America's Great Depression is a 1963 treatise on the 1930s Great Depression and its root causes, written by Austrian School economist and author Murray Rothbard.
Rothbard blames the interventionist policies of the Herbert Hoover administration for magnifying the duration, breadth, and intensity of the Great Depression. Rothbard explains the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which holds that government manipulation of the money supply sets the stage for the familiar ""boom-bust"" phases of the modern market. He then detailed the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve from 1921 to 1929 as evidence that the depression was essentially caused not by speculation, but by government and central bank interference in the market.
“It is important, first, to distinguish between business cycles and ordinary business fluctuations. We live necessarily in a society of continual and unending change, change that can never be precisely charted in advance. People try to forecast and anticipate changes as best they can, but such forecasting can never be reduced to an exact science. Entrepreneurs are in the business of forecasting changes on the market, both for conditions of demand and of supply. The more successful ones make profits pari passus with their accuracy of judgment, while the unsuccessful forecasters fall by the wayside. As a result, the successful entrepreneurs on the free market will be the ones most adept at anticipating future business conditions. Yet, the forecasting can never be perfect, and entrepreneurs will continue to differ in the success of their judgments. If this were not so, no profits or losses would ever be made in business.”
Murray N. Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard (March 2, 1926 – January 7, 1995) was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the American libertarian movement.
Building on the Austrian School's concept of spontaneous order, support for a free market in money production and condemnation of central planning, Rothbard advocated abolition of coercive government control of society and the economy. He considered the monopoly force of government the greatest danger to liberty and the long-term well-being of the populace, labeling the state as nothing but a "gang of thieves writ large"—the locus of the most immoral, grasping and unscrupulous individuals in any society.
Rothbard concluded that all services provided by monopoly governments could be provided more efficiently by the private sector. He viewed many regulations and laws ostensibly promulgated for the "public interest" as self-interested power grabs by scheming government bureaucrats engaging in dangerously unfettered self-aggrandizement, as they were not subject to market disciplines. Rothbard held that there were inefficiencies involved with government services and asserted that market disciplines would eliminate them, if the services could be provided by competition in the private sector.
Rothbard was equally condemning of state corporatism, criticizing many instances where business elites co-opted government's monopoly power so as to influence laws and regulatory policy in a manner benefiting them at the expense of their competitive rivals.
He argued that taxation represents coercive theft on a grand scale, and "a compulsory monopoly of force" prohibiting the more efficient voluntary procurement of defense and judicial services from competing suppliers. He also considered central banking and fractional reserve banking under a monopoly fiat money system a form of state-sponsored, legalized financial fraud, antithetical to libertarian principles and ethics. Rothbard opposed military, political, and economic interventionism in the affairs of other nations.