“Monty Pelerin” is a pseudonym derived from The Mont Pelerin Society.
The image on the left is that of Friedrich Hayek, Nobel laureate in Economics in 1974. He was the founder of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947. The image on the right is Ludwig von Mises who was Hayek’s mentor and considered the dean of the modern Austrian School of Economics. For background on the Society, see below.
“Monty” retired to Asheville, NC from primarily a corporate but also an academic background. The corporate experience was in the corporate financial field in several CFO positions. My academic background includes AB, MBA and PhD degrees from Duke University, the University of Chicago and Syracuse University in finance and economics. College and graduate level teaching lasted about 10 years.
My love of country and concern for its future prompted this website. I have children and grandchildren. These are the people who will have to live with the mess we have allowed. In some small way, it is hoped that this effort can have a positive effect on their and others’ futures.
My interests include reading, investing, sports and now blogging. I am an avid golfer and a devoted fan of Duke basketball.
Aims of Site
The site deals primarily with Finance, Economics and Politics. It is not an investment advice site, but thoughts beneficial to investors might occasionally appear. A new feature is a momentum-volatility ETF selection algorithm which selects ETFs expected outperform the market. These selections are provided as informational tools only. They are not recommendations for trading purposes. They do reflect the shifting sands of relative strengths of regions, industry and sectors. To that extent, the reader might find them of some use in his financial evaluations.
Any and all comments regarding the site are considered, especially in areas as to how the site might be improved, be more useful to readers, choice of topics of interest, etc. Feel free to email on these or other issues at [email protected]
Many concerns shape the content of this site, but the following three underlie much of my motivation:
- The nonsense that passes for wisdom in both the political and economic arenas is troubling. Thus, many posts will show a certain amount of (deserved) disrespect for what masquerades as conventional wisdom. When one’s country is disintegrating, it is difficult and inappropriate to remain dispassionate.
- Inter-generational equity is a concern. Those called Grandfather or Grandmother have personal concerns in addition to philosophical ones.
- There are no economic problems, only political ones. Economic problems are self-correcting, political ones are not.
I am willing to have a polite exchange on all topics related to the blog. Correspondents are expected to reciprocates. I undoubtedly will make mistakes and expect to be told about them. For any, I apologize in advance and will again do so when appropriate.
I have no team in the sense that many of you might. That is, I neither root for or against Democrats or Republicans. Sadly, I see little difference between these two groups and for that reason consider myself an equal-opportunity political hater. Politicians today are parasites feeding off the productive public. There is no way to reform them. It is the structure of government that must be changed. The only way to do that is to return to the original principles set forth in the Constitution.
Government, in limited form, is both necessary and good. However, government that grows beyond these limits becomes an oppressive State, infringing on liberty and property. Our Founders recognized this danger and designed a Constitution that was intended to constrain government. Unfortunately, the constraints of the Constitution have been nearly nullified over the years, leaving government and a majority vote (mob rule) to decide what is proper. The lack of constraints has produced the massive growth in government and entitlements.
Most of us can probably agree on the generality of ”limited government.” Likely, we have different opinions regarding what that means in terms of government size or functions. My view tends toward the Lockean position, whereby government protects citizens and their property in the narrowest sense.
Our government and most others around the world are States preying on their citizens. While governments can be good, States are always evil. All succumb to Lord Acton’s law: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Mont Pelerin Society
As expressed on the official Mont Pelerin Society site (with emphasis added by me):
After World War II, in 1947, when many of the values of Western civilization were imperiled, 36 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich von Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, near Montreux, Switzerland, to discuss the state and the possible fate of liberalism (in its classical sense) in thinking and practice.
The group described itself as the Mont Pelerin Society, after the place of the first meeting. It emphasized that it did not intend to create an orthodoxy, to form or align itself with any political party or parties, or to conduct propaganda. Its sole objective was to facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems.
It was in this context that I chose my pseudonym. The writer has no connection with the Society (other than coincidence of philosophy). Nothing said by me should be considered to be representative of the views of the Mont Pelerin Society or any of its members.
My political and economic philosophy rests on maximum freedom. This orientation is based on study and thought. It is a conclusion reached based on utilitarian grounds. It also works best on ethical and moral grounds. This philosophy is beneficial to all, not specific segments of society. Free men and free markets enable individuals to reach whatever limits they were endowed with. Issues are assisting those with limitations are not inconsistent with this philosophy.
This utilitarian approach is apolitical. My father was highly educated and was a Democrat. He was raised that way. He never tried to influence my political beliefs. Indeed, I was likely naive, if not outright ignorant, of politics, until after undergraduate school.
I respect neither party. Other than on a few issues, they are one and the same. And even on the few differing issues, matters of degree rather than substance provide the differences. Think of these differences more in terms of political marketing strategy to understand them better. These nuances do not influence outcomes:
- Both political parties grow government.
- Both engage in unnecessary military adventures.
- Both exploit citizens to feather their own nests.
- Both pander to voters rather than adhere to principles.
- Both routinely ignore the Constitution.
- Both raise taxes.
- Both expand programs.
I was taught Keynesianism and Monetarism in formal classwork. I know the “Chicago” school well, having taken courses from Milton Friedman, George Stigler and Ronald Coase, all Nobel laureates. Despite these approaches, I consider my approach “Austrian,” in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Friederich Hayek. Chicago and Austrian free market conclusions often match, although their methodologies are vastly different.
The “Chicago” school is “Monetarist,” not dissimilar in methodology from Keynesian economics. Both are aggregate approaches to macroeconomics. Keynesian economics never made any sense to me, even in my first economics courses but microeconomics always possessed a logical consistency. Aggregate “economists” still cannot reconcile their approach with the microeconomics of individual decision-makers.
Human beings, not aggregates, make decisions. Economics is about human beings. It is not some physics model where outputs can be manipulated by altering inputs. Economics is the study of human behavior. Pretending that the summation of millions of humans can be analogized to that of a giant machine with only a few variables has created much confusion and harm to this country.
Both the Chicago and Keynesian schools at the macroeconomic level are based on aggregates, although Chicago has a great tradition in microeconomics. The Austrian school recognizes that economics is a social science and the individual is the key to understanding economic action. Individuals are the atoms of economics. They are the building blocks upon which understanding begins. Pretending these blocks can be combined in a fashion that produces some simplistic model of the overall economy is scientism at its worst and most dangerous. It is the false science of central planners and dictators.
Aggregation is appropriate and relevant for summary and historical purposes. Aggregates, however, do not act. Aggregated study (traditional macroeconomics) makes sense for statistical or historical purposes, not for any understanding of economics.