One of the consequences of the housing bust was a renewed interest in the Austrian school of economics – sales of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom soared, and once marginalised ideas are now becoming reconsidered. We naturally seek alternative explanations when things go tits up. The mainstream economists clearly got it wrong.
One of the earliest blogs I began to read when my interest in politics was growing was Samizdata. It’s also one of the few that has remained on my reading list – it is consistently one of my favourite reads each day.
They’ve a series of posts on how the ideas of Mises, Hayek and the wider Austrian school are now increasingly becoming the “number 2” in the battle of ideas.
The point being not to win arguments like this, but to have them, to let everyone listening know that, when it comes to things like whether Roosevelt had a good Great Depression or a bad Great Depression, there is an argument.
When I was taught the Great Depression in high school, there was no debate about the causes or whether Roosevelt made it worse. How many of us were taught in school or college that there is a school of economic thought that is critical of the very existence of central banking? Not that this school may be right, but simply that it is out there.
(I’m currently reading Schlicter’s book Paper Money Collapse. I hope to write a review once I finish it.)
I am reminded of the following quote, apparently from Gandhi, and one I am sure I read on Samizdata somewhere in relation to this topic, but I can’t track it down now.
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.