Archive for May, 2011

The Socialist Calculation Debate


In this Tuesday’s seminar we look at what is referred to as the Socialist Calculation Debate.


In 1956 Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev banged his shoe on the podium at the U.N., and told the west: “History is on our side. We will bury you in fine [goods] you hear that? Quality!”.


In 1971, he told an American president, “In 7 years we will reach the level of America. When we catch up and pass you by, we’ll wave to you.”


In 1989, however, the whole of Eastern Europe collapsed, and the economy and environment of the Soviet Union were exposed to the world as a complete and utter basket case. It was a defining moment in twentieth-century history. “Scientific socialism,” which started in Utopia and was continued midst bloodshed and famine, was revealed not as a miracle of production (as many mainstream economists seemed to think) but as a complete and utter bust.


The reasons for the collapse were explained all the way back in 1920. The Utopians “invariably explain how, in the cloud-cuckoo lands of their fancy, cooked chickens will somehow fly into the mouths of the comrades,” observed Ludwig Von Mises. “but they omit to show how this miracle is to take place.” In fact, despite all their rabid inventive, neither Karl Marx nor his followers had written even one word explaining how a socialist economy would actually work. And nor could they. Because as Mises pointed out, there is one fundamental economic flaw in the socialist Utopia that means the system can never produce anything but misery–and in 1989 he was finally proved right.


No wonder Soviet economists eventually insisted a statue to Ludwig Von Mises be placed in a prominent place in Moscow.


Join us tomorrow might to discuss that flaw and some of that history, as we discuss the Socialist Calculation Debate–including several lessons for us today.


Date: Tuesday 31 May

Time: 6pm
Room: University of Auckland Business School, Owen G Glenn Building, Room 219 (Level 2)


Look forward to seeing you.


Categories: Uncategorized

Market Failure

May 23, 2011 1 comment

You’ve all heard about so called “market failure”–indeed, if you’ve studied economics at all you’ve been lectured on it, examined on it, and told at length that the phenomenon is endemic to capitalism.

This week however, in our Economics for Real People presentation, we’re going to suggest that it isn’t. That the doctrine of market failure itself fails: That markets don’t fail in the manner described; that explanations have long existed for the alleged failures presented in economics classrooms; that there is a failure far more fundamental than market failure that the proponents of the doctrine overlook entirely; and that the primary reason for the ubiquity of the market failure doctrine is not economic, but something much more fundamental.

Date: Tuesday 24 May 

Time: 6pm 
Room: University of Auckland Business School, Owen G Glenn Building
Room 219 (Level 2)

Look forward to seeing you.

Categories: Uncategorized

What Caused The Global Financial Crisis?

May 16, 2011 1 comment

Hello Everyone,

This evening we are going to begin looking at what is often termed the Global Financial Crisis. It is not surprising that the ‘bust’ has resulted in many people asking why it happened and what can be done to rectify it. Yet…

Are the true culprits being identified and placed under the spotlight? … or are innocent parties are being blamed?

Will stimulus, quantitative easing, bailouts and too-big-to-fail get us out of The Great Recession?… Or will they only make things worse?

These are very important questions; for the implications of what is currently being decided will impact every single one of us for many years to come.

Date: Tuesday 17 May
Time: 6pm
Room: University of Auckland Business School, Owen G Glenn Building, Room 219 (Level 2)  

We look forward to seeing you there.

[Update: Links to videos from tonight’s seminar]

Peter Schiff Was Right:

Professor F. Hayek in an interview with Bernard Levin (31st May, 1980 at the University of Freiburg):

Professor George Reisman – A Pro-Free-Market Program for Economic Recovery:

John Allison – The Financial Crisis: Causes and Possible Cures:

Categories: Uncategorized

Econ Stories: Fight of the Century

Hello all,

Just following yesterday’s meeting, I thought I would put a link up to the video we watched, for those of you who want to view it again.

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek – Round Two

Remember the first one?… Fear the Boom and Bust: Keynes vs. Hayek

Categories: Uncategorized

Carl Menger’s Theory of Goods

May 8, 2011 1 comment

Carl MengerHello Everyone.

This week we are going to be looking at some of the work of Carl Menger.  In 1871 he developed, simultaneously with William Stanley Jevons and Léon Walras, the concept of marginal analysis.  He not not only introduced a new concept to economics but presented a radical new approach to economic analysis.

Unlike his contemporaries , who independently developed their own concepts of marginal utility during the 1870s, Menger favored an approach that was deductive, teleological, and, in a primary sense, humanistic. While Menger shared his contemporaries’ preference for abstract reasoning, he was primarily interested in explaining the real world actions of real people, not in creating artificial, stylized representations of reality. Economics, for Menger, is the study of purposeful human choice.

While there is much to be said about Carl Menger’s work, on Tuesday we will be be looking at some of his initial ideas on the Theory of Goods.

Date: Tuesday, 10th May
Time: 6pm
Location: 260-219

Look forward to seeing you then.

Postscript: As mentioned in the last post, what we will be looking at relates to chapter one of Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics. I invite you to read over chapter one before you come, if you get the chance.

Categories: Uncategorized

Seminar Cancelled This Week

Hello everyone.

Unfortunately, this weeks seminar is cancelled.

We will be back to our regular meetings as of next week, where we will begin by looking at Carl Menger’s Theory of Goods. This is from his book Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre, translated into English as “Principles of Economics”.  This extraordinary work not only introduced the concept of marginal analysis, buy it also presented a radically new approach to economic analysis. You can find a copy of this great work here: Principles of Economics. This is one book that should be on every student of economics’ book shelf, or in their e-book reader.

Look forward to seeing you all again then.

Postscript: We’ll be looking at Chapter One, so if you get some time make sure you check it out.
Categories: Uncategorized