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Robert P. Murphy



Articles by Robert P. Murphy

Bidenomics

10 days ago

Download the slides from this lecture at Mises.org/MU21_PPT_27. Recorded at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 22 July 2021.

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What Did Bob Learn? Part 3 of 3

June 29, 2021

Bob concludes his series on areas where he’s changed his mind. This episode covers the economics of climate change, fractional reserve banking, the US gold standard, his notorious inflation bets, Nelson Nash’s Infinite Banking Concept, and the God of the Bible. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Bob’s chapter on the gold …

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Beyond the Fed: “Shadow Banking” and the Global Market for Dollars

June 28, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.] Although it conjures up scary imagery, shadow banking is simply a term for banking operations that occur through financial intermediaries that are not traditional commercial banks. The term was coined in 2007 by …

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Scott Sumner on Why the Bernanke Fed Was Too Tight

June 11, 2021

Scott Sumner is a monetary economist with the Mercatus Center. He famously argued in late 2008 that the Fed was too tight with monetary policy, and eventually he has convinced many economists of his views. In this episode he explains why interest rates and even monetary aggregates are not good indicators of the stance of …

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What Does Marginality Mean?

June 4, 2021

What does it mean to act “on the margin” or to think in terms of “marginality?” Economists use the term often. The Mises Circle in interwar Vienna even had songs with refrains that included the words “marginal utility.” On the very first day of my principles courses, I teach my students that people make decisions …

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The Fed’s Policies since the 2020 Coronavirus Panic

June 2, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.] In chapter 7 we summarized some of the major changes in how central banks have operated since the 2008 financial crisis. In the present chapter, we detail some of the even more recent …

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“What Did Bob Learn?” Part 2 of 3

June 1, 2021

In response to a listener request, Bob continues a 3-part series explaining areas where his views have changed. In this episode, he covers government debt and future generations, accuracy in polemical writing, the Fed being a private corporation, whether nice guys finish last, and mainstream utility theory. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of …

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“What Did Bob Learn?” Part 1 of 3

May 25, 2021

In response to a listener request, Bob starts a 3-part series explaining areas where his views have changed. In this episode, he covers trade deficits, justice vs. mercy, the 2000 election, WMDs in Iraq, and Arrow’s Theorem. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Bob’s article on why free traders should be more …

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Four Myths about Money That Ought to Die Forever

May 19, 2021

With the possible exception of international trade, no topic in economics contains more myths than monetary theory. In the present article I address four popular opinions concerning money that suffer from either ambiguity or outright falsehood. One: “Money represents a claim on goods and services.” Although there is a grain of truth in this view, …

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Robert Murphy on History and New Developments in Austrian Interest Theory

May 11, 2021

Bob gives a guest lecture for Jonathan Newman’s MA course for the Mises Institute, on the history of, and new developments in, the pure time preference theory of interest. After summarizing the work of Bohm-Bawerk, Fetter, and MIses, Bob explains his own perspective and then how Jeff Herbener partially agreed with Bob’s critique. This episode …

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An Austrian Critique of Robert Mundell’s “Impossible Trinity”

April 27, 2021

Robert Mundell, winner of the Economics Nobel in 1999, recently passed away at the age of eighty-eight. As many of the obituaries have explained, Mundell is considered the intellectual father of the euro and was associated with the supply-side revolution in economics in the early 1980s. However, in this article I will focus on his …

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How a Voluntary Society Would Handle Blockades and Immigration

April 20, 2021

Bob elaborates on two ideas he had when he wrote his novel “Minerva” in grad school. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Bob’s archives at Strike the Root, which contain the serialized version of Bob’s novel, Minerva. (Note that the HTML formatting is incorrect for some characters, such as the em-dash turning …

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The Inverted Yield Curve and Recession

April 17, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.]
The “yield curve” refers to a graph showing the relationship between the maturity length of bonds—such as one month, three months, one year, five years, twenty years, etc.—plotted on the x axis, and the yield (or interest rate) plotted on the y axis.1 In the postwar era, a “normal” yield curve has been upward sloping, meaning that investors typically receive a higher rate of return if they are willing to put their funds into longer-dated bonds. A so-called inverted yield curve occurs when this typical relationship flips, and short-dated bonds have a higher rate of return than long-dated ones.

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The Inverted Yield Curve and Recession

April 12, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.] The “yield curve” refers to a graph showing the relationship between the maturity length of bonds—such as one month, three months, one year, five years, twenty years, etc.—plotted on the x axis, and …

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Extending AnCap Analysis for Vaccine Passports, Court Rulings, and Desegregation

April 8, 2021

Using a recent Dave Smith interview of Michael Malice as a springboard, Bob elaborates his understanding of anarcho-capitalist principles to the thorny issues of vaccine passports, court rulings, and desegregation of the Old South. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Part of the Problem episode from February 20, 2021, “They Don’t Care …

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Clarifying the Economic Framework for Both Camps in the Bitcoin Debate

April 7, 2021

Bob helps to clarify the Bitcoin debate. On the one hand, the “no intrinsic value” skeptics are ignoring how Austrians deal with gold, while on the other hand, the “HODL forever” enthusiasts would never allow Bitcoin to become a money. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Bob (and Silas Barta’s) guide to …

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Benjamin Boyce on the Evergreen State Protests and Lessons for America

March 31, 2021

Benjamin Boyce is a writer, interviewer, and filmmaker who rose to fame by relaying his experiences as a student during the infamous Evergreen State protests in 2017. He talks with Bob about the lessons we can learn as the rest of the country follows the same trajectory of identity politics. Mentioned in the Episode and …

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Josiah Neeley Gives the Other Side on What Happened with the Texas Power Freeze

March 24, 2021

Josiah Neeley is the Texas Director and Resident Senior Fellow in Energy for the R Street Institute. He has a lively discussion, pushing back on some of Bob’s previously articulated points regarding the recent Texas freeze and blackouts. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: The YouTube version of this interviewJosiah’s article on …

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Crying Wolf on (Hyper)Inflation?

March 19, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.] In chapter 10 we explained the connection between monetary inflation and price inflation, and warned that there is no simple one-to-one relationship. This fact has been very relevant in the wake of the …

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Gary Wolfram on the Minimum Wage and Other Misguided Policies

March 17, 2021

Gary Wolfram is an economics professor at Hillsdale College, who was both a teacher and colleague of Bob during his two stints at the school (first as a student then as a professor). They discuss Gary’s background as an economist in both academia and the political sphere, and why government intervention hurts the people it …

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What Really Happened With the Texas Power Grid

March 11, 2021

Since the deep freeze in February caused millions of Texas homes to lose their power, partisans have been fighting over the blame. The governor blamed wind turbines and the green agenda, whereas Paul Krugman said the fault was with natural gas. Bob shows the numbers; natural gas was to blame only in the sense that …

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Wind Power Is a Disaster in Texas, No Matter What Paul Krugman Says

March 11, 2021

Normally the boosters of renewable energy point with pride to Texas, yet when wind collapsed during the deep freeze, suddenly even its biggest fans admit that nobody ever thought it could do the same job as natural gas. Original Article: “Wind Power Is a Disaster in Texas, No Matter What Paul Krugman Says” This Audio …

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Dr. Keith Smith Explains the Scam in Medical Pricing and How to Fix It

March 10, 2021

Medical doctor Keith Smith returns to the show to explain how government intervention allows insurance companies to distort health care prices. Rather than merely diagnosing the problem, Smith has formed organizations that are providing affordable care to patients. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: The YouTube version of this interviewThe Surgery Center …

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Nonviolent Solutions to Social Problems

March 9, 2021

Bob discusses three separate items all related to nonviolence: (1) Gene Sharp’s work, (2) Bob’s old dream of how to topple a tyrant, and (3) the winners of the Louis CK contest. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Gene Sharp’s book, From Dictatorship to DemocracyThe trailer for the documentary “How to Start …

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Wind Power Is a Disaster in Texas, No Matter What Paul Krugman Says

March 8, 2021

In the wake of February’s tragic power outages in Texas, during which 4.5 million households suffered service interruptions, partisans on both sides have been quick to interpret the events as confirmation of their preferred energy policies. With news images of helicopters deicing frozen turbines, conservatives lambasted Texas’s increasing reliance on wind power as the villain …

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When Is Short Selling Fraudulent?

February 24, 2021

Amid the controversy over GameStop, many cynics argued that something sinister was clearly afoot because the hedge funds had shorted 138 percent of the outstanding shares. In this article I’ll review that particular claim, as well as another seemingly dubious practice, so-called naked short selling. My conclusion is that shorting more than the total outstanding shares isn’t …

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Why Biden and Krugman Are Wrong about the $15 Minimum Wage

February 19, 2021

President Biden claimed during his Super Bowl interview that “all the economics show” that if the government imposes a $15 minimum wage then “the whole economy rises.” For his part, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has claimed for years that “[t]here’s just no evidence that raising the minimum wage costs jobs, at least when the starting …

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Monetary Inflation and Price Inflation

February 3, 2021

[This article is part of the Understanding Money Mechanics series, by Robert P. Murphy. The series will be published as a book in 2021.] This chapter explains the connection between the quantity of money and the height of prices quoted in that money. The chapter therefore deals with the phenomenon of “inflation,” but as we …

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David Andolfatto Defends the Fed

January 17, 2021

Ron Paul used the fall in purchasing power since the founding of the Fed to argue that the central bank had hurt regular Americans. Fed economist David Andolfatto disagrees, but Bob pushes back. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: The YouTube version of this interviewDavid Andolfatto critiques Ron Paul’s argument against the …

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The Fed Won’t Save Us from the Growing Jobs Recession

January 3, 2021

No matter how bleak the economy may be, the Keynesians are likely to say, “It would have been worse without us.”  Original Article: “The Fed Won’t Save Us from the Growing Jobs Recession​” This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.  

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