Douglas E. French is senior editor of the Laissez Faire Club. He received his master's degree under the direction of Murray N. Rothbard at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after many years in the business of banking. He is the author of three books, Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, the first major empirical study of the relationship between early bubbles and the money supply; Walk Away, a monograph assessing the philosophy and morality of strategic default; and The Failure of Common Knowledge, which takes on many common economic fallacies. He is founder and editor of LibertyWatch magazine.
The Failure of Common Knowledge (LFB)by Douglas E. French
But what if all of these things
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There are certain things that everyone knows. Everyone knows that you should get as much formal education as possible, buy a house as a solid investment, look to the stock market as an economic barometer, and trust the Fed as the nation's money manager. Another thing that everyone knows: prisons keep us safe from predators.
But what if all of these things are wrong, not just a bit wrong but wholly incorrect? What if the reverse is true? What if, for example, hanging around in school for as long as possible is the worst life step you can possibly take? What if the real criminals are still in the streets but most people behind bars are not really threats to anyone?
In The Failure of Common Knowledge, Doug French applies economics and contemporary facts to upend many common assumptions people make about critical life decisions. He shows that the common views do not take account of the real costs and risks — or the actual facts on the ground of our crazy, mixed-up world.
For many decades, for example, young couples have believed that buying a house is a great way to invest money and start accumulating capital. Problem: the housing crisis is not yet resolved. There is a good chance that the house will go down in value. Not only that: in a free-market setting, a house should naturally depreciate over time. What we saw for decades was caused by government intervention. Plus, a house is a gigantic restriction on the range of choice people have about where to live. It can also be a money pit for endless accumulation and spending. It can actually ruin your life.
As a banker in the boom times, Doug French saw first hand how people's wrong assumptions about how life should work left massive carnage and ruined lives. Today millions struggle with underwater homes, underwater student loans, and underwater investment portfolios. They believed the propaganda being dished out by government and special interests rather than thinking for themselves.
This book is a training guide for how to navigate a very confusing economic environment. Its lesson is this: do not trust the governing elites to run your life. Government mismanages everything. Why let it manage your life? You have to think for yourself to avoid the traps that special interests have set up at every turn. You have to subject "what everyone knows" to critical standards of rationality and economic logic. French's book is a primer for starting this process now. It is helpful for anyone of any age who seeks to avoid disastrous life decisions.
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