I am personally interested in how the lack of information or proper presentation of that information led to the current financial crisis. Obviously the information was available — but not well understood, not correctly aggregated or falsely interpreted by politicians that were responsible for phony policies and flawed legislations.
And even now — as the information is presented to legislators – it seems that politicians come to very different conclusions about wether or not there should be a bailout of the failing banks. And the matter is so complex, that obviously only few people understand the issues and the pro’s and con’s of all options.
There have been other desasters where information has been presented in a fashion that allowed it to be ignored or misinterpreted too easily. I assume that the pretext of the current financial crisis is full of examples of such kind.
People seemed to be surprised by the financial crisis. But market experts have been ringing bells for quite some time.
For instance Thorsten Polleit from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. In an article about the increasing “credit crisis” he wrote in early Februrary 2008 for the Ludwig von Mises Institute:
A crisis must be feared, however, if it has been caused by government action, and if the obvious signs of the crisis provoke ever greater doses of government intervention. In this case, the market would be prevented from doing its job properly. Bad decisions would be perpetuated, and the ultimate crisis may become nasty.
Polleit has written many other very interesting articles for the Mises Institute. Many reflect on the theories of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. For instance an article from early August 2008 about the problems of a government money-supply monopoly:
There is no escape from the costs of correcting the damage inflicted by government paper-money standards. However, when looking for monetary-reform proposals, Mises’s work must be given highest public attention: he proposed ending the government money-supply monopoly — which he identified as the root of the problem — and returning money to the free market. Only in this way can the costs of the final monetary and economic collapse be prevented from becoming disastrously high. Mises wrote, “The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
I found this site through a clip from a Duck Tales episode on YouTube that may be understandable for kids as well:
Why is the Duck Tale episode so relevant?
There have been apologets of free market and sound money whose theories seem to be neglected by the Bailout Bill suggested by the US administration. Here is a 42 minute documentary about the US monetary system and the Federal Reserve:
You want more?
The Ludwig von Mises Institute has compiled a good Bailout Reader with articles related to the financial crisis.
If you really want to be up to date what happens in the US the site cpsanjunkie.org collects the most important video clips.
Private control over the monetary system?
If you are leaning towards conspiracy theories — you may think how private control about the money system came into being:
Ron Paul has recently interacted with Bernard Bernake, the chairman of the Federal Reserve during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. When questioned about the powers of the Fed to create money Bernake only responds with the 1913 Federal Reserve Act:
But as you can see in this video here, Ron Paul thinks that this Act is against the US consitution:
My current question here now is: Would better design of the information needed in the context help to make better decisions in the future?