21 Sep 2009

Murphy in Seattle, on Bickering Economists and Unemployment in the Depression

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This is the 30-minute talk I gave at the Seattle Mises Circle. To understand one of the opening jokes, you need to know that before my talk, Walter Block gave his. He has distributed a small sheet of paper with a table of present-value calculations at various interest rates and maturities. (E.g. $1 delivered in 2050 would today be worth x cents at an interest rate of y%.) Block used the table to explain the Austrian theory of the business cycle, and how Greenspan’s low interest rates stimulated long-term investments like housing.

Later in his talk, Block was ridiculing the theory that “greed” caused the recent financial crash. He said that greed has always been with us, and also pointed out that “greed is good,” correctly interpreted. Then he said something like, “I mean, we all remember being a little kid and wanting stuff, and I was 6 years old learning about how much money I could have if I would just invest it.”

So with that background, you can enjoy the opening jokes:

And for what it’s worth, this guy thought it was funny.

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