The Money Meltdown: A Conversation with Thomas Woods Jr. by Brian Saint-Paul 3/11/09
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Q: We’ve had bailouts and stimulus packages, and possibly more of both in the near future. If you were to look into a crystal ball, where are we going to be in 20 years? Where is all of this heading? Will we reach a point of total economic collapse? Or will we wind up as the newest Euro-style state?
It seems to me that the best-case scenario is a kind of European third-way stagnation: high unemployment, anemic growth (if any), and a whole bunch of people scratching their heads and wondering why this is happening. That could be our fate.
Of course, it could be worse. It may turn into something like what Japan endured in the 1990s and beyond — though at least Japan had some domestic savings as a cushion. Or there could well be a complete collapse of the system, with the dollar destroyed. This is all conditional, because it depends in large part on what the government does. Its cure is almost sure to be worse than the disease.
I’d love to think that if a collapse came, people would say, “Obviously, intervention doesn’t work, so let’s try what the Austrians have been suggesting.” But I think instead a demagogue would rise up to say — as usual — that the problem is not enough government involvement, and that he’s going to rescue us.
That’s the most likely outcome.
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Thomas E. Woods Jr. is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of nine books, including two New York Times bestsellers: The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and the just-released Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, as well as the award-winning The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy. Visit his new Web site.
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