Monday, December 07, 2009


Printed in Tribune-Star 12/7/09

Gentlemen, how is wealth created?

ISU’s Donald Richards disagrees much with the Tribune-Star’s Arthur Foulkes on economic issues. I would like to put a question to these two gentlemen. (We can invite Rose Hulman’s Kevin Christ to add his thoughts.)

How is wealth created?

I certainly tend to agree with Mr. Foulkes much more than “conventional” present-day economists. Mr. Foulkes and I lean much toward the Austrian School. I suspect we will come close to the answer of Murray Rothbard.

I hope Richards and Christ will answer differently than the mistaken thought of printing money and giving it to the state (Federal) government to spend. I consider that a silly answer. (Not to call the men silly. There is a distinction here which some seem to miss. The most admired people can support silly propositions.)

Gentlemen, please keep answers under 500 words.

How is wealth created?

— Ed Gluck

Terre Haute

Here is a great letter from 12/6/09:

Freedom, not government is the answer

A prophet is without honor in his own land … and the statists of the ISU economics department are sharpening their personal attacks on Arthur Foulkes and his advocacy of freedom.

The latest is a defense of Keynesian economics coupled with an ad hominem attack on Mr. Foulkes, by Mr. Richards of the aforementioned econ department. When a letter starts and ends with name-calling (“would-be expert”, “ersatz economic journalist”), it is likely that in between won’t be much of an improvement.

Week in and week out in his columns, Mr. Foulkes argues solidly for freedom, property rights and individual self-determination. These principles are the antithesis of Keynesian ideas that government knows best; that the state must step in when individuals, in Mr. Richards words, suffer from distorted “animal spirits.”

One doesn’t need a degree in economics, only common sense and thoughtfulness, to determine they should control their own life and not some politician or bureaucrat seeking some amorphous “common good,” macroeconomic or otherwise.

It is a non-partisan fact, which Mr. Richards blatantly disregards in his letter, that the government has nothing to spend except what it has confiscated, by force, from private citizens.

Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek identifies what he describes as the fatal conceit; the notion that some government or academic pogue can know all that is necessary to direct and plan what is best for everyone else. They can’t know what each of us, as individuals, value when we decide on a course of action for our property or ourselves.

It is Keynesian economic ideas that drive the destructive government interventions we have been and are experiencing in our economic lives. Mr. Foulkes advocates freedom, not government, as the answer.

It would be interesting to know just what it is about freedom and liberty that some economists find so frightening.

— Ryan Cummins

Terre Haute