‘Touching is an important means for information, exchange and communication. It is a form of communication that is very important for living and surviving. Touching is essential in our life..’
‘Knowledge is a tool of action. Its function is to advise man how to proceed in his endeavor to remove uneasiness..’
– Ludwig von Mises, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, pp. 35-36
‘When Eddington put together his solar model in the 1920s the Sun was thought to be isolated in the vacuum of space. There could be no external source of energy causing it to shine. Therefore, it was assumed, the Sun must provide its own fuel to shine for billions of years. Decades earlier, Kristian Birkeland determined that charged particles from the Sun must cause the auroras. So the Sun has an electrical environment. But Birkeland’s discovery was not considered. It had no explanation at the time.’
– Wal Thornhill, Science, Politics and Global Warming, 23 December 2009
To pause and to reflect.
‘Why did Strong pursue a policy that now can seem only heedless, dangerous, and recklessly extravagant?’
‘One point is undisputed: the autocratic ruler of the Federal Reserve System, from its inception in 1914 to his death in 1928, was Benjamin Strong, a New York banker who had been named governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Strong consistently and repeatedly used his power to force an inflationary increase of money and bank credit in the American economy, thereby driving prices higher than they would have been and stimulating disastrous booms in the stock and real-estate markets. In 1927, Strong gaily told a French central banker that he was going to give “a little coup de whiskey to the stock market.” What was the point? Why did Strong pursue a policy that now can seem only heedless, dangerous, and recklessly extravagant?’
– Murray N. Rothbard, Reliving the Crash of ’29, November 12, 1979
‘By Bernanke’s own assessment, his policies brought the economy to the brink of another Great Depression.’
‘The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly voted to approve Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for another 4-year term. This is a remarkable event since it is hard to imagine how Bernanke could have performed worse in his last 4-year term. By Bernanke’s own assessment, his policies brought the economy to the brink of another Great Depression. This sort of performance in any other job would get you fired in a second, but for the most important economic policymaker in the country it gets you high praise and another 4-year term.
There is no room for ambiguity in this story. Bernanke was at the Fed since the fall of 2002. (He had a brief stint in 2005 as chair of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors.) At a point when at least some economists recognized the housing bubble and began to warn of the damage that would result from its collapse, Bernanke insisted that everything was fine and that nothing should be done to rein in the bubble.
This is worth repeating. If Bernanke knew what he was doing, he should have been able to see as early as 2002 that there was a housing bubble and that its collapse would throw the economy into a recession. It was also entirely predictable that the collapse could lead to a financial crisis of the type we saw, since housing was always a highly leveraged asset, even before the flood of subprime, Alt-A and other nonsense loans that propelled the bubble to ever greater heights. Of course as the bubble expanded, and the financial sector became ever more highly leveraged, the risks to the economy increased enormously.’
– Dean Baker, Bernanke and the Corruption of Washington Culture, December 23, 2009