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Robert P. Murphy



Articles by Robert P. Murphy

Mark Spitznagel Teaches the Economists How to Invest

3 days ago

Bob reviews Mark Spitznagel’s latest book, Safe Haven: Investing for Financial Storms, on which he was a consultant. Bob explains that Spitznagel rejects the alleged dichotomy between risk and return, and then gives a numerical example to illustrate the two schools of thought. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Bob’s appearance on Jordan …

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Rebutting Paul Krugman on the “Austrian” Pandemic

8 days ago

In a recent column for the New York Times, the world’s most famous Keynesian, Paul Krugman, attacked Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT). In addition to repeating his decades-old claim that ABCT suffers from an internal contradiction, as well as his charge that the Austrians misdiagnosed the 2008 financial crisis, in his latest piece Krugman argued that the 2020 pandemic really was a “reallocation shock” along Austrian lines. Yet even here, Krugman claims, the Austrian prescription of laissez-faire is dead wrong: as a new paper presented at the Jackson Hole monetary conference allegedly demonstrates, we need easy money from the Fed in order to rearrange labor without causing needless unemployment.
It won’t surprise mises.org readers to learn that I

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The Absolute State of Money in 2021

9 days ago

Jeff Deist: You recently completed a series of articles for the Mises Institute, which we will publish in book form, on how money works today. Why is it important for average people to understand the mechanics of the plumbing of central and commercial banks? Bob Murphy: There’s two main reasons. First, it’s intrinsically interesting. That’s …

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Rebutting Paul Krugman on the “Austrian” Pandemic

10 days ago

In a recent column for the New York Times, the world’s most famous Keynesian, Paul Krugman, attacked Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT). In addition to repeating his decades-old claim that ABCT suffers from an internal contradiction, as well as his charge that the Austrians misdiagnosed the 2008 financial crisis, in his latest piece Krugman argued that …

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M. Night Shyamalan Is Giving You Permission to Be a Superhero

August 12, 2021

Bob reviews the “Unbreakable” movie trilogy, arguing that M. Night Shyamalan knows we need to awaken the superheroes among us. They might not even know who they are—yet. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: The YouTube trailer for “Unbreakable,” the first movie in the trilogy under discussion ​For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. …

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Bob Murphy Critiques Curtis Yarvin’s Explanation of Inflation

August 6, 2021

In a May 2021 essay, Curtis Yarvin (aka Mencius Moldbug) argues that the American economy runs on an inflation machine. Yarvin claims that the best way to measure the amount of inflation is to look at the change in aggregate personal net worth over a given period. Murphy explains why this is wrongheaded. Mentioned in …

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“They Said What?!” John Lennon edition

August 5, 2021

Bob unveils a new recurring series, in which he gives the context of infamous quotations. In this episode, he covers two allegedly shocking quotes from John Lennon, John Maynard Keynes’ “in the long run we’re all dead,” Trump on Nazis being very fine people, Dan Quayle misspelling potato, Obama’s “you didn’t build that,” and Bohm-Bawerk …

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Bidenomics

July 22, 2021

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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