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I am afraid the Austrian School of Economics is no convincing than any other school of thought These guys have some kind of notion that THE MARKET is something akin to God It isn t Like any other collection of human actors it is basically an committee writ large and you know what they say about committees the only organism with six or legs and no brain While I agree that some of the very agencies that were supposed to be regulating the economy and some that were supposed to help achieve certain laudable ends malfunctioned badly I don t think a totally unregulated free market would do any better Not so long as we have a society that rewards bad behavior and greed And that is exactly what we have Easy read but not convincing. Solving the problems of our current economic problems by accelerating the same failed prescribtions that fed the bubble in the first place has never made sense to me Heaping on top of that the moral hazards of the too big to fail mentality will ensure that problems will re occur in even chronic form, if that is possible Using the eminantly sensible Austrian Economic model, Thomas E Woods outlines the origins of our current economic crisis , how it echos historic economic crisis, especially the Great Depression, and how government, while diverting blame to other actors, has been the central economic manipulator, and cause of most of the problems And though government manipulaton is the problem, how the government and misuderstanding pundints often turn the blame on the free market, when in fact it is their perversion of the free market that is to blame In conclusion he gives seven radical but sensibly argued prescriptions for changing the situation He makes the case, that the Austrians, having seen the crisis coming, deserve some attention And he makes a call to all of us who believe in the free market, saying, If you believe in the free market, you cannot support the Fed, one of the most intrusive interventions into the market If you believe in the free market, you cannot support government price fixing, including the fixing of interest rates No free market supporter worth his salt would accept the argument that thus and so is so important that it needs to be administered and supplied by government In any other context, free market advocates know the correct answer the important a sector is, the worse a job government would do with it, and the urgently it needs to be handled by free indifiduals subject to competition. Woods accurately provides an understanding of the current economic collapse from the Austrian School perspective, but his assertions are unconvincing to anyone with a rudimentary education in mainstream economic theory For example, he implicitly ignores the velocity of money as a driver of changes to the price level, pretends that all of Keynesian economics and Paul Krugman can be dismissed in two hundred words, and insists on defining inflation only as increases in the supply of money instead of increases to the price level , which completely contradicts the modern academic understanding of inflation such usage isn t simply shorthand as he states The book is a reasonable study of the financial crisis, and is an enjoyable exercise in confirmation bias for any libertarian or gold conservative, but it will be a frustrating exercise for any liberal or mainstream economist, as Wood appears simply not to understand Keynesian theories than effectively arguing against them. It is a testament to how good the content of this book is that I finished listening to the entire audiobook version despite my strong urge to reach into my car s CD player and smack the author Although I guess I was imagining smacking the guy who read the book, and not the actual author, which is pretty unfair Seriously, the world does not need your inflammatory, obnoxious, self righteous rhetoric The world, as you so correctly state, needs facts So state them, and then STFU.It drives me nuts that apparently even nonfiction books now need to be written with such vitriol According to the author, basically every economist ever, except him, is an idiot They are quacks, idiots, living in a fantasy world, and a whole lot of other things that I wish I could remember exactly Also, government is simultaneously oblivious, clueless, and idioticand engaging in an active conspiracy to destroy the lives of Americans Sorry, you sort of have to pick one.I like learning things, and I like snark, but this was ridiculous This is why people hate economists That said, it is a very good overview of Austrian business cycle theory and some other macroeconomic concepts From an academic content point of view, there were certainly a few oversimplifications and misstatements that I felt even I could argue against with my limited economic knowledge, but overall, there was really good, interesting content.So I enjoyed the part of it where I learned things I really DIDN T enjoy the part of it where the author thinks he is God s gift to the idiots of the world who are so far beneath him The vitriol pretty much ruined it for me This author made a lot of good points, and I agree with him on a lot of them, and he may even be right on most of them But he s still an asshole, and there s really no need for that.If divisive, nasty rhetoric doesn t bug you, read it you ll learn something Otherwise, your blood pressure might thank you for staying away. Yet another in the libertarianism is religion genre As a Popperian might sardonically note, it is impossible to imagine a state of the world which would cause such people to give up their markets uber alles weltanschaung Check out Russ Roberts EconTalk podcast for a gaggle of these types. The Austrian School of Economics is a strange sort of fundamentalist sect of the free market religion Thomas Woods who is listed as a fellow of the Mises Institute and wrote the Politically Incorrect Guide to History does a nice job excoriating bad public policy for many of our recent economic ills and even makes a somewhat compelling case for the idea that government economic management contributes to the boom bust cycle.The problem is that Woods does not argue that governments contribute to the cycle he maintains that they are the sole cause of it Austrians are as close as one gets to Anarcho Capitalists while still being able to wear jacket and tie The problem that Woods and the bulk of Mises disciples face is the useful things government does compensating for externalities, subsidizing public goods, protecting the utility of our medium of exchange i.e money Saying that the government s meddling in the economy means we ought to privatize money is the sort of baby with the bathwater argument that permeates the book.Despite the above rant, Woods with Mises and his students help makes many very salient points that perhaps the government does too much in our economy A well reasoned and intelligent book, if flawed in its broad generalizations. If a book with 158 pages on content is to accomplish what is claimed by the title, then it had better be dense, just packed with information in a terse writing style This book is not A well researched, well written book on this topic would be welcome, but Tom Woods has not provided it In quick hit form Woods fails to source many of his claims Sometimes it s not obvious if hyperbole is being employed or if he is trying to pass off serious data Because of the lack of sourcing, the reader must wonder about the intention When materials are sourced, they are almost never original sources unless that source is a Mises.org blog post I know that this book has been produced with mass appeal in mind, but at the time, it does treat a serious academic issue I expected it to be written with a disinterested and somewhat formal tone appropriate to that sort of work Instead you re treated to Dad jokes and outright insults being hurled at opposing viewpoints No cohesion Strange choice of topics Topics are often repeated It seems like 4 or 5 disparate blog posted were poorly pasted together In a book about the 2008 crises only about 1 5 of the material is dedicated specifically to the topic.Overall, the book reads like an introductory, non technical primer on Austrian Economic Theory with a dearth of anything except topical evidence It presents a facile case and begs for support based upon populist arguments Disappointing. It starts out good and demonstrates how the American government also had a big hand in the Wall Street meltdown but tends to focus just on government as the villain and how they are making it worse.Really, I believe there is a lot of blame to go aroundgovernment, the financial industry, and avaricious consumersand Woods just doesn t pursue this un holy trinity as effectively as he might.But a very good book for demonstrating the government role in the crisis.The visceral rhetoric almost invective is difficult to swallow at times.This book is a must read for anyone who is only getting their information about this crisis from television and the average newspaper websitegenerally they both want simple stories to report onlike the AIG bonus scandal that allowed them to manufacture simple villains where the truth was far, far from simple or clear.In the end, though, I was a little ambivalent about the bookand am hoping for better books to come where cooler heads will prevail. Review edited for style 11 April 2017.Nice audio book Good reader.The beginning style is perhaps too polemical to be convincing to many of those who are skeptical of the ideas in the book, which is unfortunate, since they need to understand the ideas the most Folks who have no problem with government intervention, since their inclination is to blame the financial meltdown of 2008 or any meltdown on business or capitalism, really need the facts and analysis in this book the most.The repetition of sarcastic comments toward individuals and groups that blamed the crisis on the market was off putting, even to me, so I would assume many people who are not inclined to be open to free market ideas may totally dismiss the book, or at least get so irritated with the author, that they might react far less positively to his otherwise excellent presentation of the facts and analysis of the crisis.As the book progressed it got better, less pejoratives, less sarcasm, though still certain phrases which would be downright offensive to neutral or partisan statist leaning folks kept coming back The snide comments detracted from the power of the positive explanation of the history presented.The book was mostly a very good presentation of Austrian economic theory analyzing the situation, focusing on the 2008 crisis But several previous economic boom bust cycles were also covered, including the all important Great Depression Monetary theory, banking functions, inflation, deflation, booms, busts, etc were all clearly explained There was even a wonderful explanation of short selling , with reasons given why it is a beneficial practice and his ideas on why government regulators are so vicious in suppressing it.He did a pretty neat job of nailing the bad guys, from both major political parties, as well as some of the private actors who hopped on the bandwagon Fannie MaeFreddie MacCommunity Reinvestment Act CRA Sarbanes Oxley regulationsBarney FrankDem party in generalRepub party in general tooGeorge BushHank PaulsenAlan Greenspanetc.I have heard from several reliable sources that this is one of Tom Woods worst books That he is generally a very top scholar, but this book was a partial blot on his record Since this is the first book I have read of his, I can t comment on that statement I m looking for holes in the logic of the book and did not noticed many, except for what I noted above the counterproductive polemical style.However, there is a significant debate in Austrian economic circles about desirability of 100% reserve requirements for banks for demand deposits Woods takes the Rothbardian hard line in his presentation, without giving any hint of alternative Austrian views That tone and one sided presentation do indicate that there may be other areas where he is not altogether upfront about some legitimate ways of looking at the situation.So, if the polemics don t bother you too much and you can keep an open mind toward some alternative ways of looking at the economic theory presented, I recommend the book It does provide a very significant amount of valuable facts and analysis, in a very clear and easy to understand manner and has telling critiques of common misconceptions I just wish it was written in a positive and reasonable tone. `Free Kindle ↵ Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse ☜ If You Are Fed Up With Washington Boondoggles, And You Like The Small Government, Politically Incorrect Thinking Of Ron Paul, Then You Ll Love Tom Woods S Meltdown In Clear, No Nonsense Terms, Woods Explains What Led Up To This Economic Crisis, Who S Really To Blame, And Why Government Bailouts Won T Work Woods Will Reveal Which Brave Few Economists Predicted The Economic Fallout And Why Nobody Listened What Really Caused The Collapse Why The Fed Not Taxpayers Should Have To Answer For The Current Economic Crisis Why Bailouts Are Band Aids That Will Only Provide Temporary Relief And Ultimately Make Things Worse What We Should Do Instead, To Put Our Economy On A Healthy Path To RecoveryWith A Foreword From Ron Paul, Meltdown Is The Free Market Answer To The Fed Created Economic Crisis As The New Obama Administration Inevitably Calls For Regulations, Woods Argues That The Only Way To Rebuild Our Economy Is By Returning To The Fundamentals Of Capitalism And Letting The Free Market Work