AEP Speaks for Himself

We are all Keynesians now, so let’s get fiscal.” This is one view according to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from The Telegraph who believes the time is right for the UK government to loosen its fiscal stance.

 

KeynesAmbrose Evans-Pritchard is channeling JM Keynes these days (depicted above). Alternative media long regarded AEP as a rare exception in the mainstream press, willing to take on economic orthodoxy. We are happy to report that we had his number early on. First he outed himself as a monetarist and advocated money printing, and now he has apparently moved over to Keynesianism. Readers may want to review some earlier articles in this context: Parade of the Inflationists, Tapering Paranoia, and Anglo-Saxon Central Banking Socialism = Free Lunch.

Photo credit: Keystone/DPA

 

He suggests that the “Bank of England has done everything possible under the constraints of monetary orthodoxy to cushion the Brexit shock. It is now up to the British government to save the economy, and the sooner the better,” — argues the economics editor of The Telegraph.

According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, monetary policy is close to its limits. The Bank of England’s preemptive £170 billion stimulus package is brave — and unquestionably the right thing to do in these dramatic circumstances — however, given the present limitations of monetary policy he is of the view that only loose fiscal policy can address the shocks of Brexit.

Now even if one were to accept that Brexit has caused a shock, is loose monetary policy the necessary remedy? What is needed to offset a shock is to boost the pool of real wealth. Printing more money never does it. A looser monetary stance only dilutes the pool of real wealth and weakens the process of wealth generation.

So contrary to The Telegraph’s economics editor, the monetary pumping of the Bank of England is not a brave and necessary policy but rather — a policy that undermines the process of real wealth formation.

 

Government Is Not a Wealth-Generating Entity

To suggest that in order to save the UK economy the British government should lift its spending is to imply that the government is a wealth generating entity. In reality the projects that government undertakes are actually of a wealth consuming nature. The fact that the private sector does not undertake these projects indicates that they are of low priority to individuals.

 

Pyramid buildersBeware of pyramid builders and ditch diggers… today the pyramids may be profitable tourism attractors, but at the time they were erected, they were surely very low on most people’s list of priorities. Their construction devoured enormous resources, with no discernible benefit to the people alive at the time; resources the Pharaos obtained at spear-point, as it were.

Image credit: Sir John Gardner Wilkinson

 

The implementation of these projects is going to undermine the well-being of individuals, because they are funded at the expense of projects that are of a higher priority and would otherwise be undertaken in the private sector.

Moreover, whenever wealth producers exchange their products with each other, the exchange is voluntary. Every producer exchanges goods in his possession for goods that he believes will raise his living standard. The crux of the matter is that the trade must be free.

Government activities, however, are of a coercive nature; they are funded by forcing wealth producers to part with their wealth in exchange for less-desirable government services. Producers of wealth are forced to exchange more for less. Obviously this impairs their well-being.

 

obtaining resourcesGovernment in the process of obtaining resources.

Cartoon via beforeitsnews.com

 

Let’s assume that the government decides to build a pyramid and that most people regard this as a low priority. The people employed on this project must be given access to various goods and services to sustain their existence.

Now, the government is not a wealth producer, so it has to impose taxes on wealth generators — those individuals who produce goods and services in accordance with consumers’ priorities — in order to fund the building of a pyramid.

 

Government Spending Diverts Funding From What People Really Want

The more pyramid-building that the government undertakes, the more real wealth will be taken away from wealth generators. It follows that the level of tax — i.e., real wealth taken from the wealth-generating private sector — is directly determined by the size of government activities.

If government activities could generate wealth, they would be self-funded and would not require any support from other wealth generators, and the issue of taxes would never arise.

The essence of the previous analysis is not altered by the introduction of money. In the money economy, the government will tax and transfer the received money to various individuals who are employed directly or indirectly by the government.

Government employees can now exchange taxed money for various goods and services and engage in the consumption of real wealth without making any contribution to the real wealth formation.

The government can use various methods to divert wealth from wealth producers toward its activities. These methods — which can be summed up as “effective taxation” includes direct and indirect taxes and levies; borrowing from the private sector and monetary printing as a result of government borrowing from the central bank.

 

How Government Stimulus Destroys Wealth

However the method of diverting real wealth is of secondary importance. What matters here is that real wealth is diverted from wealth producers. The more that is diverted, the higher the effective tax imposed on the wealth-generating private sector is going to be.

 

road-to-recoveryGovernment has no secret stash of resources it can deploy: every cent it spends has to be taken from the private sector in some shape or form. Its spending diverts real resources from those generating wealth. As Ludwig von Mises noted: “[…] there is need to emphasize the truism that a government can spend or invest only what it takes away from its citizens and that its additional spending and investment curtails the citizens’ spending and investment to the full extent of its quantity.”

Cartoon by Cox & Forkum

 

A superficial view could argue that borrowing from the private sector must not be regarded as taxation. However, when government borrows from the private sector, it cannot repay the borrowed real wealth. Only wealth producers who are borrowing from each other are in a position to repay from their future production of wealth.

All that government can do is to pay back borrowed wealth by means of newly created money, or through new taxes, or through new borrowing, thereby further impoverishing wealth producers.

Similarly, when government borrows from the central bank, it effectively causes the central bank to hand the government newly created money, which is employed to divert real wealth from the private sector.

One could argue that government could also borrow overseas, thereby reducing the burden on the private sector. Since it is not a wealth generator, however, the burden of servicing the foreign debt will fall on the private sector.

So how could the government help the economy? We suggest by actually cutting its outlays as much as possible thereby lowering the effective tax burden on the wealth generating private sector. With more wealth left at its disposal the private sector is likely to generate more wealth thereby strengthening the economy.

We can only suggest that the UK (and any other economy) should maintain their Keynesian loose fiscal policies at a bare minimum in order to allow for healthy foundations for economic growth.

 

Image captions by PT

 

Dr. Frank Shostak is an Associated Scholar of the Mises Institute. His consulting firm, Applied Austrian School Economics (AASE), provides in-depth assessments and reports of financial markets and global economies. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University, master’s degree from Witwatersrand University and PhD from Rands Afrikaanse University, and has taught at the University of Pretoria and the Graduate Business School at Witwatersrand University.

 

 
 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Modi’s Great Leap Forward
      India’s Currency Ban – Part VIII India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced on 8th November 2016 that Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 (~$15) banknotes would no longer be legal tender. Linked are Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV, Part-V, Part-VI and Part-VII, which provide updates on the demonetization saga and how Modi is acting as a catalyst to hasten the rapid degradation of India and what remains of its institutions.   India’s Pride and Joy   Indians are...
  • US Financial Markets – Alarm Bells are Ringing
      A Shift in Expectations When discussing the outlook for so-called “risk assets”, i.e., mainly stocks and corporate bonds (particularly low-grade bonds) and their counterparts on the “safe haven” end of the spectrum (such as gold and government bonds with strong ratings), one has to consider different time frames and the indicators applicable to these time frames. Since Donald Trump's election victory, there have been sizable moves in stocks, gold and treasury bonds, as the election...
  • Global Recession and Other Visions for 2017
      Conjuring Up Visions Today’s a day for considering new hopes, new dreams, and new hallucinations.  The New Year is here, after all.  Now is the time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh. Naturally, 2017 will be the year you get exactly what’s coming to you. Both good and bad.  But what else will happen?   Image of a recently discarded vision... Image by Michael Del Mundo   Here we begin by closing our eyes and slowing our breath.  We let our mind...
  • The Great El Monte Public Pension Swindle
      Nowhere City California There are places in Southern California where, although the sun always shines, they haven’t seen a ray of light for over 50-years.  There’s a no man’s land of urban blight along Interstate 10, from East Los Angeles through the San Gabriel Valley, where cities you’ve never heard of and would never go to, are jumbled together like shipping containers on Terminal Island.  El Monte, California, is one of those places.   Advice dispensed on Interstate...
  • A Trade Deal Trump Cannot Improve
      Worst in Class BALTIMORE – People can believe whatever they want. But sooner or later, real life intervenes. We just like to see the looks on their faces when it does. By that measure, 2017 may be our best year ever. Rarely have so many people believed so many impossible things.   Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for...
  • Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru
      Neo-Marxist Pope Francis Argues for Global Central Bank As the new year dawns, it seems the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair will take on a new function which is outside the purview of the office that the Divine Founder of his institution had clearly mandated.   Neo-Papist transmogrification. We highly recommend the economic thought of one of Francis' storied predecessors, John Paul II, which we have written about on previous occasions. In “A Tale of Two Popes” and...
  • Where’s the Outrage?
      Blind to Crony Socialism Whenever a failed CEO is fired with a cushy payoff, the outrage is swift and voluminous.  The liberal press usually misrepresents this as a hypocritical “jobs for the boys” program within the capitalist class.  In reality, the payoffs are almost always contractual obligations, often for deferred compensation, that the companies vigorously try to avoid.  Believe me.  I’ve been on both sides of this kind of dispute (except, of course, for the “failed”...
  • Trump’s Trade Catastrophe?
      “Trade Cheaters” It is worse than “voodoo economics,” says former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. It is the “economic equivalent of creationism.” Wait a minute -  Larry Summers is wrong about almost everything. Could he be right about this?   Larry Summers, the man who is usually wrong about almost everything. As we have always argued, the economy is much safer when he sleeps, so his tendency to fall asleep on all sorts of occasions should definitely be welcomed....
  • Trump’s Plan to Close the Trade Deficit with China
      Rags to Riches Jack Ma is an amiable fellow.  Back in 1994, while visiting the United States he decided to give that newfangled internet thing a whirl.  At a moment of peak inspiration, he executed his first search engine request by typing in the word beer.   Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce firm. Once he was a school teacher, but it turned out that he had enormous entrepreneurial talent and that the world of wheelers, dealers, movers and...
  • Money Creation and the Boom-Bust Cycle
      A Difference of Opinions In his various writings, Murray Rothbard argued that in a free market economy that operates on a gold standard, the creation of credit that is not fully backed up by gold (fractional-reserve banking) sets in motion the menace of the boom-bust cycle. In his The Case for 100 Percent Gold Dollar Rothbard wrote:   I therefore advocate as the soundest monetary system and the only one fully compatible with the free market and with the absence of force or fraud...
  • Side Notes, January 14 - Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs
      Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs Just to prove that I am an even-handed insulter, here is a rant about my former employer, Goldman Sachs. The scandal at 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund from which it appears that billions were stolen by politicians all the way up to the Prime Minister, continues to unfold.   The main players in the 1MDB scandal. Irony alert: apparently money siphoned off from 1MDB was used to inter alia finance Martin Scorcese's movie “The Wolf of...
  • Silver’s Got Fundamentals - Precious Metals Supply-Demand Report
      Supply-Demand Fundamentals Improve Noticeably Last week was another short week, due to the New Year holiday. We look forward to getting back to our regularly scheduled market action.   Photo via thedailycoin.org   The prices of both metals moved up again this week. Something very noticeable is occurring in the supply and demand fundamentals. We will give an update on that, but first, here’s the graph of the metals’ prices.   Prices of gold and silver...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com