Austrian School of Common Sense

The Crack Up Boom

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973 ) was a notable and highly respected economist and a major influence on the modern libertarian movement. He has been called the "uncontested dean of the Austrian School of economics". The Ludwig von Mises Institute is named after him. The Ludwig von Mises Institute is a libertarian academic organization engaged in research and scholarship in the fields of economics, philosophy and political economy. It generally advances a view of government and economics expressed by Ludwig von Mises. The Institute is funded entirely through private donations and does not consider itself a traditional think tank. While it has working relationships with individuals such as U.S. Representative Ron Paul and organizations, it does not seek to implement public policy and has no formal affiliation with any political party (including the Libertarian Party), nor does it receive funding from any. The Institute also has a formal policy of not accepting contract work from corporations or other organizations.

Von Mises believed that significant credit expansion created business cycles. He continually warned of the dangers in inflation which can lead to hyperinflation and of the importance of governments and central banks not resorting to massive credit creation and the printing presses in order to prolong an artificially induced economic boom.

"The course of a progressing inflation is this: At the beginning the inflow of additional money makes the prices of some commodities and services rise; other prices rise later. The price rise affects the various commodities and services, as has been shown, at different dates and to a different extent. This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years. While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to the altered money relation. There are still people in the country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services. These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy.

But then finally the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against "real" goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things that are used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them. It was this that happened with the Continental currency in America in 1781, with the French mandats territoriaux in 1796, and with the German Mark in 1923. It happened with the dollar in 1973. It will happen again whenever the same conditions appear. If a thing has to be used as a medium of exchange, public opinion must not believe that the quantity of this thing will increase beyond all bounds. Inflation is a policy that cannot last."

Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit

Source: Gold Investments Market Update

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