Saturday, March 20, 2010

My response to an Article in The Atlantic

Hello all,
Please read my response to an article in The Atlanic, "How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America."

Please comment and let me know how I did.

Dear Don,
I thoroughly enjoyed your article in The Atlantic, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America,” My wife and I discussed it during a car ride home from a writing conference. We often discuss the economy and the direction of the country as a whole. Your article pretty much confirmed what we thought, that the country will not just bounce back from this recession/depression.

I must disagree with your suggestions for the resolving the crisis. I think that your suggestion to be biased more towards doing too much rather than too little in the face of the deficit is rather short sighted. Throughout history, civilizations have collapsed because of financial crises. From the biblical Joseph, “the money went bad,” to the Weimar Republic, we have clear examples of what happens when governments try to inflate their way out of trouble.

Perhaps our opinions differ because of our understandings of economics. I am a student of the Austrian school. In general, the school teaches that recessions and even depressions are necessary to clear the mistakes made during the credit induced boom. This is very similar to the Redwood trees in California, whose seeds only germinate after a fire. In our ignorance we try to stop the fires to save the forest, while we are killing the forest in the long run. The same is true with an economic downturn- by trying to stop it, we ensure that it will linger.

Sadly there is no easy way or quick fix to get us out of this morass. In my opinion, our only salvation will be to tighten our belts, work harder, and try to pay back the debts that we have incurred- collectively and individually. My fear is that the common misconception from the depression- that WWII ended the downturn-will encourage our leaders to instigate another “great” war to tackle the economic problems. I hope my fears are unfounded.

Mark Christian

P.S. If you would like to learn about the Austrian School of Economics please visit


  1. I'd love to see the magazine publish it, but won't hold my breath.

    One quibble: surely *you* haven't incurred any "collective debt", have you?

  2. Well I depends from whose viewpoint you're looking from. I have some credit card debt and that's it. Our overlords want me to pay my fair share.... Whatever that means.

  3. There's an extra "the" in the first sentence of the second paragraph.

    Why did you pick this particular article to respond to? I get the feeling The Atlantic doesn't really care what you or I think. Plus the probability of getting a letter published in a large publication is slim.

    I wouldn't state I'm an adherent to the Austrian School. I'd have just gotten to the point. If the reader has preconceived notions of the school of thought you belong to, his biases are brought into the conversation before he hears your point.

    Somewhat for the same reason I wouldn't have suggested visiting in the PS. I think one short article that refutes the author's points and provides evidence for your points would be a better idea. I imagine the typical person's response to the PS would be, "I couldn't care less about the Austrian School. I have better things to do than visit that website." If you had said, "John Doe has addressed many of your points and shows how doing less instead of more is more productive in ending a recession in his article at . . . " I believe the author would be more likely to visit the site and look at the one article you mention.

  4. The article chose me... The wife was reading it and started sharing. I wanted to read it for myself and was pretty interested. I thought it was a good article until the conclusion that made me spit out my drink. Sometimes I get into a "I've got to do something" mode. Thanks for the suggestions re: the an article. You're right about them not caring about the Austrian school, especially if it goes against everything they believe.