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Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. For many years he was an advisor to Ron Paul and a tax attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions for private equity clients.

Articles by Jeff Deist

Who Is the Greatest Living Economist?

2 days ago

With the venerable Dr. Thomas Sowell turning ninety this week, a question arises in the fintwit (financial Twitter) world: Who is the greatest living economist?
This question is more difficult than it appears. First, determining the “greatest” individual in any human field is always a highly subjective endeavor, whether we’re talking about economists or basketball players. Do we mean the most brilliant economist, in terms of sheer mental horsepower, or the most influential? The most prolific? Most “correct”? Most respected? Most listened to, either by policymakers or the public? The economist with the most significant impact today? The most famous? Someone who is most popular among their academic peers, or best known to lay

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Man, Economy and State with Jeff Deist

2 days ago

Today’s solo show kicks off our reading of Rothbard’s landmark Man, Economy, and State with a look at Chapter 1, “Fundamentals of Human Action.” So much of what economics texts get wrong is laid out brilliantly here by Rothbard, who gives readers the basics of action, means/ends, time, ranking, factors of production, and capital in …

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MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not a Theory

9 days ago

It’s easy to dismiss MMT out of hand, but the impulse to create something from nothing resides deep in the human psyche. Narrated by the author. Original Article: “MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not a Theory”.

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MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not a Theory

10 days ago

Modern monetary theory (MMT) has a new champion, and a new bible. Stephanie Kelton, economics professor at SUNY Stony Brook, is the author of The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy. Professor Kelton was an advisor to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns, and her ideas increasingly find purchase with left progressives. It is certainly possible that she has a future either in a Biden administration or even on the Federal Reserve Board, which is a testament to how quickly our political and cultural landscape has shifted toward left progressivism. And left progressivism requires a “New Economics” to provide intellectual cover for what is essentially a political argument for painless free

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The Search for Yield

14 days ago

A no-holds-barred discussion of the economy after the coronavirus shutdown and George Floyd protests. Are we facing another Great Depression? Can there be a V-shaped recovery or is this wishful thinking? What will all the new money and credit created by Congress and the Fed mean for the dollar? What kind of economic mess will Trump or Biden inherit in 2021? How far will Fed chair Powell go to keep markets propped up? And how can you protect yourself and your savings?
Recorded at Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama, on June 6, 2020. Special thanks to Mark Walker for sponsoring this event.
Listen to the podcast.
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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Seattle’s CHAZ: Homesteaders or Illegal Squatters?

21 days ago

Protestors in Seattle have taken over whole city blocks in a neighborhood known as Capitol Hill, just a bit north of downtown. They occupy city streets and parks, as well as (apparently) a police precinct building. This enclave, dubbed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or CHAZ, is now making headlines around the world. Its newly assembled residents have declared CHAZ an independent nation apart from both Seattle and America, and thus exempt from laws and local police jurisdiction. They have set up fences and checkpoints around the area (so much for open borders), and already urban legends are proliferating about warlords taking over, extortion and shakedowns replacing taxes, and new forms of quasi-private security taking hold.

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The Search for Yield

27 days ago

A no-holds-barred discussion of the economy after the coronavirus shutdown and George Floyd protests. Are we facing another Great Depression? Can there be a V-shaped recovery or is this wishful thinking? What will all the new money and credit created by Congress and the Fed mean for the dollar? What kind of economic mess will Trump …

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Notes on Trump’s Executive Order for Tech Companies

June 5, 2020

Executive orders are inherently suspect and generally bad, not simply because of (at this point laughable) constitutional concerns, but because they establish another layer of de facto “laws” for which you and I have little legal recourse.  This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “Notes on …

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Trump’s Executive Order for Tech Companies

June 4, 2020

Donald Trump’s executive order issued earlier this week purports to prevent online censorship by effectively instructing federal agencies to reinterpret the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). In particular, Trump has a well-founded complaint with the infamous section 230 of the CDA, which grants tech companies a certain level of immunity from various civil lawsuits, including defamation lawsuits. By doing so, section 230 not only attempts to preempt state law to the contrary—federal preemption is almost always bad— but also creates a class of actors that enjoys the status of a neutral platform or common carrier but exercises editorial discretion.
Remember, in 1996 social media did not exist. Search engines like Alta Vista

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Coronavirus Propaganda Mimics War Propaganda

June 1, 2020

Propaganda kills, but it also works. Many of the same tactics employed to destroy opposition to the Iraq War are being used today against opponents of lockdowns. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “Coronavirus Propaganda Mimics War Propaganda”

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Coronavirus Propaganda Mimics War Propaganda

May 30, 2020

In the period leading up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration and its media accomplices waged a relentless propaganda campaign to win political support for what turned out to be one of the most disastrous foreign policy mistakes in American history.
Nearly two decades later, with perhaps a million dead Iraqis and thousands of dead American soldiers, we are still paying for that mistake.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were key players behind the propaganda—which we can define as purposeful use of information and misinformation to manipulate public opinion in favor of state action. Iraq and its

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Coronavirus Propaganda Mimics War Propaganda

May 27, 2020

In the period leading up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration and its media accomplices waged a relentless propaganda campaign to win political support for what turned out to be one of the most disastrous foreign policy mistakes in American history. Nearly two decades later, with perhaps a million dead …

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How Bad Is It?

May 14, 2020

Crashes are fast, like that first hill on a coaster. Recoveries are not, for the simple reason that production is more difficult than destruction. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “How Bad Is It?”

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How Bad Is It?

May 14, 2020

How bad is it?
That is the question on everyone’s mind as we come to grips with the economic carnage caused by global economic shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and ongoing quarantines of million of people. Do we face another Great Depression, or simply a deep recession more like 2008? And equally important, are soft Americans prepared for either? Have we started to process all of this psychologically? Have we really come to terms with the enormity of the situation, with the unprecedented risk posed by business shutdowns? Are Americans so accustomed to a certain material standard of living that they do not understand how fragile it is?
Here is what we know.
Since February, 30 to 40 million of Americans have been thrown out of

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How Bad Is It?

May 13, 2020

Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article. How bad is it? That is the question on everyone’s mind as we come to grips with the economic carnage caused by global economic shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and ongoing quarantines of million of people. Do we face another Great Depression, or simply a deep recession …

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Human Action Part Six with Jeff Deist

May 1, 2020

We continue our survey of Human Action by finishing up Part Six of the book, Mises’s analysis of interventionism—or the so-called “third way” between capitalism and socialism. Mises exposes how state intervention in the market economy makes us all poorer, even while it claims to act against poverty and inequality on behalf of social justice. …

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Will It Take Food Shortages to End Support for the Shutdown?

April 30, 2020

BBC images from India show the human toll of the coronavirus shutdown. Americans should take note, and soon. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “Will It Take Food Shortages to End Support for the Shutdown?”

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Will It Take Food Shortages To End Support for the Shutdown?

April 29, 2020

Americans are uniquely privileged, to the point of simply imagining they can stay home for months and months without suffering severe economic hardship as a result. Our unique privilege is delusion, the mentality that America is rich and will remain rich without particular effort on our part. Abundance simply materializes around us, regardless of incentives, and the job of politicians is to rearrange this abundance more equitably.
Polls such as this one showing widespread American support for quarantines and business shutdowns are evidence of this American privilege. Eighty percent of respondents think shutdowns by various state governors are justified as a response to the COVID-19 virus, and one-third support extending closure

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How to Think About the Fed Now

April 20, 2020

The Fed is, in effect, a lawless economic government unto itself. It is the lender of first resort, a kind of reverse pawnshop that pays top dollar for rapidly declining assets. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “How to Think About the Fed Now”

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How To Think About the Fed Now

April 18, 2020

[This text is excerpted from the introduction to Anatomy of the Crash, a Mises Institute ebook to be released in April 2020.]
The Great Crash of 2020 was not caused by a virus. It was precipitated by the virus, and made worse by the crazed decisions of governments around the world to shut down business and travel. But it was caused by economic fragility. The supposed greatest economy in US history actually was a walking sick man, made comfortable with painkillers, and looking far better than he felt—yet ultimately fragile and infirm. The coronavirus pandemic simply exposed the underlying sickness of the US economy. If anything, the crash was overdue.
Too much debt, too much malinvestment, and too little honest pricing of assets

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How to Think About the Fed Now

April 15, 2020

[This text is excerpted from the introduction to The Anatomy of the Crash, a Mises Institute ebook to be released in April 2020.] The Great Crash of 2020 was not caused by a virus. It was precipitated by the virus, and made worse by the crazed decisions of governments around the world to shut down business and …

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What Governors Can Do

April 10, 2020

Which state has the courage to become the Sweden of the US, and take a different (read: better, freer) approach to coronavirus?
As of yesterday, five US states remain at least reasonably “open” in terms of their implemented measures to fight the pandemic. Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota have no state orders in place closing businesses and forcing residents to stay home, while Iowa and North Dakota shut down “nonessential” businesses but have not issued stay-at-home orders.
Three states, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Utah, have partial lockdowns in place.
The other forty-two states have varying orders in place, and some regions such as the San Francisco Bay area have issued their own stricter shutdown policies. Population-wise,

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All Crises Are Local

April 7, 2020

“South Dakota is not New York City.”
A seemingly innocuous statement, made last Wednesday by Governor Kristi Noem in response to calls for her to issue a coronavirus shutdown across a state with the motto “Under God the People Rule.”
South Dakota, after all, is one of the least densely populated states in the vast American West. Surely local circumstances should inform local responses to a communicable disease?
Not so, according to Noem’s scolds at Change.org. They want the same “theory” applied in Brooklyn and in prairie towns with eleven residents per square mile.
To her tremendous credit, Governor Noem has held firm against the tide of state officials ordering lockdowns and shelter-in-place directives. As of today five US

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All Crises Are Local

April 6, 2020

“South Dakota is not New York City.”  A seemingly innocuous statement, made last Wednesday by Governor Kristi Noem in response to calls for her to issue a coronavirus shutdown across a state with the motto “Under God the People Rule.” South Dakota, after all, is one of the least densely populated states in the vast American West. Surely local …

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Does the Coronavirus Make the Case for World Government?

February 28, 2020

Sometimes terrible things happen without any human malfeasance, and the novel Wuhan coronavirus may in fact be one of those things. It is entirely plausible the virus emerged from “wet markets” in the Hubei Province of China rather than as a fumbled (or worse, intentionally released) bioweapon cooked up by the Xi Jinping government.
We may never know, of course. But easy or readily apparent answers to the question of how this could have been avoided should be viewed with the skepticism appropriate to any state propaganda. Crises of all kinds, whether economic, political, military, or health, send ideologues scrambling to explain how such events fit neatly into their worldview. In fact, political partisans often attempt to paint

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Mises and the ‘New Economics’

February 25, 2020

[This article is excerpted from a talk delivered on February 22, 2020 at the Austrian Student Scholars Conference, hosted by Grove City College in Pennsylvania.]
I. Introduction
What a wonderful gathering of students today, on this impressive and beautiful campus. We can see why Hans Sennholz loved this place, and why Drs. Herbener and Ritenour so enjoy living and teaching here. You are all too young to serve as the “remnant,” so we will consider you the vanguard instead. I’m always impressed by young people with an interest in serious scholarship and ideas, who have the intellect to read 900-page books. We are told nobody reads anymore, and certainly not dense tomes about economic theory, but this raises a question: are the rare

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Mises and the “New Economics”

February 24, 2020

[This article is excerpted from a talk delivered on February 22, 2020 at the Austrian Student Scholars Conference, hosted by Grove City College in Pennsylvania.] I. Introduction What a wonderful gathering of students today, on this impressive and beautiful campus. We can see why Hans Sennholz loved this place, and why Drs. Herbener and Ritenour so …

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