14 Nov 2012

Learn the Austrian Take on the Great Depression

Economics, Federal Reserve, Shameless Self-Promotion 12 Comments

Here’s the full infomercial for my class on the Great Depression that starts this Friday. We’ve got Depression-era pricing of only $59 for a 5-week course. I’m excited to teach this so bust out your credit card. An excerpt:

The weekly lectures will run from November 16 through December 14. The first week will provide a background overview of the classical gold standard, as well as Calvin Coolidge’s fiscal policies. We will see that the modern habit of blaming the gold standard for the Great Depression — common among Keynesians but also Friedmanite monetarists — makes little sense.

In week two we will tackle the crucial question of the Federal Reserve’s culpability. The assigned readings will (of course) include large selections from Murray Rothbard’s book America’s Great Depression, which blames the Fed for an unsustainable credit boom in the 1920s. Yet we will also cover the Friedman/Schwartz hypothesis, that it was the Fed’s inaction (or tight money) in the late 1920s and early 1930s that was ultimately responsible for the Depression.

In the third and fourth weeks we will explore the policies of the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations, noting their similarities. In addition to the treatment given by Rothbard, we will review the modern work by UCLA economists who analyze the New Deal as a cartel.

Finally, in the fifth week we will consider the Keynesian theories that the “double dip” depression in 1937–38 can be attributed to premature fiscal austerity, and that the ultimate solution to the Great Depression came in the form of military spending on World War II. Here we will rely on the revisionist work of Bob Higgs, but also the anecdotal descriptions of civilian life published more recently by Steve Horwitz and Michael McPhillips.

12 Responses to “Learn the Austrian Take on the Great Depression”

  1. Joseph Fetz says:

    I think I already know the Austrian take, but dang that’s a good price. I just may be able to swing it, plus I want to at least take one class to see how it works.

    • Dan Lind says:

      I took Bob’s “Anatomy of the Fed” course earlier this year.

      Scrape together the 59 bucks, Bob is very good. He communicates well and his insistence on his own precision and accuracy is exquisite.

      Plus he’s on webcam and you get to see him roll his eyes upwards when it appears he’s thinking through a problem and is searching for just the right phrase. Perhaps that’s Bob’s way of looking for guidance.


      • Bob Murphy says:

        Plus he’s on webcam and you get to see him roll his eyes upwards when it appears he’s thinking through a problem and is searching for just the right phrase.

        Yes I’ve noticed I do that too. At some point I will be famous enough for people to do an impression.

  2. Jeff says:

    If you thought maybe Bob was just pretending about this whole Austrian economics thing, I recommend taking one of his courses so you can see for yourself. His love for and understanding of the material comes across in his lectures and explanations. If you’re lucky, he made even throw in a Big Lebowski reference and some karaoke.

  3. Tel says:

    If you want it to be useful, I guess you have to buy the Rothbard book, which is also being offered at an attractive price. The total still comes out under a hundred bucks. Better deal than most teaching establishments.

    I’ve recently quit my job but I can probably still find the money. Have to consider where my time is better spent… looking for more work, educating myself on the Great Depression, getting into AI programming competitions on the Internet or sitting back in the garden knocking down cheap Australian wine before my beloved dear leader bans the stuff (yes the central planners really do intend to ban cheap win in this country).

    Big decisions coming up, this is more pressure than voting.

  4. President Awesome says:

    BM – that looks like a very interesting lecture. I hope you can get your views and comments on a broader stage in the coming years. On a side note – do you have similar views to the “chicago school” – aren’t they more influenced to some extent by the austrian view?

    on an even “sider” note – Can anyone recommend a good book(s) on classical view, the keynes development, the new keynesian, and critique of each- or other keynes strains (i’m guessing krugman is one of strains).

  5. Ken B says:

    I see a Kindle version of the Rothbard for under $5.

    And I see Bob’s book in Kindle for $10.

    Alas the rat b*stards at my library don’t have either. (I am reliably informed authors prefer you get the book from the library as it’s government spending and the multiplier is higher.)

    • Matt Tanous says:

      What if it is a private library? Do those even exist anymore? If not, I intend to open one – it will get around the “free” nature of the government ones by actually having all the books in the various series that are carried. Oh, and also having Rothbard. No government library I have ever seen has Rothbard.

      • Ken B says:

        No no. Only PUBLIC libraries have a multiplier. Books languish in PRIVATE libraries as unused, idle resources.

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