Professor Brad DeLong on Austrian Economics

Producer Charlie Deist tries to cram a semester of economics into one hour with Professor J. Bradford Delong He continues to look at the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, (see part 1), which holds central banks responsible for creating booms and busts by “pumping” cheap credit into the economy and subsequently “slamming on the breaks” when inflation results. Brad DeLong is a former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is chair of the political economy major. He was also an early blogger, and is one of the most respected voices in the “neoclassical synthesis”—the hybrid of classical, Keynesian, and monetarist macroeconomics taught at universities throughout the world. DeLong has criticized Austrians for putting the blame for business cycles entirely on government. However, he too was concerned by Alan Greenspan’s excessive easing, starting all the way back in 2004, and during the lead-up to the housing bust.

Tune in to find out why DeLong considers himself a student of both Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes, and learn what it means to be a liberal in both the modern and classical senses.

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Dr. Tom Palmer on Self Control vs. State Control

With the inauguration of President-elect Trump coming later this week, citizens of the United States have developed radically divergent expectations for the next four years. Those who enthusiastically pulled the lever for Trump see a man who can “Make America Great Again” with policies prioritizing domestic interests, while many others fear that he will roll back the progressive, big-government victories of the last eight years. However, the two camps may share more in common than they realize. Both, after all, view government as a primary force to manipulate industries and individual actions to improve outcomes. Dr. Tom Palmer, executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network, has an alternative way of looking at things. His new book, “Self Control or State Control? You Decide,” goes beyond mere ideology to questions that every thinking person should be asking. His essays (among several others featured in the book) speak to the importance of personal responsibility to freedom, and offer both a historical and practical perspective to support the central conclusion: if you seek self-determination, then you must also strive for self-control.

Ian Vasquez on the Prospects for a Free Cuba

Cuban dissidents and political prisoners have waited a long time for meaningful reforms in their country – and the wait isn’t over. Even since 2006, when Fidel “El Libertador” Castro ceded power to his younger brother Raul, the government has continued to oppress its people and shackle its economy. Despite rumors of a sunny socialist utopia 90 miles from the Florida Keys, the reality is that Cuba remains mired in poverty and human rights abuses at the hands of its authoritarian leaders. However, there have been doubts about the effectiveness of the United States’ attempts to undermine the Castro regime, especially when it comes to the long-standing trade embargo. Such policies may just provide ammunition to the Cuban government in the form of an external excuse for the widespread misery brought about by central planning. Ian Vasquez claims that freer travel and (eventually) trade with the U.S. may not defeat the communist regime, but they will help advocates for a free Cuba by growing the small, “informal” private sector in an economy mostly run by and for the state. Vasquez is director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He joins the show against the backdrop of President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba to discuss the changes that are taking place. Bob looks to uncover a realistic view of the prospects for a free Cuba, and find out how Americans can help support a thriving civil society, as philanthropists, consumers and tourists.

Randal O'Toole on Rising Rents

The Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole (aka the @antiplanner) returns to the show to discuss the epidemic of rising rents in metropolitan areas across America. As usual, planners at the federal, regional, and local levels have a policy solution in search of a problem, and are creating new problems in the process. They cite the lack of affordable urban housing near public transit as justification for “growth management”, but their plans end up discouraging developers from increasing the supply of the most-needed kinds of housing. Basic economics predicts the devastating endgame for the lower and middle classes: The rent is too damn high. One solution, on which even partisans can agree, is land deregulation. Yet top-down urban transformations like Plan Bay Area, for example, continue to rule the day. While O'Toole grants that some planning and regulation is necessary to minimize the negative externalities of large numbers living in urban areas, he argues that “urban planning itself has become the externality.” Tune in for the show of ideas, not attitude – on Talk910.com or 910AM in the SF Bay Area.