Richard Cantillon As a Proto-Austrian-The Human Action Podcast

Jeff DeistMark Thornton

“Dr. Mark Thornton, our in-house Cantillon expert, joins the Human Action Podcast to discuss the contributions of this important proto-Austrian thinker. Cantillon may well have written the first true economic treatise, one which lays out a comprehensive theory of production, money, interest, value, method, and trade—almost 150 years before Menger’s Principles. And along with the other French physiocrats, Cantillon gave us the concept of lassez-faire that later influenced Adam’s Smith’s invisible hand. If you want to understand economics today, and the precursors to the Austrian school, you need to know Cantillon and his work.”

https://mises.org/library/richard-cantillon-proto-austrian

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A general, but serious, reason to read this book— The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economics Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of The Last Century — is to avoid being one of the millions who will be duped when the next crash (bust) occurs. Millions were and continue to be duped as to the reason for the boom leading up to 2007 and 2008 and why the bust occurred in 2008 relating to real estate.

Thornton begins with an important discussion of money creation and Richard Cantillon, writing: “… Richard Cantillon (1680s-1734?) [was] the first economic theorist and proto-Austrian economist …[he] showed how the interest rate and the money supply can create changes and distortions in the economy, a phenomenon now referred to as “Cantillon effects.”

Monetary inflation is affected by who gets the money and credit first and who gets it last. As fiat money is created by central banks, private banks are in a position to expand the amount of loans they make. The wealthy have established relationships with the banks, and they have the real estate and assets to provide collateral for the loans. Large, established companies and wealthy individuals are in favorable positions relative to small businesses and people with low or average incomes. The loans allow big companies and wealthy individuals to invest in capital goods during the boom phase of the business cycle. Central banks thereby create artificial inequality and poverty. This is the primary Cantillon effect of redistributing wealth.”

Review by Richard Duke on the Mises Institute website of the book: The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century by Dr. Mark Thornton

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