Thursday, November 22, 2012

Argentina (and America) on the Brink

Now that Argentina is on the brink of economic and social collapse -- again -- this might be a good time to be reminded of what could have been for Argentina if only it had followed correct economic principles, and what will be in store for us in the US if we don't.
Little over a hundred years ago, Argentina was the eighth weathiest country in the world. Let that sink in for a minute; wealthier than Japan, Italy or Brazil.
In 1959, a visit was paid to Argentina by one of the world's greatest economists, Ludwig von Mises, dean of the Austrian school of economics and mentor of the Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek.  He gave a series of lectures, and those lectures were transcribed into a short book later published under the title 'Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and for Tomorrow'.  It is perhaps the best comprehensive exposition of Mises' economic philosophy in a small package easy to read and accessible to the comprehension of the common citizen.  For those of us lacking the time and patience to wade through his 1949 magnum opus 'Human Action', with its 900 pages of almost German academic English, Economic Policy is a welcome plain-language and brief alternative. Next to Thomas Sowell's evolving editions of Basic Economics, Mises' Economic Policy is THE book for the person who has never read one on economics or has only read dismal mathematical, keynesian and/or college textbooks.  
The history of Argentina for the past 50 years is one of tragedy followed by misery, repression and economic crisis, each episode ratcheting up the impoverishment of a once proud people. How much suffering could Argentina have avoided if only they had taken Mises' advice? 
If the United States continues on its present crony-socialist course, we too will be remembered one day as a once-great nation. Putting a copy of Mises' book into the hands of every politician, student and citizen would be a good place to start reversing the decline.  

Read Mary Anastasia O'Grady's analysis of the current mess here: