ASC Day 1: Author’s Forum and a Jewish Rabbi

The day began with coffee and bagels at the Mises Institute’s courtyard area. I met some nice people and caught some old friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

The first session was the Author’s Forum, highlighting SEVEN new works of Austrian-inspired literature…

First, we have Tom Wood’s hot new book Meltdown. It is very impressive, to me, that he was able to get this book out so fast while covering the events of the financial crisis even up to December 2008. Quoting his talk: “Wouldn’t it be unbelievable to have an Austrian book out on the bailouts before the bad guys even get organized?” Indeed, many have benefited from Tom’s great work.

Lawrence Reed spoke about his new “pamphlet,” as he called it, on the Great Myths of the Great Depression – which is free to download here. Reed has put together a lot of information explaining exactly why the Great Depression was the fault of GOVERNMENT, not the free market. Since it’s free and pretty short, this is definitely a great resource to give to your friends who are curious.

Paul Cleveland talked about Unmasking the Sacred Lies. Paul likes to tell stories to illustrate economic principles, and his book collects many of his story-styled writings together.

Thomas DiLorenzo’s Hamilton’s Curse is a book I actually received from my brother as a Christmas present. Great quote: “At least Aaron Burr had a good reason for shooting someone, unlike Dick Cheney.” LOL!

The Left, the Right, and the State: three of my least favorite things.” That’s how Lew began his talk. He pretty much read straight from the introduction to the book, which is understandable. It is essentially a collection of his essays, but it looks pretty great.

I was probably most excited about Guido Hulsmann’s talk on The Ethics of Money Production. The book is not so much about policy, per se, as much as it is about the morality of the creation of money – either by the market or by government. For those interested in monetary theory, this book should be next on your list. I am definitely getting my copy tomorrow.

Finally, the forum was concluded by the witty Robert Murphy talking about his new Human Action Study Guide. His goal is to make the reading of Mises’s masterwork a little less intimidating – an impressive feat. How he managed to talk for 15 minutes about it… is actually a more impressive feat, but hey that’s what Bob does. ;-) Hahaha, just kidding Bob!

After the session, Dan and I went to lunch with Graham Neal and Brian Canny from Ireland (they write the Irish Liberty Forum blog) at Firehouse Subs.

The first afternoon session was the Lou Church Memorial Lecture on Religion and Economics. This year’s speaker was the noted speaker and author Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and his lecture was INCREDIBLE. I hope it is posted on YouTube soon, because I cannot give his talk justice with a paragraph or two. Of principle importance to him is the idea that Jews (and I would extend this to Christians) believe implicitly that making money is a good thing. You are de facto doing something good. You don’t have to give it away to validate yourself or your work! Why is this? Because in the relationship that is developed you have provided value to someone else. Lapin’s deep conviction is that by engaging in commerce you are doing something helpful and good for people. You are making them better off. This is firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian system of ethics!

I very much enjoyed his exposition on the two models of social organization: the Abramitic model and the Socialist model. The Abramitic model represents a proper biblical perspective of honest work and of recognizing that people are unique. The Socialist model, on the other hand, treats everyone as interchangeable, identical, disposable animals. What is interesting is that he related this to the Tower of Babel – of which I wrote about recently.

I tried to do a little video recording here and there, and I have put together a little mashup of footage and a wrap-up of today’s events. Enjoy!