Creative Capital

Fed Folly and its Practical Effects

“The… task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” –Friedrich von Hayek

The Fed’s Act of Cowardice

We are talking about America’s Monetary Keystone Kops, who have, since 1987 (when Greenspan became chair of the Federal Reserve), been masquerading as central bankers. (Or maybe it’s the other way ‘round, it’s hard to tell.)

Bernanke’s Blunders

We’ve assessed the successes and failures of central bankers in the 1930s. Now let’s turn our attention to their modern counterparts.

Why Gold Had to Go

The “gold standard,” which prevailed in the developed world for many decades, simply means that some fraction of a country’s paper currency has to be backed by — that is, convertible into — gold. In the U.S. that fraction was 40 percent. Since a government on the gold standard can’t print money without increasing…

Central Bankers Then and Now, Part III

Scholars of the Great Depression typically blame policymakers of the 1930s for failing to do four things:

The Great Depression vs. the Great Recession

Subsequent to the Global Financial Crisis, U.S. GDP has grown, in the aggregate, 37%. During the period of the Great Depression, U.S. GDP grew, in the aggregate, 40%. In the 1930s, the U.S. economy declined 26% between 1930 and 1933 and unemployment rose to 25%. During the Great Recession the…

Central Bankers Then and Now

Not that anyone cares, but in these pages I’ve been highly critical of the “unconventional” policies pursued by every central banker on the planet since the Financial Crisis.

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life: The Conclusion

It was now late winter of 1971 and I was running the traffic division at the 226th MP Company at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis. In those days Fort Ben was the headquarters of the Army Finance School and the location of the Army Finance Center. The building that housed…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part II

So there we were, in late 1970, having graduated from the U.S. Army Military Police Correctional Specialist Academy, the best-​trained prison guards in the world. We had been assigned to one of the worst prisons in the world, the stockade at Long Bình, Vietnam, better known as the Long Bình…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

A few weeks ago, in a post about J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” I mentioned in passing that I was convinced that having spit-​shined my Army combat boots may have saved my life. I didn’t elaborate, and since then several dozen people have inquired about that brief aside. So…

Why Democracy Matters

Just to make it simple, let’s define Europe’s “illiberal democracies” as those countries where elected leaders profoundly disagree with the liberal, inclusive, affluent worldview of the EU’s political classes.

The Media Has It All Wrong

I mentioned last week that I recently visited Switzerland, Austria and Hungary, and that if we think things have gone nuts in the U.S., we have no idea.

Inside a Swiss Bank

I just returned from one of those whirlwind speaking tours in Europe – three speeches in four days in Zurich, Budapest and Vienna. It was an eye-​opener. Back here in the U.S. we are so focused on the shenanigans going on in Washington, D.C. that we forget that very similar…

The Hillbilly Saga: Conclusion

The bottom line of J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” is that far too many people from southeastern Kentucky are trapped in a hillbilly culture that stands in the way of their own success. As if that weren’t bad enough, hillbillies are discriminated against because people aren’t willing to distinguish…

How to React to a Hillbilly

Last week we tried to imagine how Professor Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-​winning author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” would react if he saw a couple of hillbillies coming into his store. This week we’ll re-​look at that situation, pretending that Kahneman isn’t a Nobel Prize winning professor at all, but…
Close Window Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Keep up with the latest

Sign up for our Newsletter, Pittsburgh Quarterly This Week.

We’ll keep in touch, but only when we think there’s something worth sharing. To receive exclusive Pittsburgh Quarterly news and stories, please fill out the form below. Be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription!

View past newsletters here.

Don’t miss a story! Sign up for our newsletter to receive award-​winning journalism in your inbox.

Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input