It’s no accident that Austrian economics is newly popular. It provides the best explanation for the business cycle we just lived through. But the resurgent popularity of Austrian economics may actually be hampering the ability of the Federal Reserve to reflate the economy with low interest rate policies. Businesses, now aware of the dangers of a low inflation- sparked economic bubble, may simply be refusing to fall for the age-old boom-bust trap.Why have Austrians become so popular? Perhaps J. D. Hamel at the FrumForum is on to something:
People tell me scary stories about the laissez-faire free market of the George W. Bush years, despite the fact that government grew rapidly during Bush’s tenure. And it seems odd to call the pre-2008 housing market heavily deregulated when government sponsored companies owned trillions of dollars of housing debt. [...] The Austrian school rejected this narrative. Its economists were accessible and spoke to the unease that many conservatives felt. Their criticisms echoed those of mainstream economists. They blamed the Fed’s monetary policy. So did liberal economist Joe Stiglitz. They blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So did Keynesian economist Ragu Rajan and Nobel laureate Gary Becker. On this front, the Austrian school was as sensible as it was unremarkable. But the Austrians’ passion and consistency made them excellent spokespersons for the market economy.