YouTube Lectures

The Cautious Optimism Economics Correspondent conducts intermittent lectures/presentations to interested audiences.

2/25/2019 - QE, National debt, and the Global Reserve Dollar: Why Predictions of Dollar Collapse Keep Falling Short

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Part 1: Introduction and QE1, QE2, and QE3 (45 minutes: presentation begins at 2:40)

Part 2: The Global Reserve Dollar (35 minutes)

Part 3: The National Debt (44 minutes)

Proponents of free markets and fiscal responsibility have been dismayed at many federal government policies to “fight” the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. Unprecedented quantitative easing and a ballooning national debt have alarmed even non-libertarians, and worries that the U.S. dollar may lose its position as preeminent global reserve currency have added to those concerns.

But many libertarian economists, pundits and even some conservatives have warned for over a decade that the only possible outcome is a collapse of the dollar and hyperinflation, accompanied by Great Depression-level malaise and even an unraveling of civilization itself.

While all these policies provide valid reason for concern, is endogenous hyperinflation and dollar collapse really an inevitability? Or for that matter even probable? Chris Silber argues the answer is no, at least for the next several decades and highly unlikely even after that.

In this presentation the precise mechanisms that have restrained quantitative easing’s and indebtedness’s inflationary tendencies will be discussed. What makes the U.S. dollar still the reserve currency of choice for central banks worldwide, and why it’s unlikely to lose its standing anytime soon will also evaluated.

10/22/2018 - The Gold Standard: History, Theory and Fallacies

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Part 1: History and Theory (1 hour, 38 minutes: presentation begins at 1:16)

Part 2: Fallacies (45 minutes)

The gold standard has plenty of advocates and even more critics. But what exactly is the gold standard? Is it a singular monetary system or have multiple versions of the gold standard operated in different countries at different times throughout history?

What are the gold standard's virtues and what are the challenges and objections to returning to gold-based money?

Chris Silber's second and last monetary economics lecture of 2018 integrates a brief history of the gold standard with the theoretical concepts that govern its operation including the market-driven monetary base, gold's role in monetary aggregates, Gresham's Law, and inflation/deflation.

The talk will conclude with a list of fallacies and objections cited by enemies and even friends of gold against replacing today's dominant fiat monetary systems with a gold standard.

6/25/2018 - The Historical Case Against the Federal Reserve: The regulatory origins of banking and financial instability before 1914

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Part 1: State-Level Unit Banking Regulations (49 minutes: presentation begins at 2:21)

Part 2: The Antebellum Central Banks: First and Second Banks of the United States (16 minutes)

3. The National Banking System of 1862-1913 (29 minutes)

4. Banking Regulations After 1913 (33 minutes)

The Federal Reserve has received renewed criticism and scrutiny in the decade since the global financial crisis. Yet the Fed has large and powerful lobbies of apologists among the mainstream press, academics, and policymakers who have argued without the Fed the U.S. banking system would return to the more frequent and disruptive financial crises of the pre-Fed era (1792-1913).

While it’s true that the U.S suffered from frequent banking panics throughout the 19th century, was the absence of a central bank really the cause? And if so, why then during the same period did countries like Canada and Scotland experience remarkable financial stability without a central bank? Were in fact pernicious state and federal regulations the real source of the U.S. banking system’s fragility? And if so shouldn’t Fed apologists in academia and the mainstream press know better?

Chris Silber will discuss the regulatory history of U.S. banking including the real causes of frequent financial crises during the 1792-1913 period: restrictive unit banking laws, America’s antebellum central banks, and the post-Civil War National Banking System. The similarly unstable English and contrasting sound Canadian and Scottish systems will also be examined.

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