We have written numerous articles about capital consumption. Our monetary system has a falling interest rate, which causes both capital churn and conversion of one party’s wealth into another’s income. It also has too-low interest, which encourages borrowing to consume (which, as everyone knows, adds to Gross Domestic Product—GDP). What Is Capital At the same time, of course entrepreneurs are creating new capital. Keith...

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Central Planning Is More than Just Friction, Report 17 February

It is easy to think of government interference into the economy like a kind of friction. If producers and traders were fully free, then they could improve our quality of life—with new technologies, better products, and lower prices—at a rate of X. But the more that the government does, the more it burdens them. So instead of X rate of progress, we get the same end result but 10% slower or 20% slower. Some would go so...

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What They Don’t Want You to Know about Prices, Report 10 Feb

Last week, in part I of this essay, we discussed why a central planner cannot know the right interest rate. Central planner’s macroeconomic aggregate measures like GDP are blind to the problem of capital consumption, including especially capital consumption caused by the central plan itself. GDP has an intrinsic bias towards consumption, and makes no distinction between consumption of the yield on capital, and...

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Rising Interest and Prices, Report 13 Jan 2019

For years, people blamed the global financial crisis on greed. Doesn’t this make you want to scream out, “what, were people not greedy in 2007 or 1997??” Greed utterly fails to explain the phenomenon. It merely serves to reinforce a previously-held belief. Far be it from us to challenge previously-held beliefs (OK, OK, we may engage in some sacred-ox-goring from time to time), but this is not a scientific approach to...

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