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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7879/did-capitalism-cause-the-great-depression/

Did Capitalism Cause the Great Depression?

March 7, 2008 by

Murray Rothbard, in a memo dated 1959, reviews Robbins’s book on the Great Depression:

Lionel Robbins’s The Great Depression (Macmillan, 1934) is one of the great economic works of our time. Its greatness lies not so much in originality of economic thought, as in the application of the best economic thought to the explanation of the cataclysmic phenomena of the Great Depression. This is unquestionably the best work published on the Great Depression.

At the time that Robbins wrote this work, he was perhaps the second most eminent follower of Ludwig von Mises (Hayek being the first). To his work, Robbins brought a clarity and polish of style that I believe to be unequalled among any economists, past or present. Robbins is the premier economic stylist. FULL ARTICLE


Paul Marks March 7, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Sadly Robbins had ratted on his work (or at least was no longer defending it) by the time Murry Rothbard wrote this letter.

Today Robbins is remembered in Britain (if he is remembered at all) as the man responsible for the “Robbins Report” – a demand for yet more tax money for the creation of new universities and the expansion of existing ones.

The story of Robbins is one of a very depressing moral collapse

Almost needless to say, the disgusting report was agreed to by the government and acted upon.

Inquisitor March 7, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Both Hayek and Robbins declined in their older age. I suppose they never had Mises’ moral courage.

John Holtgreve March 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Perhaps Churchill’s famous appraisal of liberalism and conservatism can unfortunately be applied to classical liberalism as well. Thankfully Ron Paul (and his bevy of ex-Goldwater supporters) have broken this mold. Let us hope my generation (I’m 21) more than replaces theirs in the ensuing decades.

kel March 8, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Inquisitor – could you expound on your comments about Hake? Did he sell out at one point?

Inquisitor March 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm

No, but he watered down his methodological contributions views significantly. He also ceased being a minarchist in favour of a somewhat more interventionist government. It’s the matter of debate to what extent this happened, but he never clinged as steadfastly to his principles as Mises did.

Elaine Supkis March 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Britain and Germany caused the Great Depression because they started WWI. They fought until they both were bankrupt. After the war, Britain tried to use money Germany borrowed from the US to expand their empire even though England was bankrupt.

When Germany ceased paying England these loans, US banks went bankrupt, England went bankrupt and then the whole world went into a global depression.

This is because England ruled the Seven Seas and England’s banks were the core of international commerce. To this day, we still have the LIBOR rates which are still set in London.

But the gross misuse of wealth to keep fighting WWI during the stalemate is what caused all this. Since England wanted desperately to cling to empire even after WWII showed that this was totally insane. Churchill told the US, he was going to continue to exploit India and much of Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East including Egypt. Truman and Eisenhower put an end to all this. And England wanted to do it while deep in debt to the US!

Sort of like us expanding our empire as we also are going bankrupt. We are demanding China give us loans for our imperial pretensions. This is causing us to drag the whole planet into a depression just like England and Germany did in the past.

All the ‘remedies’ are fool’s errands if an empire is going broke. This is why our empire is printing money like crazy. Don’t forget, England cut off the pound from gold in 1932. Because they were bankrupt. Many people refuse to understand the connection between empire and bankruptcy: all empires end up bankrupt due to corruption at the core and excessive military spending.

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