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I've been told that GCC plans to begin a Masters program in Austrian Economics within the next few years. Just thought I'd mention.

Thanks, Pete!

Let me second Pete's entire post, and especially his remarks about FEE and The Freeman, the latter of which really does fill a marvelous niche in creating a space for discussion of current policy issues, economic history, political and economic theory, and "arguments for freedom" written by a range of journalists and academics and free-lancers for the lay audience. I know of no other publication in the libertarian movement that shoots for a lay audience but has such high-level folks writing about serious intellectual issues.

One of the challenges in being an academic is making our often abstract and complex arguments digestible by non-experts. We have to do it in the context of the classroom all the time, but our audience is limited (and not always there truly of their own volition). The Freeman gives us a chance to "teach" but to an audience of thousands, and who are primed to hear what we have to say.

Obligatory self-promotion: I have three Freeman pieces coming out this spring. One on "Free Market Money and Peace", one on "The Profit Motive" and one on "Economics and Scarcity." I love writing for them and my sabbatical has given me the time to do so.

Having recently read both Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism and Hulsmann's biography of Mises, I was struck by the fact that one of the few things that both agreed on (given their very different interpretations of the last 60 years of libertarianism) was that FEE was the first and perhaps the most important "think tank" in the revival of Austrian economics and libertarianism more generally. I think they are right.

FEE is a precious resource and an institution that still fills an important niche. And it does it very well just the way it is. As Pete says, it's gotta be what it's gotta be.

All I know is that the library and classroom at FEE are two of the few places I think of as "holy." When I walk back into those rooms for the first time each summer, I always take a moment to remember and thank the people who have walked in there before me. I cannot help but be grateful for how courageous people like Read and Mises and others were in sheltering the very dim light of liberty at a time of great darkness. Those rooms humble me like no other; it is an honor to be thought of as worthy of teaching in those spaces. Without FEE, the light of liberty might never have stayed lit.


Something's going on. I wish I knew what.

I didn't know this think tank and its publications. It seems interesting.

Anyway, I have a doubt about one of the articles and I'm sorry if I'm a little bit off topic. O'Driscoll writes:

"The best possible monetary policy would maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. Monetary noise comes about when policy changes the value of money."

"In a vibrant market economy with technological innovation and ever-new profit opportunities, the monetary policy that maintains true price stability in consumer goods requires substantial monetary stimulus. That stimulus will have a number of real consequences, including asset bubbles."

The former sentence says price stability is good, the latter that its implementation causes bubbles. Is it ok?

I think O'Driscoll's point was that we should NOT want "price stability in consumer goods." When he says "maximize the signal to noise ratio" he does NOT mean price stability, rather he means "monetary equilibrium."

If you keep the money supply equal to the demand to hold it, money exercises no independent influence on the overall level of prices. Instead, that over all price level changes with changes on the "goods" side, i.e., the technological innovation etc that he mentions. Thus, with monetary equilibrium maintained, productivity growth will lead to a gently falling price level as the real cost of goods and services fall due to that productivity increase.

So the former sentence is NOT saying price stability is good because "maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio" does not equal price stability. And the sentence after that refers to "policy" changing the value of money, rather than productivity. So it's okay for prices to rise or fall if it's from the "goods" side but not if it's from the money side.

Hope that helps.

Ok. Thanks for the answer.

Mario -- I said the same thing to myself before getting to your comment!

Pete, Thanks for your kind words about FEE. I started reading FEE literature as a high school student, then attended a seminar following my freshman year in college. That led to 3 years as director of seminars at FEE and the opportunity to work with great Austrians such as the late Hans Sennholz, Israel Kirzner, Henry Hazlitt, and Bettina and Percy Greaves. I am honored to serve on the board of FEE now.

FEE's influence has been worldwide. It is the place where freedom begins, as it serves as the starting point for so many who devote their careers to the ideas of liberty.

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