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.”
Thornton shows that the biggest winners come from the Federal Reserve and the bank system’s creation of newly created currency and credit are the U.S. Government, its large contractors, such as weapons manufacturers, big banks, and Wall Street. The losers are also revealed: the labor class consisting of private-sector workers, those on pensions or fixed incomes.