Patrick Barron

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Patrick Barron is a consultant to the banking industry. He teaches Austrian school economics at the University of Iowa and Bank Managemant Simulation for the Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin. Visit his blog. Send him mail.

  • Blog
    Theresa May leads the singing of Kumbaya in Davos

      (Here’s my response to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Find the full text of her speech below my comments.) Oh, boy…where to start?… If May wants to promote free trade and globalization, then why not just declare unilateral free trade for...

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    The statist view of the world

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: Meanwhile, The Guardian reported that Lodewijk Asscher, leader of the Dutch Labour party (PvdA), which is currently a partner in the ruling coalition government, has said “I propose to come to a new trade agreement with Great Britain, but only if we can agree firmly upon...

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    My letter to the NY Times re: Free Basic Income Is Not a Solution to Unemployment

    Re: Free Money for the Jobless Dear Sirs: Your article about Finland’s experiment in providing a free basic income to the unemployed fails to address the main question–what exactly is the cause of unemployment and what is the best way to eliminate it? The cause of unemployment is a change in the...

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    The Chimera of State Regulation of Health and Safety Standards

    Federal regulation of health and safety is based upon several illogical premises. Unfortunately these premises are never discussed. Instead we are bombarded with scare stories that business intends to make its profits with no consideration to the health of the public or the safety of its workers.   Illogical premise number one:...

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    Germans favor a self-destructive policy

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: Majority of Germans want Merkel to take tough stance in Brexit negotiations A poll for the Körber Foundation reveals that 58% of Germans think Chancellor Angela Merkel should ‘negotiate tough’ with the UK while 40% say she should be ‘ready to compromise’. Within Merkel’s CDU party...

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    Raising taxes is “tax harmonization”; lowering taxes is “Brutal Brexit”

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: European Commission plans corporate tax rule harmonisation The European Commission will announce plans today to harmonise corporation tax policy across the EU. The plans would not mandate a single tax rate across Europe, but would instead seek to “eliminate the mismatches and loopholes between national tax systems, which...

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    Should the Fed Raise Interest Rates?

    For some time now the Fed has been hinting that it will moderate its interventions–monetizing government debt by printing money to buy government bonds and now quantitative easing by printing money to buy corporate bonds–in order to drive down the interest rate to unprecedented low levels. The Keynesian theory behind these interventions...

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    Italy wants other European nations to pay its unemployment bills

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: Italy to propose Eurozone joint unemployment insurance scheme La Repubblica reports that Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan will later this month submit to his Eurozone counterparts a draft plan for a joint unemployment insurance scheme. Eurozone countries would contribute gradually to the tune of 0.5%...

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    There is no such thing as a negative interest rate

    We Austrian economists are used to having terms corrupted, misused and redefined by statists and others who love and advocate strong central control of money and power. The term “inflation” is a prime example. We Austrians refer to “inflation” as creating new fiat money–as in inflation of the money supply. This is...

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    A wonderful new book about Austrian economics for the layman

    Blind Robbery! How the Fed, Banks, and Government Steal Our Money by Andreas Marquart and Philipp Bagus Reviewed by Patrick Barron   The purpose of this book is nothing less than to foment a revolt against the economic and monetary status quo, which, if continued, will destroy civilization as we know it....

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    The Real Lesson of Brexit

    The Real Lesson of Brexit by Patrick Barron   Following the surprise vote by the UK to leave the European Union, most commentators are trying to understand the rationale behind the British vote. Let me be a contrarian and ask, why does it matter? Undoubtedly there is no single reason that millions...

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    Wrong solution to a misunderstood problem

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: Business Secretary says growth must take priority over deficit as Carney warns Brexit risks beginning to ‘crystallise’ Bank of England Governor Mark Carney yesterday warned that the financial risks of Brexit “have begun to crystallise” and relaxed rules on banking capital, with the aim of releasing as much...

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    My letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer in defense of Brexit

    Dear Sirs: Trudy Rubin claims that “Brexit would be a huge step backward”, but she never explains why. Oh, she does correlate the growth of the EU regulatory state with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but this is not cause-and-effect. The Soviet Union collapsed because NATO stood guard over the Western democracies until...

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    Puerto Rico needs better advisors

    Re: House passes bill to restructure Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to appoint a special commission to restructure and renegotiate Puerto Rico’s unsustainable debt. The hubris of Congress that it and its appointed commissioners have superior knowledge regarding public finance is farcical. It...

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    Trade negotiations are not necessary

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: WTO chief warns of “complex and drawn-out” trade negotiations after Brexit Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the WTO, has warned that it could take Britain decades to disentangle its trading relations with the EU and negotiate new ties with the rest of the world after Brexit. He told...

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    Defending property rights cures the bathroom controversy

      The current tempest in a teapot among the “rights” advocates is that no one should be restricted from using the gender specific bathroom of his choice. The “rights” advocates want to use the police power of the state to ensure this outcome. The federal government has come down on the side...

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    Another reason to get rid of the euro

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: European Commission considering new tools to prevent cash outflows from failing banks According to a document seen by the Financial Times, the European Commission is considering proposing a new ‘moratorium tool’ that would give national regulators the power to freeze payments to bondholders and potentially halt depositor...

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    My response to an email blast by Roger Helmer, member of the European Parliament

    Per your recent email: “But the key point is that the UK is a massive importer (and net importer) of EU goods.  We will in fact be the EU’s largest export customer.  Bar none.  This is undesirable from a balance-of-payments point of view, but it gives us enormous negotiating clout.” Dear Roger, One...

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    Is an increase in German exports a good thing for Germany?

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: German exports rise unexpectedly German exports rose by 1.9% month-on-month in March 2016, according to new data released by the National Statistics Office (Destatis) yesterday. It was the largest monthly increase in half a year, and came as a surprise to analysts who did not expect...

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    Another step toward cash confiscation in Europe

    From today’s Open Europe news summary: ECB to halt production of €500 note, but it will retain its value The European Central Bank announced yesterday that it would stop printing the €500 note from the end of 2018 due to, “concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities.” However, the bank confirmed...