The Austrian Indicator: What Is It Predicting Now?

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

I presented two papers on Austrian economics at the annual Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) last week.

One was called “Squaring the Mises Circle: How to Integrate Austrian Economics in the Classroom and Mainstream Textbooks.” The other was entitled, “Measuring Hayek’s Triangle: Gross Output as the Top Line in National Income Accounting and a Leading Indicator.”

In both presentations, I talked about gross output (GO) as an important breakthrough in accurately measuring the economy. It demonstrates that business is the key catalyst in determining the direction of the economy and our standard of living.

Peter Boettke, leader of today’s Austrian school at George Mason University, and Mark Skousen at the APEE Session on “Big Ideas in Economics.”

One attendee said, “You must be pleased with the success of GO.” I told him that we were halfway there. The federal government is expected to publish GO at the same time as gross domestic product (GDP) within the next two years, and several textbooks discussing GO are currently in circulation. However, the media is still far behind, constantly putting out misleading news on GDP — that consumer spending drives the economy, increased savings hurt the nation and government spending is a positive contribution to the economy, no matter how much.

To keep up to date about GO, go to www.grossoutput.com.

I began my lectures by pointing out that I’ve spent most of my career trying to teach, write and incorporate Austrian economics in my financial newsletters and classrooms.

My book, “A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street: Austrian Economics for Investors,” suggests that the stock market is not a random walk down Wall Street, but a dance — sometimes fast like a Viennese Waltz and sometimes slow like a Tennessee waltz.

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In the book, I talked about the “Austrian indicator,” that predicted the recessions and market tops in 2000 and 2008… What is it predicting now?

Most economists and financial experts look at the 10-year Treasury bond rate to see if the rate is rising or falling. But Austrian economists, such as myself, look at the structure of interest rates, that is, the yield curve comparing the short-term rates with the long-term rates. Normally, the yield curve is positive.

But if it turns negative, watch out, it could spell trouble.

Fortunately, right now, the yield curve is still positive, so I remain positive long-term about the stock market (bumpy as it is these days).

Highlights of “A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street” include:

  • Why the “Austrian Indicator” does a better job of anticipating recessions and market tops.
  • Why gold and silver have become superior inflation hedges since President Nixon closed the gold window in 1971.
  • How to distinguish between genuine prosperity and artificial prosperity.
  • Are we headed for another stock market crash? Will the dollar collapse?
  • Where is the next asset bubble?
  • What are the dangers of the “gold bug syndrome”?

This book will help you become a better investor. It contains chapters on Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, Mises, Hayek, Schumpeter, Kirzner and Rothbard. Plus, read chapters on Keynes, Fisher, Milton Friedman and many colorful figures in the financial world.

How to Order

“A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street” is a 260-page quality paperback published by Laissez Faire Books, and retails for $24.95. You pay only $20 and I pay the postage. To order, contact Ensign Publishing, toll-free 1-866-254-2057. (For all orders outside the United States, call Harold to get a quote on the cost of mailing the book.)

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Upcoming Appearances

Hear Me Speak to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), Saturday, April 21, Skirball Center, Los Angeles

I will be appearing with Pomona College Professor Gary Smith. My topic will be “Benjamin Franklin on Money, Investing and the Pursuit of Happiness.” I appear in costume as Ben Franklin. The price is only $15 at the door, or a discounted $12 by mailing a check to AAII Los Angeles Chapter, PO Box 854, Santa Monica, CA 90406. For more information, contact Fred at Fredwallace77@gmail.com. Afterwards, I will be signing copies of the “Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin.” Join us!

The MoneyShow Las VegasMay 14-16, 2018, Bally’s: I’ll be making a main stage appearance, followed by several breakout sessions on technology, high income and sound economics. Other speakers include Ralph Acampora, John Buckingham, Marilyn Cohen, Jeff Hirsch, Gary Shilling and Kelley Wright. For more information, call 1-800-970-4355 and mention priority code 044870 or go to https://conferences.moneyshow.com/moneyshow-las-vegas/.

You Blew It!
WHERE FREEDOM IS A DANGEROUS WORD: COLLEGE CAMPUSES

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire

At the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) meetings last week, I was reminded of Voltaire’s alleged statement when Alan Kors, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, updated us on the “Betrayal of Liberty on College Campuses.” He co-wrote the definite book on the subject, “The Shadow University.

He also helped start FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), which defends professors and students who have had their first amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly denied. FIRE has a lot of success stories, which is refreshing. They speak regularly at FreedomFest, as has Professor Kors.

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In his talk, Kors said that despite many protests against speech codes, the universities are constantly violating first amendment rights for students and faculty to freely express themselves, which may include racial and ethnic slurs. He said that one higher institution of education even made it a violation of the speech codes if you disagreed with their policies! It has gotten that bad.

I teach at Chapman University in California, a market-friendly university, and have not encountered any problems so far. Of course, I am the gentle professor who still wears a coat and tie, as well as avoids abusive language. And I have yet to write a controversial book like Charles Murray’s “The Bell Curve.” As a result, he was assaulted at Middlebury College.

As John Adams once said in the Broadway play, “1776,” “This is a revolution, damn it. We have to offend somebody.”

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