Having got back from the Mises Circle event in Houston just a couple of hours ago, I give you my brief report. I’d guess the crowd was around 150 strong. The atmosphere was great, and the food was yummy.
Lew spoke on 5 paradigms or justifications for government. Very nice. I recommend listening to the MP3 once it’s posted. In the Q&A that followed, one of my favorite perrenial questions was raised: how could a gold standard be as stable as our current monetary system? I won’t deal with Lew’s brief answer or the larger literature on the subject, but just raise a point among the many that Lew did. During the heyday of the international gold standard, each national currency was defined as a weight of gold, and therefore currencies traded at fixed exchange ratios. One of the checks on governments and central banks was their balance of accounts in bullion. But, in our modern era, as is so forcibly brought home to me in my work as a Project Engineer on large projects, currency risk plays a major role. For instance, right now I am involved in a methanol plant to be built in Egypt. The client is based in Canada, my company is based in Norway but will be executed in Houston and Mumbai, the equipment will be bought around the world, and the construction will be done by a German firm in Egypt. So, the project is a mix of Nowegian Kroners, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Egyptian Pounds, and Indian Rupees right off the bat (not counting the equipment suppliers).
During dinner, Ron Paul gave a nice speech on his recent experiences with The Maestro and other congresscritters. Very entertaining.
Lastly, James Fogal gave a brief talk on tax shelters for charitable giving. I’m glad he did, because I wasn’t aware of two of the three strategies he presented!
Throughout, it was a joy. There was a good deal of time between lectures to mingle and meet the other attendees — some familiar faces, some known only through email, many new faces. I was sorry not to see my buddy Stephan (on vacation). I also held out hope that I might see Tim and Judy Dove, or Rob Bradley, or Laura Coker-Garcia, or many of my other Houston libertarian friends: maybe next time?
Comments: If I had my way, there would have been even more time to socialize. There should have been a premium supper with Pat Barnett, James Fogal, and Lew Rockwell. I would have loved a participant list, as is often given out at conferences. I made some good contacts for dinners out with spouses — I’d like to make more!
Thanks for making it happen, Mises Institute. It was a blast! I’m already looking forward to the next one, featuring John Denson (will he come?) and Jeff Tucker.
If Tucker is on the bill, and the invitation says “dress is casual”, what will the men wear?