From Bretton Woods to World Inflation
A Study of Causes and Consequences
Автор(и) : Henry Hazlitt
Издател : Ludwig von Mises Institute
Място на издаване : Auburn, Alabama, USA
Година на издаване : 2009
ISBN : 0-89526-617-2
Брой страници : 183
Език : английски
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"Henry Hazlitt was a leading editorialist for the New York Times from 1934 until 1946. His career at the paper, however, abruptly ended because of the articles collected in this book. He closely covered the Keynesian-inspired Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, He wrote that the attempt to fix exchange rates and peg world currencies to the dollar which in turn was fixed to gold would not and could not last.
Hazlitt saw that this was not a real gold standard but a complete fake. It did not offer convertibility in a manner that would instill monetary discipline. It trusted governments to maintain a sound money policy with no means of guaranteeing that they would do so. He said, then, that this was not a viable system, and predicted its complete breakdown in time.
Instead, he urged that every country be responsible for the soundness of its own currency. Only that system would produce stability of over time.
He said that the result of trusting governments and tying their fates together would be inflation and the collapse of what remained of sound money.
It’s hard to imagine that such truth-telling thoughts on monetary systems would have appeared as New York Times editorials – not op-eds but the actual editorial position of the paper itself
Sadly, it didn’t last. Tremendous pressure was applied to the New York Times to stop opposing the agreement. Hazlitt would not give in, and kept writing and calling it as he saw it. No one could refute him. In the end, of course, he was pushed out, and the paper reversed its stance.
But who was right? Hazlitt of course! The purpose of this book, then, is to memorialize his brilliance and document the fact that Hazlitt was correct in every detail.
At the suggestion of Hazlitt himself, this book was put together by George Koether, who worked in the archives for months to gather all the documentation of how this great journalist of liberty went about his work. It includes a detailed narration by Koether himself.
It ends with a wonderful epilogue written in 1983. Hazlitt urges an end to inflation by a simple step: stop inflating! He furthers urges the establishment of a genuine gold dollar.
Hazlitt finishes with an intriguing suggestion: “We could of course return to a merely private gold standard, but this is likely to happen only by default, when the paper dollar has become worthless, and millions of Americans have been ruined.”
– “Hazlitt Saw It Then and Now”, Jeffrey Tucker, 2009
"There is a forgotten episode in monetary history that teaches us lessons today. It concerns the controversial role that Henry Hazlitt played in battling the Bretton Woods monetary system. From the very beginning, Hazlitt saw it all coming and warned against Bretton Woods…
He took the job of editorial writer for the New York Times in 1934, after having been drummed out of the editorial spot at the post-Mencken American Mercury because he was Jewish. Mencken had called Hazlitt ""the only economist who can really write,"" and the Times job was a good position for him, one for which he was well prepared. He would write mostly unsigned editorials, speaking for the paper and not for himself.
In fact, when many years later his editorials were collected in a book edited by George Koether, called From Bretton Woods to World Inflation, his archives were the only place that revealed his authorship. Because he was writing them in an institutional voice, his tone was moderated to some extent, a fact he later regretted. Even so, anyone today has to stand in amazement when reading the New York Times editorializing against loose money, paper currency, central banking, and the like. But that was what Hazlitt accomplished.”
– Hazlitt's Battle with Bretton Woods, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
Henry Stuart Hazlitt (November 28, 1894 – July 9, 1993) was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist for various publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and Newsweek. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an important libertarian publication. In 1946 Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal text on free market economics, which Ayn Rand referred to as doing a "...magnificent job of theoretical exposition." Hazlitt is credited with bringing his ideas and those of the so-called Austrian School to the American economics scene and his work has influenced the likes of economist Ludwig von Mises, novelist and essayist Ayn Rand, and 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and congressman, Ron Paul.
Hazlitt was a prolific writer, authoring 25 works in his lifetime.
Ludwig von Mises said at a dinner honoring Hazlitt: "In this age of the great struggle in favor of freedom and the social system in which men can live as free men, you are our leader. You have indefatigably fought against the step-by-step advance of the powers anxious to destroy everything that human civilization has created over a long period of centuries... You are the economic conscience of our country and of our nation."