Austrian Economics Valhalla

by S.J. Masty

Thanksgiving Friday, 2108 – Will America survive economic meltdown? To find out, we took our time machine 100 years into the future to Auburn, Alabama, home of The Ludwig von Mises Institute and the new national shrine.

Lew Rockwell founded his institute 126 years ago in 1982. Brought back to life by cloning, he pointed at Friedrich Hayek struggling to light the barbeque. The Nobel laureate looked surprisingly spry at 209, but that’s science for you.

A portly and jovial “Noo Yawker,” Murray Rothbard, tossed a cold beer to Eugen “Call me Gene” von Böhm-Bawerk. What looked like a faculty picnic was Economics Valhalla.

Cloned, alive and teaching in the future are all the greats from the Austrian School of Economics. It champions small government and sound money, and by 2108 has been the world’s sole, economic orthodoxy for fifty years.

“Whatever you do,” cautioned Rockwell, “save room for Carl Menger’s macaroni salad, and ‘Bill’ Röpke’s sweet-potato casserole.”

“It must look dire to you people back in 2008,” explained Ludwig von Mises, “but the Great Meltdown, as we now call it, permitted today’s freedom and prosperity. Isn’t that right, Fred?”

“Mmmph!” replied Frédéric Bastiat over a mouthful of pretzels. “Governments are small and money is sound, so most nations are now thrifty, economically productive and wealthy. It never would have happened without stupid Washington turning the 2008 market crash into a 25-year global depression.”

“Who were those numbskulls again?” asked Hans Sennholz. “The dumb-headed white guy and the wrong-headed black guy?”

“Bush and Obama,” said Rockwell. “They thought they could cure everything by massive government spending.”

“They squandered 25 trillion before the whole charade collapsed. Then came more private sector contraction, evaporating credit, plummeting tax revenues, monstrous inflation through government printing money, no possibility for funding the bloated welfare state – and no cash for American imperialism, invasion and occupation. Big, bullying, manipulative and costly government ran out of fuel and stopped – and guess what? People slowly grew happier, more free and productive without it.”

Arriving late, W.H. “Bill” Hutt asked “How much do I owe for the beer fund?”

“About five Walbucks, three Toyotayen or half of one of those new, Brazilian company’s plastic doubloon-thingies backed by gold. Amazoners,” Rothbard replied.

In 2042, government-issued money was replaced by Hayek’s idea of competing private currencies. “It ended financial manipulation and crooked tricks by which government spent money it did not have,” Rockwell explained.

“That ended credit bubbles and economic meltdowns. Now, if one private sector currency is manipulated, people use another. That was impossible when governments monopolised money production.”

Professor von Mises said, “Say, has our guest been to the shrine?”

Jean-Baptiste Say said “No, but The National Shrine to Victims of American Socialism is very moving.”

“America had a national socialist state since the 1930s, but only as it collapsed did it attack its own people,” von Mises continued. “In 2010 it started civilian conscription, a Hitler Youth Movement without Hitler. The enormous state security apparatus turned viciously against its own law-abiding citizens. Children were turned against parents by the state. Low-level bureaucrats were empowered to punish without trial, often brutally.”

“Government nationalised most jobs, so political correctness determined employability. Many unemployed died of hunger, often in political re-education or labor camps,” added Fritz Machlup. “Today, millions visit their shrine every year, based here in Auburn because of these far-sighted economists who warned us, back when too few would listen.”

“Good thoughts for Thanksgiving,” added von Mises. “Now, everybody try my wife Margit’s pumpkin pie, but save a piece for Ron Paul.”

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