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"The Austrian school spend so much time arguing over what the true Austrian view is and who are the true forefathers (Rothbard, Mises, etc), that they leave everyone confused about what Austrian economics is all about.
I tend to think of Austrian economics as a cult or religion that has splintered into multiple factions over the years. The three common threads between these factions are radicalism, an undying belief that the market fixes everything and an abhorrence of organised economic or political institutionalism of any kind. The third of these three threads is inherently contradictory in that it refuses to acknowledge that the block that capitalist success has been built on, the corporation, is the most fundamental of all institutions and its success is based on a centralised and dictatorial decision making process. The criteria for success that Austrian school members judge themselves by is the distance their views exist from mainstream thought and these criteria have little to offer in terms of workable economic solutions.
Austrian economics bemoans, perhaps in some instances justifiably, the centralization of public services that has occurred in developed nations since World War I but refuses to acknowledge that successive electorates have voted in these changes. In their utopian vision of the world a gold-backed money supply would eliminate the business cycle and gold-miners would be immune to the corruptive forces central bankers are exposed to. Their depiction of the central banker as the demonic puppet master at the hands of the base money pump fails to acknowlede that, historically, bank failures have been caused by gold-hoarding on the part of the public in times of crisis and a lack of a lender of last resort during financial crises. In the real world central bankers do indeed attempt to control short term interest rates but they are generally guided by the market. The future path of the central bank rate on average does not vary all that much from the market derived yield curve.
Business cycles happen. At the top of a business cycle lending gets ahead of itself and when the realization hits that some of these loans can't be paid back, there is a liquidity crunch which usually causes a recession. This happens regardless of whether loans were made as gold or fractional reserve based deposits. The primary difference between central bank controlled fractional reserve lending and gold based lending is that when liquidity crises occur the former has evolved over time to offer backstop solutions to destructive deflationary effects inherent in liquidity crises whereas the latter offers no such solutions."