Economics

Swiss Parliament to discuss gold franc

16 Franken, Helvetic republic, 1800, Gold

16 Franken, Helvetic republic, 1800, Gold

Following our Cobden Centre Radio interview last week with Thomas Jacob, and his plans to use a democratic Swiss plebiscite to re-introduce a Swiss gold franc, it is great to see that this story is beginning to grow, with an article in Marketwatch.

Here’s a quote:

Switzerland, which in 2000 became one of the last countries to decouple its currency from gold, is not the only place to contemplate a change in the precious metal’s role amid controversy over government involvement in the economy. In March, Utah became the first state in the U.S. to legalize gold and silver coins as currency, while similar legislation was considered in Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Idaho and Indiana.

“I want Swiss people to have the freedom to choose a completely different currency,” said Thomas Jacob, the man behind the gold franc concept. ”Today’s monetary system is all backed by debt — all backed by nothing — and I want people to realize this.”

To read the full article, click here.

UPDATE: The Swiss gold franc is also discussed by Eric King and Jim Rickards at 20 minutes into this interview, broadcast on Saturday.

Cobden Centre Radio

Cobden Centre Radio: Europe’s Deep Freeze of Debt

In this latest Cobden Centre Radio programme, I interview Professor David Howden, a member of our Advisory Board, about his new book, Deep Freeze: Iceland’s Economic Collapse, co-authored with Professor Philipp Bagus.

Amongst other subjects, we fly south from Iceland down to Ireland, then compare how these two North Atlantic islands are coping with their respective economic crises, before Howden considers Portugal, Greece, and Spain, and how the fate of these nations may be tied to the immediate fate of the Euro, by weighing up the latest evidence from an Austrian perspective:

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Cobden Centre Radio: Toby Baxendale on Hayek and Private Currency

F. A. Hayek

Toby Baxendale was recently interviewed by Dave Birch of Consult Hyperion. The interview talks about both the goals of the Cobden Centre and Hayek’s beliefs about competing private currencies as a pathway towards honest money and how this might be achieved via digital technology.

We thought you might like to hear this 26-minute interview, on Cobden Centre Radio:

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Cobden Centre Radio: Brian Micklethwait interviews Detlev Schlichter

Brian Micklethwait speaks to Detlev Schlichter on his upcoming book, Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown.

As a derivatives trader for 19 years, Detlev Schlichter resigned his position as a senior bond portfolio manager in 2009 to work full-time on this book, about fiat monetary systems and financial crises. He therefore knows of what he speaks. In this extensive and detailed interview, he explores with Brian Micklethwait what we should do to get our current financial problems behind us; this one really is worth listening to in its 35-minute entirety.

“Paper money systems are unstable and so is our system.  It will end.  It will most likely end badly.  It will most likely end soon.”

Speaking from a heavily-influenced Austrian position, Herr Schlichter examines what would happen if we did the ‘right’ thing by turning off the Keynesian money printing spigot — and exposing all of those malinvestments — and what might happen if we keep going into the Götterdämmerung of the fiat money system with the ‘wrong’ thing, by allowing the spigot to pump even faster.

“Paper money systems have always collapsed in history. None of them have survived. And our system is really not that old. It only became a complete one hundred per cent paper money system in 1971, when the dollar became an irredeemable piece of paper. Central banks could still convert it into gold until 1971.”

Amongst many other sub-plots, debating the relative influences of Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard, there’s also a fascinating sub-discussion about the role of paper money in the collapse of the medieval Chinese empire, which allowed the later domination of China by the western powers of Europe, such as Portugal and Britain.

For those interested in the work of Herr Schlichter, and up-to-date comments upon an unfolding global financial situation, you can find his personal web page, here.

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Cobden Centre Radio: The Philipp Bagus Interview

Today, on Cobden Centre Radio, I speak to Professor Philipp Bagus, the author of The Tragedy of the Euro, about his book, his current views on the future of the Euro, his discovery of the world of Austrian Economics and his emergence into its academic mainstream, plus much more, in a 25-minute interview.

We also discuss his upcoming Murray N. Rothbard memorial lecture, at the Mises Institute’s Austrian Scholars Conference, the publication of his new book on Iceland, in conjunction with Professor David Howden, and how the revolutions in the Middle East will be used as good coverage for price inflation by the world’s central banks, and why this argument will be easily seen as spurious.

The books mentioned in the interview can be downloaded from the following sites:

The Two IMF papers mentioned in the interview can be downloaded as PDFs by clicking through the following links:

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Cobden Centre Radio: The Sam Bowman Interview

Brian Micklethwait speaks to Sam Bowman, the Research Manager at the Adam Smith Institute (responsible for the blog and for overseeing the ASI’s briefing papers, think pieces and reports) and also our Education Network Executive Director, here at the Cobden Centre.

Brian explores Mr Bowman’s personal road towards Austrianism, his work for the Cobden Centre expanding the knowledge of Austrian Ecomomics via the various reading circles and educational events that he organises and runs, and his ideas for the future expansion of this network.

In a fascinating and interesting interview, Brian and Sam also debate the conflict between statism and libertarianism in the media; the cultural milieu of Britain, where an organisation like the Bank of England — which is as statist as the NHS — can be so easily held up as a symbol of capitalism by its enemies; and many other similar topics, such as the recent financial developments in Ireland and the recent political developments in the Middle East.

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Cobden Centre Radio: The Iberian Situation

In a detailed 28-minute conversation, I spoke last night to Professor David Howden, Associate Professor of Economics at St. Louis University, in Madrid, about the current fiscal situation in Portugal and Spain, particularly as regards the Euro and its ongoing woes and tribulations in the international bond markets:

We also brushed upon the debt and deficit situation here in Britain, the mysterious and interesting involvement of the Chinese in the Euro crisis, and the Douglas E. French prize awarded at the Mises University each year for the student who emerges from the Mises University oral examination with the best academic record, particularly after being grilled by Professor Hoppe, et al; therefore a prize never won by the faint of heart.

Iberian Peninsula

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Two main books are referenced within the interview. You can download complete PDFs of both books, by clicking through the links below:

Cobden Centre Radio

Cobden Centre Radio: The Guido Hülsmann Interview

In a fascinating 28-minute interview, this afternoon, I spoke to Doctor Jörg Guido Hülsmann, a Professor of Economics at the University of Angers, in France and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama.

We discussed the Euro, the future of the EU, fractional reserve banking, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard, in a wide-ranging debate about the ethical production of money.

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The two books mentioned during the programme can be freely downloaded or purchased from the following locations:

Cobden Centre Radio

Cobden Centre Radio: The Irish Situation from an Austrian Perspective

In an illuminating and fascinating 30-minute interview, I spoke tonight to Professor Gerard Casey about the current economic and political situation in Ireland, mixing in Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the fall of the Western Roman Empire along the way, for good measure, just so we could get a complete picture.

Professor Casey is a member of the School of Philosophy in University College Dublin and also an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, in the United States:

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Cobden Centre Radio: Dr. Anthony J. Evans on Austrianism’s return home to Europe

Brian Micklethwait continues his ongoing mission around London to unearth the burgeoning underground vein of true economics by speaking to one of its foremost practitioners in England, Anthony J. Evans, who is Assistant Professor of Economics at ESCP Europe, co-author of The Neoliberal Revolution in Eastern Europe: Economic Ideas in the Transition from Communism, and a founding fellow of the Cobden Centre.

Dr. Evans begins by discussing the teaching of economics, how he came to Austrian economics, and the state of Austrian economics within the academic halls of the United Kingdom and how it can be grown outside of the United States to challenge the orthodox Keynesian mainstream.

Explaining the ideas behind his book, The Neoliberal Revolution in Eastern Europe, Dr. Evans then moves on to explain how Austrianism is growing throughout Europe and the City of London and the importance of increasing the number of PhD opportunities in Austrian economics to get its ideas taken seriously by this mainstream, and how this intellectual endeavour can be expanded into the realm of politics, in the very best Hayekian fashion, to encourage the spread of deeper public knowledge about true economics, particularly where this concerns the Austrian Business Cycle Theory.

In this wide-ranging 30-minute interview, much else is discussed that will be of interest to all of our discerning Cobden Centre Radio listeners:

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