Orrin Woodward Leadership

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    Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE Leadership. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.




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Archive for October, 2009

Classical Liberal Education – Shattered Glass: Repairing the Ruins

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 25, 2009

I have been reading the Great Book Series from Encyclopedia Britannica and am enjoying them immensely.  I have finished the first two books and am wrapping up the Syntopicon currently.  The Syntopicon was written by Mortimer Adler and is a compendium/discussion of the Greatest Ideas in the Great Books.  This is significantly different than my education at GMI (now Kettering) which focused on logical process thinking.  I loved the training and still use the process thinking to this day, but I missed nearly all of the Liberal Arts training. 

 

I watched a video recently that described what can happen if you are not educated in all areas to build a unity out of the apparent diversity.  As a Christian, my faith unites all the seemingly disparate parts into unified world-view.  I encourage you to watch this video several times and think through what the various authors communicate.  The Team Leadership is about learning and growing. Authentic personal development must begin with learning about self.  Creating the habit of reading and listening separates you from the mass of people instantly, but I encourage you to take it to the next level and give yourself a classical liberal education.  It is important to know yourself and know our history before we can lead into the future.  I am very proud of the leaders out there who are accepting responsibility for their personal growth.  I also attached a phenomenal outline by Robert Harris on what a classical liberal education can do.  It is time to repair our shattered educations. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

 

 

On the Purpose of a Liberal Arts Education by Robert Harris

When they first arrive at college, many students are surprised at the general education classes they must take in order to graduate. They wonder why someone who wants to be an accountant or psychologist or television producer should study subjects that have nothing directly to do with those fields. And that is a reasonable question–Why should you study history, literature, philosophy, music, art, or any other subject outside of your major? Why should you study any subject that does not help to train you for a job? Why should you study computer programming when you will never write a program? Why study logic when all you want to do is teach first grade or be a church organist?

In answer to this question, let’s look at some of the benefits a liberal arts education and its accompanying widespread knowledge will give you.

I. A liberal arts education teaches you how to think

1. You will develop strength of mind and an ordered intellect. The mind is like a muscle; exercise makes it stronger and more able to grasp ideas and do intellectual work. Exercising the mind in one area–whether literature or sociology or accounting–will strengthen it for learning in other areas as well. What at first was so difficult–the habits of attention and concentration, the ability to follow arguments, and the ability to distinguish the important from the trivial and to grasp new concepts–all these become easier as the mind is exercised and enlarged by varied study.

You will also learn that thinking has its own grammar, its own orderly structure and set of rules for good use. Many subjects help the student to develop an ordered mind, and each subject contributes in a slightly different way. A careful study of computer programming or mathematics or music or logic or good poetry–or all of these–will irresistibly demonstrate the structure of thought and knowledge and intellectual movement, and will create the habit of organized thinking and of rational analysis. Once you develop good thinking habits, you will be able to perform better in any job, but more importantly, the happier your life will be. After your class in programming or poetry you may never write another line of code or verse, but you will be a better husband or wife or preacher or businessman or psychologist, because you will take with you the knowledge of organized solutions, of hierarchical procedures, of rational sequences that can be applied to any endeavor.

2. You will be able to think for yourself. The diverse body of knowledge you will gain from a liberal arts education, together with the tools of examination and analysis that you will learn to use, will enable you to develop your own opinions, attitudes, values, and beliefs, based not upon the authority of parents, peers, or professors, and not upon ignorance, whim, or prejudice, but upon your own worthy apprehension, examination, and evaluation of argument and evidence. You will develop an active engagement with knowledge, and not be just the passive recipient of a hundred boring facts. Your diverse studies will permit you to see the relations between ideas and philosophies and subject areas and to put each in its appropriate position.

Good judgment, like wisdom, depends upon a thoughtful and rather extensive acquaintance with many areas of study. And good judgment requires the ability to think independently, in the face of pressures, distortions, and overemphasized truths. Advertisers and politicians rely on a half-educated public, on people who know little outside of their own specialty, because such people are easy to deceive with so-called experts, impressive technical or sociological jargon, and an effective set of logical and psychological tricks.

Thus, while a liberal arts education may not teach you how to take out an appendix or sue your neighbor, it will teach you how to think, which is to say, it will teach you how to live. And this benefit alone makes such an education more practical and useful than any job-specific training ever could.

3. The world becomes understandable. A thorough knowledge of a wide range of events, philosophies, procedures, and possibilities makes the phenomena of life appear coherent and understandable. No longer will unexpected or strange things be merely dazzling or confusing. How sad it is to see an uneducated mind or a mind educated in only one discipline completely overwhelmed by a simple phenomenon. How often have we all heard someone say, “I have no idea what this book is talking about” or “I just can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing.” A wide ranging education, covering everything from biology to history to human nature, will provide many tools for understanding.

II. A liberal arts education teaches you how to learn.

1. College provides a telescope, not an open and closed book. Your real education at college will not consist merely of acquiring a giant pile of facts while you are here; it will be in the skill of learning itself. No institution however great, no faculty however adept, can teach you in four years everything you need to know either now or in the future. But by teaching you how to learn and how to organize ideas, the liberal arts institution will enable you to understand new material more easily, to learn faster and more thoroughly and permanently.

2. The more you learn, the more you can learn. Knowledge builds upon knowledge. When you learn something, your brain remembers how you learned it and sets up new pathways, and if necessary, new categories, to make future learning faster. The strategies and habits you develop also help you learn more easily.

And just as importantly, good learning habits can be transferred from one subject to another. When a basketball player lifts weights or plays handball in preparation for basketball, no one asks, “What good is weightlifting or handball for a basketball player?” because it is clear that these exercises build the muscles, reflexes, and coordination that can be transferred to basketball–building them perhaps better than endless hours of basketball practice would. The same is true of the mind. Exercise in various areas builds brainpower for whatever endeavor you plan to pursue.

3. Old knowledge clarifies new knowledge. The general knowledge supplied by a liberal arts education will help you learn new subjects by one of the most common methods of learning–analogy. As George Herbert noted, people are best taught by using something they are familiar with, something they already understand, to explain something new and unfamiliar. The more you know and are familiar with, the more you can know, faster and more easily. Many times the mind will create its own analogies, almost unconsciously, to teach itself about the unfamiliar by means of the familiar. It can be said then, that the liberal arts education creates an improvement of perception and understanding. (This process explains why the freshman year of college is often so difficult–students come with such a poverty of intellectual abilities and knowledge that learning anything is very difficult. After a year of struggle, however, an informational base has been created which makes further learning easier. The brain has come up to speed and has been given something to work with.)

4. General knowledge enhances creativity. Knowledge of many subject areas provides a cross fertilization of ideas, a fullness of mind that produces new ideas and better understanding. Those sudden realizations, those strokes of genius, those solutions seemingly out of nowhere, are really almost always the product of the mind working unconsciously on a problem and using materials stored up through long study and conscious thought. The greater the storehouse of your knowledge, and the wider its range, the more creative you will be. The interactions of diversified knowledge are so subtle and so sophisticated that their results cannot be predicted. When Benjamin Franklin flew a kite into a storm to investigate the properties of electricity, he did not foresee the wonderful inventions that future students of his discoveries would produce–the washing machines, microwave ovens, computers, radar installations, electric blankets, or television sets. Nor did many of the inventors of these devices foresee them while they studied Franklin’s work.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” –Thomas Edison

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” –Proverb

III. A liberal arts education allows you to see things whole

1. A context for all knowledge. A general education supplies a context for all knowledge and especially for one’s chosen area. Every field gives only a partial view of knowledge of things and of man, and, as John Henry Newman has noted, an exclusive or overemphasis on one field of study distorts the understanding of reality. As one armchair philosopher has said, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” All knowledge is one, a unified wholeness, and every field of study is but a piece or an angle or a way of partitioning this knowledge. Thus, to see how one’s chosen area fits into the whole, to see the context of one’s study, a general, liberal education is not merely desirable, but necessary.

2. A map of the universe. A well-rounded education, a study of the whole range of knowledge, produces an intellectual panorama, a map of the universe, which shows the relative disposition of things and ideas. Such a systematic view of reality provides an understanding of hierarchies and relationships–which things are more valuable or important than others, how one thing is dependent on another, and what is associated with or caused by something else. As abstract as this benefit may sound, it is just this orientation that will give you a stable foundation for a sane and orderly life. Many people waste their lives in endless confusion and frustration because they have no context for any event or decision or thought they might encounter.

3. Life itself is a whole, not divided into majors. Most jobs, most endeavors, really require more knowledge than that of one field. We suffer every day from the consequences of not recognizing this fact. The psychologist who would fully understand the variety of mental problems his patients may suffer will need a wide-ranging knowledge if he is to recognize that some problems are biological, some are spiritual, some are the product of environment, and so on. If he never studies biology, theology, or sociology, how will he be able to treat his patients well? Shall he simply write them off as hopelessly neurotic?

The doctor who believes that a knowledge of cell biology and pharmacology and diagnosis will be all-sufficient in his practice will help very few patients unless he also realizes that more than eighty percent of the typical doctor’s patients need emotional ministration either in addition to or instead of physical treatment. The doctor who listens, and who is educated enough to understand, will be the successful one. A doctor who has studied history or literature will be a better doctor than one who has instead read a few extra medical books.

The preacher, who would produce effective, understandable, memorable sermons that will reach his flock, will need a thorough knowledge of–yes–English composition and logic, that he might preach in an orderly, clear, rational manner. As writing and thinking skills have declined in recent years, so has the quality of preaching. In fact, you have probably noticed how disorganized, rambling, and consequently boring many young preachers are today–how many uncertain trumpet tones are sounding now. The preacher may be a brilliant theologian, but as long as he believes that the only rule of preaching is, “Talk for twenty minutes, say ‘Amen’ and sit down,” he will continue to be ineffective.

IV. A liberal arts education enhances wisdom and faith

1. General knowledge will plant the seeds of wisdom. It will help you see and feel your defects and to change yourself, to be a better citizen, spouse, human being. Wisdom is seeing life whole–meaning that every realm of knowledge must be consulted to discover a full truth. Knowledge leads to wise action, to the service of God and to an understanding of human nature: “With all your knowledge, get understanding” is the Biblical precept.

John Henry Newman wrote that the pursuit of knowledge will “draw the mind off from things which will harm it,” and added that it will renovate man’s nature by rescuing him “from that fearful subjection to sense which is his ordinary state.” This point–that knowledge will help a person to move from an infatuation with externals and toward worthy considerations–has been often repeated by philosophers for at least three thousand years. And if you consider for a moment the unhappiness caused by our society’s slavery to sense and appearance, I think you will agree that a deliverance from that is certainly desirable.

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” –John 7:24

2. General knowledge is an ally of faith. All truth is God’s truth; why should we ignore or depreciate an ally, a part of God’s wholeness of revelation? The more you learn about the creation, in astronomy, botany, physics, geology, whatever, the more you will praise the miracles he has performed. How can an uneducated man praise God for the wonders of crystallization or capillary attraction or metamorphosis or quasars or stalactites?

General knowledge provides an active understanding of the Gospel and of how it intertwines with human nature, the desires and needs of the heart, the hunger of the soul, and the questions of the mind. The more you learn about man, from history, psychology, sociology, literature, or wherever, the more you will see the penetrating insights and the exact identifications the Bible contains. Some students have remarked that, yes, they always “believed” the Bible, but they have been surprised by how modern and accurate its portrait of humanity really is.

V. A liberal arts education makes you a better teacher

But, you say, I’m not going to be a teacher. To which I say, yes you are. You may not be a school teacher, but you might be a preacher, journalist, social worker, supervisor, Sunday School teacher, lawyer, or missionary. Each of these roles is essentially that of a teacher. But more than this, you will almost certainly be someone’s friend, a husband or wife and probably a parent. As friend, spouse, and parent you will be a teacher, sharing your life’s knowledge and understanding with another daily and intimately. In fact, any time two human beings get together and open their mouths, teaching and learning are going on. Attitudes, perceptions, understandings, generalizations, reasons, information–all these are revealed if not discussed. It should be your desire, as it is your duty to God and to man, to make the quality, richness, and truth of your teaching as great as possible.

VI. A liberal arts education will contribute to your happiness

1. A cultivated mind enjoys itself and the arts. The extensive but increasingly neglected culture of western civilization provides endless material for pleasure and improvement, “sweetness and light” as it has been traditionally called (or by Horace, dulce et utile–the sweet and useful). A deep appreciation of painting or sculpture or literature, of symbolism, wit, figurative language, historical allusion, character and personality, the True and the Beautiful, this is open to the mind that can understand and enjoy it.

2. Knowledge makes you smarter and smarter is happier. Recent research has demonstrated that contrary to previous ideas, intelligence can actually increase through study and learning. Educated and intelligent people have, statistically, happier marriages, less loneliness, lower rates of depression and mental illness, and a higher reported degree of satisfaction with life.

VII. The uniqueness of a Christian liberal arts education

John Henry Newman wrote, “In order to have possession of the truth at all, we must have the whole truth; and no one science, no two sciences, no one family of sciences, nay, not even all secular science, is the whole truth. . . .” Only a Christian education can provide the missing elements of theological knowledge and revealed truth, to fill out the wholeness of truth. Moreover, the Christian liberal arts education alone provides a standard of measure and a point of verification for the knowledge and ideas you will encounter now and for the rest of your life. The acquisition of knowledge in a Christian context gives that knowledge a meaning and purpose it would not otherwise have. Often facts offered in a secular environment are sterile and disconnected because they are presented as existing only in themselves, apart from any sense of hierarchy, or any moral or spiritual purpose or implications. But our faith–our knowledge of God and his word–provides an essential organizing and clarifying framework because we can see every facet of truth in the context of the author of truth.

Christianity is not an addendum to life or knowledge, but the true organizing principle of existence, informing every endeavor with value and every person with purpose and direction. It alone answers with truth and confidence the five great questions that must be answered before life can progress meaningfully:

Who am I?
Why am I here?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going?
What is the purpose of life?

Only when these questions have been correctly answered can the next set be correctly answered also:

Why should I act?
How should I act?
What is good?
What is to be sought?

The answers each person gives to these questions will determine the quality and effectiveness, or perhaps the misery and despair, of his life. By showing the student how to find the right answers to these questions, the Christian liberal arts institution makes more meaningful and useful all the rest of the knowledge it offers.

VIII. Pertinent Quotations

1. From The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman

“[The purpose of a liberal arts education is to] open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, [and] eloquent expression. . . .”

“A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom. . . .”

“Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward.”

“I hold very strongly that the first step in intellectual training is to impress upon a boy’s mind the idea of science, method, order, principle, and system; of rule and exception, of richness and harmony.”

“There is no science but tells a different tale, when viewed as a portion of a whole, from what it is likely to suggest when taken by itself, without the safeguard, as I may call it, of others.”

“If his [a student's] reading is confined simply to one subject, however such division of labour may favour the advancement of a particular pursuit . . . certainly it has a tendency to contract his mind.”

“A truly great intellect . . . is one which takes a connected view of old and new, past and present, far and near, and which has an insight into the influence of all these one on another; without which there is no whole, and no centre.”

“General culture of mind is the best aid to professional and scientific study, and educated men can do what illiterate cannot; and the man who has learned to think and to reason and to compare and to discriminate and to analyze, who has refined his taste, and formed his judgment, and sharpened his mental vision, will not indeed at once be a lawyer, or a pleader, or an orator, or a statesman, or a physician, or a good landlord, or a man of business, or a soldier, or an engineer, or a chemist, or a geologist, or an antiquarian, but he will be placed in that state of intellect in which he can take up any one of the sciences or callings I have referred to, or any other for which he has a taste or special talent, with an ease, a grace, a versatility, and a success, to which another is a stranger. In this sense, then, and as yet I have said but a very few words on a large subject, mental culture is emphatically useful.”

“One thing is unquestionable, that the elements of general reason are not to be found fully and truly expressed in any one kind of study; and that he who would wish to know her idiom, must read it in many books.”

2. Others’ Views

“The whole object of education is, or should be, to develop mind. The mind should be a thing that works.” –Sherwood Anderson

“More is experienced in one day in the life of a learned man than in the whole lifetime of an ignorant man.” –Seneca

“Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” –John Gardner 

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2009 World Business Forum – Gary Hamel

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 13, 2009

Chris Brady and I had the honor to be invited as a guest bloggers to the World Business Forum in NY City at the Radio City Music Hall.  The list of speakers included top economist, politicians, leadership gurus, and thought leaders.  One of my favorite talks at the conference was by Gary Hamel.  Mr. Hamel is a thought leader in the field of management and organizational change.  Gary stated that the most important innovation in the last 100 years was the science of management.  That floored me!  Even bigger than the automobile, the telephone, airplanes, radio, TV, and internet was management?  But as I thought more about it, I realized that he was right.  How you organize your company to respond to customer needs is more important than any specific technology. 

 

Mr. Hamel challenged the audience to rethink their vision of management.  Every person in your organization must be part of the innovation process if your company will compete for the future.  Like Peter Senge states, “A company’s only competitive advantage is its ability to learn faster than the competition.”  Is your company a learning organization where people learn, grow and innovate?  Or is it a bureaucracy where change is resisted and market conditions are denied?  Talk is cheap and unless your company is protected by immoral monopoly type conditions, the market will vote on your company. 

 

The original management revolution was led by companies like GE, GM, Proctor and Gamble and Toyota.  Principles like research labs, decentralization, brand management, and kaizen led the innovation curve.  Today, everyone has these management principles.  The next big innovation curve is upon us, but most companies are trying to do business the old way in the new economy.  It won’t work!  Mr. Hamel states that change is accelerating and competition is more intense than ever.  The customers have near perfect data on prices and values in the marketplace.  The race is on to generate new forms of competitive advantage.  Everyone is attempting to learn how to build a community that believes in, supports and is passionate about your company.

 

I believe that the biggest competitive advantage you can supply your customer is a trusting relationship.  If a company will do all of its business with the idea of doing for the customer exactly what you would want in that situation.  It is a form of the Bible’s Golden Rule applied to business.  Do to the customer what you would have your business do to you if you were the customer.  The only way to do this in a big company is to get everyone engaged in innovation and ownership of your company.  One person or a management team cannot serve all of your customers unless you plan on staying small.  Unleash the passion for excellence in everyone associated with your firm to truly capture a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

 

In my view of Gary’s message, a company is formed to meet needs in the marketplace.  The management revolution in the past 100 years helped organize large companies that met those needs.  Today with the rate of change and competition, a new way of thinking about management must be developed.  Management must transform into a Leadership Revolution.  I believe the future will belong to the companies who stop resisting change.   Asking for government regulations, initiating legal battles, and top down control of employees/partners is a recipe for failure today.  Instead, companies should embrace change, embrace the freedom of customers, and embrace their responsibility to meet the customer’s needs.  Our companies must be as adaptable as we are as human beings. Is your company ready for the new management/leadership revolution?  We will all know the answer to that question in the next 5 years.  Here is a video of Gary Hamel talking on the management revolution. God Bless, Orrin Woodward

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J. S. Kim – The Role of Central Banks

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 1, 2009

Here is an informative article from J. S. Kim, one of the best minds on economics and government policy in the marketplace.  Mr. Kim has consistently beat the market and, like Peter Schiff, studies the underlying principles behind government policies to predict accurately.  We need less rhetoric from our government and more principle based leadership.  I encourage everyone to start educating yourself on Austrian Economics, because it is the only economic training that has consistently predicted the effects of government intervention. 

I posted an interview with Mr. Kim that explains his investment strategy.  The underlying principles reveal that the relationships with Government and Central Banks are more important than serving the customer.  This is another example of the end of free enterprise and to corporatocracy worldwide.  The totalitarians lost the cold war, but are winning the economic war.  This is not a good trend for freedom loving citizens of the world.  Mr. Kim states that the Central Banks are more powerful than any government in the world!  Throughout history, debtors are in bondage to their creditors.  We cannot afford to remain ignorant of this slide into government ownership and control.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

 

All global economic problems today are rooted in the existence of Central Banks and their commitment to an application of destructive Keynesian economic theories to our global monetary system that simply has not worked for the better part of this century. Within the realm of academics, monetary policy, politics and media, there is a persistent refusal to acknowledge the primary role Central Banks undertake in artificially creating boom-bust cycles that would not occur in such severe fashion were Central Banks simply willing to step out of the way and allow free market forces to operate.

 

If you ask anyone who graduated from Wharton, Harvard or Oxford, or any number of other Western universities, with a degree in business or economics, who Alan Greenspan is, I guarantee you that he or she knows (I myself graduated from the University of Pennsylvania). However, ask them who Friedrich A. Hayek is, and I doubt if anyone knows. Yet those of us that adhere to Austrian economic theories have used our understanding of sound monetary principles to accurately predict all steps of this crisis since 2006.

 

So how did I learn about Austrian economic theories despite never having heard of Friedrich A. Hayek during my entire 18 years of schooling? For the last 15 years, I taught myself what the institutionalized formal educational system refused to teach me. Despite the successful accuracy of our past predictions, even today, we are summarily dismissed as crazy “gloom and doomers,” while those that steadfastly adhere to Keynesian economics principles (all Western Central Banks as well as the governments and politicians they control), upon reflection, are the ones guilty of the predominant body of wildly inaccurate, unsound, and failed predictions over the past 3 years. Need a sample? How about the US housing markets being fine and properly valued? How about the US being on a path to full employment? How about strong future economic growth and a boom in US exports? Though in hindsight, these predictions sound more like the ramblings of a madman, these predictions were all made by our current Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, in 2005 and 2006.

 

In reality, if we strip away the divisive jargon of politics, gloom and doomers are not the perpetual pessimists we have been inaccurately and unfairly portrayed as by the media (for even I told my clients just five months ago that a 1,000 point rise in the DJIA was entirely plausible though the Dow’s climb has admittedly been twice my expectation since). In reality, we are merely strong proponents of the Austrian School of Economics. In the Western sphere of academia, the principles advocated by the Austrian School of Economics have been so silenced that most of us who graduated from Western institutions of education with MBAs, graduated never having heard of Friedrich A. Hayek, one of the pioneers of the Austrian School of Economics. This, despite the fact that his economic principles are so important that he is the most quoted economist in the acceptance speeches of Nobel Prize winners in economics.

 

In fact, by cleansing banking history and monetary policy in all textbooks of any honest discourse about the Austrian School of Economics, Central Banks have even shut out nearly all Western educated young men and women from possibly understanding the true roots of this crisis. The reason for this is simple: If people understood Austrian economic principles, there would be instantaneous revolt in the Western hemisphere against the loony monetary principles enforced upon us by Central Banks. Ignorance is the great pacifier. Those who are ignorant of Austrian economic principles and most hurt by the financial oligarchs that inflict Keynesian economic policies often the economy often serve as their staunchest defenders and apologists. For example, the retail investor who defends current stock market rallies in China, Europe and the US as “fundamentally sound” and “sustainable” will be the first person to be wiped out when these rallies ultimately and necessarily crash.

 

It is an absolute lie when the media and financial executives stated last year that no economist foresaw the blowback of decades of loose monetary principles that created the perilous situation the world suffered in 2007 and 2008. And when they tell us that this crisis has bottomed, this is a lie too. It is true that no Keynesian economist forecast this crisis; however, there were plenty of Austrian economists who forecast nearly every step of this crisis months and even years before this crisis unfolded. I, myself, back in September of 2006 started writing about a “Peak Investment Crisis” and I was hardly the only one who foresaw the depth of this crisis more than 3 years ago.

 

Furthermore, one could review the very public predictions of self-proclaimed adherents to Austrian economic principles such as Jim Rogers, Max Keiser, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and many others for the past 3 years as well. I am very confident that you will find that strong proponents of Austrian economics were well accurate in the majority of their predictions while all of our banking and political leaders were atrociously inaccurate in their predictions as a group. Given the huge chasm in the accuracy of predictions between proponents of Austrian and Keynesian economics, were it not for a realization that the media are shills for the financial oligarchs, it would indeed by perplexing to try to understand why they continue to marginalize the accurate predictors as “gloom and doomers” and continue to heap praise upon the atrociously poor predictors. I, for one, refuse to give power or credibility to the term “gloom and doomers” as it surely is a favored discrediting tactic of the financial oligarchs that rule the US Federal Reserve and the world’s other Central Banks.

 

The US Federal Reserve has always been eager to re-inflate collapsed asset bubbles with cheap credit and ultra-loose monetary policy (just reference the actions of the US Central Bank, post-crash, after the 2000 dotcom stock market crash, and the more recent US housing crash). In the face of a runaway asset bubble, however, Central Banks have always been reluctant to rein in the flood of malinvestment created by their loose (and damaging and foolish) monetary policies by raising interest rates. In fact, the only time that I can recall the US Federal Reserve proactively, instead of reactively, attempting to curb inflationary bubbles was in the late 70’s and early 80’s, when they raised the Fed Funds interest rate to 20.00% in order to serve a larger private agenda and prevent the US dollar from collapsing.

 

But today, eager to reinflate the stock market after the US housing market plunge, they have successfully re-inflated the US S&P 500 to a P/E valuation that, for the last four months, has been 7.5 times higher than its historical average of 17.79. And as usual, the US Central Bank stated yesterday that they have no interest in stopping this runaway malinvestment bubble either as they stated they will leave interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future.

 

Central Bank policies, as usual, only serve to postpone and exacerbate the problems that their loose monetary problems create by engineering illusory recoveries that are entirely borne out manipulating the monetary system that they control, but that have zero basis in fundamentally sound economic principles. What do I mean by this? It is quite simple. When economies struggle, Central Banks never seek to solve the root of the problem, but instead, choose to artificially cut interest rates due to Keynesian economic theories, even when free market dynamics call for no such actions. Consequently, a flood of cheap credit leads to spikes in investment borrowing solely due to cheap credit and not because of the existence of appealing investment opportunities that offer good growth prospects.

 

The flood of easy money that Central Banks create now needs a home, as investors don’t borrow money to earn less than 1% annual interest in a bank savings account. The home, outside of entrepreneurs who may reinvest this money into their own businesses, is either the real estate market or the stock market. In the case of the stock market, since the stock market was not demanding more new money but has been force-fed new money, it continues to absorb the excess liquidity artificially created by Central Banks even when stocks are already fairly valued and even overvalued. This is Central Bank force-fed malinvestment, not economic recovery, and outside of the manipulation of Wall Street high frequency computer trading programs, this is precisely how we ended up with an S&P 500 with a P/E over a 133 for the last four months.

 

In reality, if free markets were free of Central Bank meddling, and allowed to function and set interest rates, proper interest rates would be set, and the appropriate amount of borrowing and investment or disinvestment would occur in US stock markets to achieve a healthy valuation of stocks. Instead, when Central Banks’ artificially create excess money that free markets do not demand, excess money chases poor investments, distort asset prices, and create an extended period of malinvestment. So while periods of malinvestment can last for exceptionally long periods of time as long as Central Banks keep shoving cheap credit down the throat of the economy, the “economic recoveries” they produce are unsustainable and therefore nothing more than prolonged periods of ill-advised malinvestment. Under these conditions, every higher rise is, in reality, nothing but a greater distortion and move away from fair market values that plant the seeds for a future disastrous and inevitable crash that cannot be prevented.

 

A recovery under these conditions, commonly and erroneously referred to by the media as a “boom”, is not a “boom” at all, but a mass distortion of prices not set by free market forces of supply and demand, but deliberately engineered by foolish Central Bank monetary policies that successfully “bait” foolish individuals and institutions. History tells us that malinvestments always end up in busts. Not in small corrections and further sustainable growth for the next five years as Keynesian economists would want you to believe, but in spectacular busts. This is why I can be 100% sure that a spectacular bust is in the future of the US stock markets and that the only question that remains is the timing of this bust.

 

And when the bust that is inevitable occurs, you can be 100% sure that the financial shills that are our mass media will once again erroneously describe the “bust” as an “unforeseeable event”. Through the lens of an Austrian economist, this bust is necessary as it is part of the market’s self-healing process whereby it sheds itself of the distorted value caused by prolonged malinvestment and returns assets to their proper fair market valuations. Of course, in the process of the bust, panic often ensues which depresses assets below fair market valuations.

 

In fact, if one just switches the media’s descriptions for stock market rises and gold and silver market rises, then one would have a correct representation of reality. Stock market rises that are described as sustainable and healthy are more apropros descriptions for the rises in gold and silver markets, whereas the speculative bubbles they use to describe gold and silver markets is a more fitting description for the stock markets.

 

For the reasons described above, I am 100% certain that the reinflation of the US stock market, the Chinese stock markets and the European stock markets will all end up in disastrous busts. People don’t understand that the predictions made by the small handful of us who advocate Austrian economic principles are not driven by a genetic propensity towards pessimism. To the contrary, our predictions are driven by the logic of real world application.

 

For the last century, Central Banks have interfered with free market forces and imposed loose monetary policies that have led to the formation of asset bubbles that were unsustainable in nature. In every single instance, these bubbles did not undergo mild corrections and further periods of sustained growth, but all eventually experienced spectacular crashes. Thus, the continued application of the same strategies by Central Banks today are already predestined to fail in the same manner. To call Austrian economics a “doom and gloom” economic theory is a great miscarriage of justice. If its sound principles were applied by world governments, then sustainable steady growth could be achieved without the cycles of boom and bust we experience every four or five years.

 

If the media insists on playing the role of financial shills and calling advocates of Austrian economics “gloom and doomers”, the least they could do is reciprocate and label Central Banks and all proponents of their monetary policies as “psychopaths”. Though one may believe such a label to be unduly harsh, the clinical definition of a psychopath is one who regularly engages in antisocial behavior and exhibits a chronic disregard for ethical principles. When Central Banks continually engage in the same loose monetary schemes when they already know that the end result will be massive failure, this behavior embraces the clinical definition of a psychopath. What the people have failed to realize for the better part of this past century is that the private families that own and operate Central Banks have reaped great rewards from creating these massive failures, with the cost being the great destruction of a nation’s wealth.

                                              

Henry Ford once reportedly stated, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, there would be revolution before tomorrow morning.” One thing we have learned today is that Central Banks have insured that the people of our nation still do not understand how our banking and monetary system works. For if they understood, they would not be following the road to destruction that is deliberately being paved for us by the US Federal Reserve, not dissimilar to the behavior of suicidal lemmings that follow one another off the edge of a cliff.

 

One tenet that all Austrian economic adherents would support that will never receive any acknowledgment from Keynesian economists is the following: Central Banks are a burden upon all humanity, and that until all are banished from this Earth no progress in economic or political freedoms is possible. It is an absolute myth that Central Banks are necessary for sustainable economic growth and that in their absence, anarchy would reign. There is no historic proof of this. In fact, during periods of history when Central Banks did not exist, much greater economic stability and sustainable growth persisted. If humanity were successful in shuttering all Central Banks, this would be the greatest modern day gift to humanity as true “green shoots” – free markets, economic freedom, and a realistic chance to finally end poverty – would blossom. Central Banks are masters at creating illusory economic recovery, and as we know, all illusions must eventually crumble.

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