A Big Theory of Boom and Bust, by Jeffrey Tucker

The Austrian economists worked out the theory of booms and busts in a fiat money system. From Jeffrey Tucker at dailyreckoning.com:

Our times of boom to bust are the perfect illustration of the credit cycle first presented in its fullness in the 1920s. Why then? Because this was the first decade after most countries created central banks. They caused some very odd behavior that made 19th-century-style economics seem to have less explanatory power.

That was when a few economists working in Vienna put together a model for understanding how business cycles work in a modern economy. Their names were Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. They drew on their theoretical knowledge based on the following inputs:

Richard Cantillon (1680–1734) observed that when governments inflate the money supply, the effects are unevenly distributed among economic sectors, affecting some more than others and in different ways.

Adam Smith (1723–1790) explained that a critical element of rising wealth is embedded in the division of labor, in which individuals specialize in tasks and cooperate across firms and those firms cooperate with each other.

Carl Menger (1840–1921) saw money as an organic market creation, not an invention of the state, which implies that it should be produced like any other good or service.

Knut Wicksell (1851–1926) demonstrated that interest rates function as a price mechanism to allocate investment decisions over time, which is why the yield curve exists. Manipulation of the interest rate disturbs the natural allocation of resources.

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