Video: Bob Layson on the Management of The Economy

Do economies actually exist or are there merely patterns of trade between consenting, economising, producers? It is undeniable that countries and governments and the people subject to them, exist. Various prods and pats given by governments (tariffs, bounties, taxes, subsidies, prescriptions and prohibitions, issuance of state money) certainly exist too, and are described as being ‘good for the economy’. State money, in particular, seems to exist in ever and ever greater quantity but economies are not things that exist in the same sense.

Employing a mix of historical account and theoretical analysis Bob Layson’s talk ranges from the rise of specialist private production of goods for barter, to the use of a commodity money, and then the mismanagement of money by princes and potentates: coin clipping; coin sweating; coin adulteration. A payment of the state debt in coins baring the same name but having a reduced or adulterated content and purchasing power. From monarchs and mercantilism on to parliaments, a proportionately smaller state, a gold standard, and free trade – and, unfortunately, empire.

Are business cycles endemic to the market process? No. A free market recession requires a great deal of government compulsion, and Bob has he the recipe. For the evil of chronic mass unemployment to triumph it is necessary only for “good” men in office to “do something”.

Keynesian demand management is a policy response to the effect of previous interventionist policies – fiscal, institutional, regulatory and monetary – and is equally unnecessary.

The speaker concludes that national floating fiat monies have not resulted in either greater growth or a lower rate of unemployment than a single world commodity money would have allowed.

Why Hayek matters

Friedrich Hayek portraitThis Wednesday 26 September at the St Stephens Club:

Dr Eamonn Butler talks to the Adam Smith Institute about the relevance of the ideas of Friedrich Hayek to understanding contemporary economic issues.

Dr Butler also seems likely to talk about his book “Friedrich Hayek”, which will be on sale.

Many of you will be all over Hayek already, but for those that aren’t this seems like a great place to start.

Full details available at the ASI.

Why Britain needs the euro – Sep 6th

© wfabry

Libertarians are known for enjoying a good debate, and rumours abound that we are also partial  to hot headed arguments. I am hoping that this last generalistion turns out to be unjustified on September 6th because I think that this month’s speaker at the Rose and Crown will edge Harry Aldridges’ UKIP sales pitch as perhaps the most contentious subject to take on. Come to think of it, Mr Aldridge left looking reasonably happy, so perhaps we’ll be okay.

I will let the speaker, Chistian Michel, give you a taster of his argument. Christian thinks that Britain, rather than avoiding the doomed authoritarian political project,  should actually  join the euro, and do so with the active support of libertarians:

 I start from the following propositions, which I think libertarians will not disagree with:

  1. The greater the number of economic agents using the same currency, the better that currency can serve its purpose as means of payment; national currencies are obsolete
  2. The greater the independence of a bank of issue, the more reliably its currency can be used as a store of value

The euro has the potential to satisfy these two requirements. It is issued by a central bank, which does not derive its legitimacy from any national sovereignty, and that is its virtue.

Never let it be said that I am closed to opinions I oppose!

Christian, I am assured, is a bona fides libertarian who has consistently advocated for economic liberty consistently for many years and has earnt the respect of the community. He also has considerable economic expertise from running his own financial business out of Geneva. He is the author of books and papers published by the Institut Economique de Paris and Hampden Press, notably La Liberté, deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle; Vivre Ensemble; Bricks of Freedom; The Class Struggle Is Not Over

Christian is away and does not know it, but his talk will need to begin a little later than usual to make way for a round of announcements, but please be there at 8pm to get the full benefit of the evening’s formal session. As ever, the informal bit officially starts from 7pm, though regulars often arrive earlier at their convenience. Lately, we have been in the beer garden for the start of the evening but we will see. The talk will happen upstairs in the function room, accessed from behind the bar.

A map, and the option to RSVP (which I like) is available on