Polemics & Exchanges

Learning From Mises?

I read with great interest R. Cort Kirkwood’s review of Christopher Ferrara’s The Church and the Libertarian (“Anarcho-Utopia Revisited”) in the November issue of Chronicles.  Mr. Kirkwood does a great service by pointing out the pitfalls, from a Catholic perspective, of some of the thinking of some adherents of the Austrian School.

While Mr. Kirkwood warns against getting involved with the Austrians, I would like to share what I learned from those “two agnostic Jews.”  About 1973 I was introduced to Ludwig von Mises via Fr. Bernard Dempsey, S.J.’s discussion of Mises’ theory of interest in Father Dempsey’s book Interest and Usury.  From Father Dempsey’s writing I got no sense of Mises’ anti-Christianity or Jewishness, only a sense of respect for his economic analysis of the phenomenon of interest.  In the 90’s, after a partial rereading of Father Dempsey’s book, I was prompted to learn more about Mises’ understanding of the nature of fractional-reserve banking and its contribution to the boom-and-bust cycle.  Last year I learned of Dr. Stephen D. Long’s comparison of Father Dempsey’s and Mises’ understandings of fiat money and its effects on the distribution of income.   Both concluded that fiat money...

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