David Howden

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David Howden is Chair of the Department of Business and Economics, and professor of economics at St. Louis University, at its Madrid Campus, Academic Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada, and winner of the Mises Institute's Douglas E. French Prize. Send him mail.

  • Blog
    First they came for the cash, then they came for the microwaves

    It used to be that central banks were constrained in setting monetary policy by the zero lower...

  • Articles
    Unintended Consequences

    Reprinted from Prices and Markets It is trivial to say that any cardinal number can be added...

  • Blog
    Fractional-reserve car rentals?

    I recently got into a discussion with Philipp Bagus about what the real market test for fractional-reserve banking would be. One potential market test to at least test for the potential viability of the banking model would be to see if there are any other industries that partake in fractional-reserve lending. Lending...

  • Blog
    Government debates fractional-reserve banking

    Three cheers to Steve Baker, Conservative MP from Wycombe, for raising the delicate yet important of matter of fractional-reserve banking in Britain´s House of Commons. We are in a debt crisis of historic proportions because for far too long profit-maximising banks have been lending money into existence as debt with too few...

  • Blog
    Time to Raise Rates?

    Canada emerged relative unscathed from the financial crisis of 2008. Indeed, over the last six years growth...

  • Blog
    An Alternative to the Minimum Wage

    Canada’s top central banker, Stephen Poloz, has sparked some controversy by suggesting that unemployed youths should offer to work for free (gasp!). When I bump into youths, they ask me, you know, ‘What am I supposed to do in a situation?’ I say, look, having something unpaid on your CV is very...

  • Blog
    Real-estate Out of Reach of the Super Wealthy

    The housing boom is searching for ways to keep going. Prices for many high-end pieces of real estate are now out of reach for even the 1% of the super-wealthy. During the last housing boom, terms were reset for the “little people” to make home ownership an attractive financial option. Mortgage maturities...

  • Blog
    The Housing Boom Returns

    For the last decade (or more), Canadians have been ebullient about their home-grown housing boom. Home prices in Toronto have grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. New homeowners have rushed in to take advantage of what seems like a surefire path to riches. Unfortunately while your home might be...

  • Blog
    QE's Seeds are Already Sown

    The Federal Reserve has finally ended its quantitative easing programs. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed has pursued what seemed like an endless policy of asset purchases. As recently as September 2008 the monetary base in the US was just a hair over $800 bn. Today this figure is just...

  • Blog
    Regulate through taxation

    One lesson from the United States’ Obamacare debacle has been that if Congress can’t get its way through regulation, it can always resort to taxes. At least that’s the Supreme Court’s view, after it declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional because it amounted to a tax, something that falls under the domain...

  • Blog
    Legal Victory for the IRS

    With the IRS scandals of early 2014 all but a distant memory, some closure is coming to the groups that the long arm of the tax law harassed. Unfortunately the verdicts aren´t going the way the affected would like. The IRS may have inadvertently figured out how to win its legal battles...

  • Blog
    There Was No Contagion

    If you use the word “contagion” these days, people are likely to think you’re talking about ebola. Backup five years ago, and contagion was the buzzword to describe the financial crisis. The European government bond market was falling apart, and allegedly it had nothing to do with the precarious public finances they...

  • Blog
    A Sensible Central Banker?

    With all the lunacy coming from the world’s central bankers since, well, ever, it’s refreshing to hear something (anything!) sensible coming from one of them finally. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s recent announcement that the BoC would stop using forward guidance included all sorts of encouraging tidbits. Canada’s central bank needs...

  • Blog
    Be Careful When you Wish for a Weak Dollar

    A little over a year ago, Canadians were alarmed by the surging loonie. As the argument went, foreigners (and Americans in particular) couldn’t afford to buy Canadian-made goods. Since the country couldn’t compete, better get the Bank of Canada on the job and inflate so as to depreciate the dollar. One year...

  • Blog
    Some Fortunate Facts about Ebola

    With reporters of the Western World losing their heads over the outbreak of the Ebola virus, it’s helpful to put it in the context of other diseases. This year roughly 8,000 West Africans have contracted the disease, mostly limited to just four countries (Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea). Of these there...

  • Blog
    Venezuela’s Biggest Shortage

    Venezuela’s socialist government has beset the population with all sorts of terrible travesties, from high inflation to shortages of toilet paper. Now the country’s poor citizens have one more shortage to grapple with: breast implants. Apparently the country’s restrictive currency controls have hindered physicians from buying approved implants. Unable to beautify themselves...

  • Blog
    Housing Bubble on the Thames

    With London England the new place to be for oil-rich Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern sheiks, the...

  • Blog
    Uncle Sam´s Annual Borrowing 14 Times Worse Than Thought

    Lots of people like to concentrate on the deficit when looking at public finances. In 2013, he federal government of the United States ran a budget deficit of $614 billion, which is quite a bit, but seemingly small relative to the $17 trillion economy. (Though as I recently showed, if you want...

  • Blog
    More European “Growth” Shenanigans

    Europe got some good news in early June as the EU changed its statistical guidelines on how to compute GDP. Among other changes, expenditures on prostitution and illicit drugs (hookers and blow, colloquially) will now be included. Of course, some countries have been including these items for years. Back in 2006, the...

  • Blog
    New Taxes on the Way

    The province of Ontario is a financial basket case. The provincial government pays nearly 10% of its tax revenue on interest to cover the $270bn. debt load (over $20,000 per Ontarian). To put this in perspective, the slow-motion train wreck state of California only pays out a little under 3% of its...