Quote of the Day

“The downturn phase of an Austrian cycle is often misunderstood — even by some of its proponents — as necessarily involving a reduced rate of monetary expansion. In fact it comes about as the result of the return of real interest rates to their “natural” levels, which is inevitable no matter how rapidly nominal money and credit grow. The return is a result of credit demand catching up to supply in consequences of rising prices, of goods generally perhaps but especially of factors of production. It follows that you don’t have to have a gold standard or other nominally-constrained monetary regime to have an Austrian cycle: resort to fiat money doesn’t suffice to allow authorities to keep a boom going forever. Indeed, I think that in some respects the Austrian theory fits 2001-2009 better than it fits 1924-1933. (I hasten to add that in both cases tight money made the downturns far worse than the Austrian payback story alone could account for.)”

— George Selgin, in the comments on Scott Sumner’s blog. (I have tried to make this case to Austrians for months without success.)

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