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A Life-Changing Week

Mises Daily: Thursday, May 24, 2012 by

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The right instructor can change a student's life. I know. It happened to me. Looking through the course catalog at UNLV years ago, I noticed the class "EC 742 — History of Economic Thought. Instructor: Rothbard." I didn't know who Murray Rothbard was. I hadn't ever heard of Austrian economics. I didn't know what a libertarian was. I was in my late 20s but hadn't thought much about my worldview at all.

I asked a fellow student about the course, and he urged me not to take the class with Rothbard. "He's a kook," said the student, providing the worst advice in academic history. "Take the class independent study." He then suggested one of the many Keynesian instructors at UNLV.

I decided to take EC 742 with Rothbard anyway and my life was changed forever. My eyes were opened. The lightbulb was turned on. I was struck by Rothbard's Austrian lightning.

Most of my classes at UNLV were very forgettable, but classes with Rothbard changed my mindset. He made me understand that peace and prosperity can only come from free markets and liberty. It is a message that will save the world.

Although Murray is no longer with us, his colleagues and students are here to pass his wisdom on to a whole new generation of students each year at Mises University. "There exists nothing as comprehensive, learned, or world-class as Mises U," Amherst College's Gregory Campeau wrote about MU a couple years ago. "If taken seriously, it can be a life-changing week in your intellectual life."

A gift to fund Mises University is a gift that doesn't just educate the students who come to Auburn for an intense week of morning-to-night education; many of these students will go on to educate hundreds and in some cases thousands of students themselves. Students you will never meet but who, because of your gift, will be educated about the benefits of a free economy and free society instead of learning the same old Keynesian claptrap. Your generosity is leveraged many times over in the advancement of freedom.

The importance of Mises University has never been greater.

The mainstream financial press calls this the worst economic recovery in history. Bernanke's Fed and the Obama administration have thrown everything at the economy but the kitchen sink, and even the phony government numbers are punk. GDP grew 3 percent in 2010, 1.7 percent in 2011, and 2012 doesn't look any better. Millions are unemployed and many more millions have given up. Uncle Sam provides groceries for 46 million Americans.

While government and its captive press desperately want to characterize the current economy as a recovery, it is anything but. And for young people it is a tragedy. "I've never seen the world so bad for young people. The only way I can describe it is as a Great Depression," said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Boston's Northeastern University, who has studied young-adult unemployment in depth.

"Mises University has helped me in my search for truth and purpose — it has convinced me to become a professor."
– Michael Szpindor Watson, University of Illinois, Chicago

The number of young adults in their 20s without jobs is the highest since recordkeeping began after World War II, and the bleak outlook has barely improved even as the broader US economy has seen new hiring in recent months.

Only 55 percent of Americans in the 16-to-29 age bracket were working in 2010, which is down dramatically from 67 percent in 2000. However, the situation is even worse than those numbers indicate. That's because millions of young adults are also underemployed, working part time while looking for a full-time job — the modern term for that being "mal-employed," which means holders of college degrees working low-end jobs.

The average young college graduates don't know what hit them. They've done everything they were told. They went to good universities, persevered, earned their diplomas, and collectively piled up a trillion dollars in debt doing it. Now, depending on their major, they're tending bar or waiting tables.

Northeastern's Sum is outraged that the Obama administration hasn't created a stimulus plan to employ college graduates. "We've betrayed our young people badly," he said.

However, government has betrayed young people with its continuous meddling in the economy. The future is cloudy because of the endless stimulus plans, high taxation, and overregulation by government busybodies. The Federal Reserve continuously prints money, bailing out bankrupt businesses, allowing these capital wasters to destroy the resources that could spur job growth.

The Fed-induced booms and busts have decimated the retirement savings of older Americans, at the same time that price inflation keeps those hoping to retire from saving enough. Instead, they must remain on the job rather than enjoy retirement, denying positions to young people.

The worst of it is, Ben Bernanke has every intention of making matters worse. He believes it when people call him the foremost authority on the Great Depreciation. The Fed chair believes he must flood the world with money to eradicate deflation. He holds the dangerous notion in his head that he knows just the right amount of money to inject and just the proper interest rate to fix in order to centrally plan the economy.

He told a 60 Minutes TV audience a couple years ago that he was 100 percent certain of being able to control inflation. But the nation's high unemployment bothers him, and he thinks he can fix it with more money. He's wrong, but he doesn't understand that he's wrong.

What government is doing to the futures of young people makes Mises University more important now than ever before. They deserve to know the truth. Mises U provides students an education they can't obtain anywhere else. There is absolutely nothing like it: six days of systematic training in the Austrian School of economics from a world-class faculty — all made possible by donors like you.

"Mises University has been an amazing experience and has stimulated my continued interest in studying economics and spreading the message of liberty. I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity."
– Sam Selikoff, Boston College

Students leave the Mises Institute with an understanding of the evils of government force and meddling. They are not only informed and educated but inspired to change the world by teaching and promoting liberty and free markets. "My experiences at Mises U will stick with me for the rest of my life and allow me to further educate others about liberty and freedom," writes 2011 MU attendee Nga Nguyen from the University of Louisville.

Universities aren't doing the job, so we must. With your help, we can produce more scholars like Bob Murphy, Tom Woods, Mark Thornton, Peter Klein, and Timothy Terrell, all of whom started as MU graduates and are now instructors at Mises U and making a difference on college campuses and the world of ideas.

In 26 years, Mises University has produced hundreds of talented professors teaching in universities all over the world. Imagine how important this is. Students attending state and private universities would never be exposed to the ideas of the free market if not for instructors trained at Mises University.

Students who go on to other professions will be that much more prepared to succeed in an economy made more challenging by big government every day, understanding that the standard of living we do enjoy comes from the entrepreneurial genius of businesspeople who persevere through the government interference.

Mises U includes lectures, discussion groups, and panels that run from morning until night. It all ends with oral examinations, evaluations, and a graduation ceremony. It is not only educational but highly inspiring. With your help we recruit smart young people into the world of ideas to do battle on behalf of freedom and truth.

Please help us counter the government's economic-lies machine and make the Mises University even better. We have more smart young people than ever, students whose minds and hearts are starved for the intellectual nourishment that only Mises University can provide. We accept only the best: kids who excel in intellect and character, and who want to be taught Misesian economics in the classical manner and dedicate their lives to teaching, inside and outside the classroom.

Students question the authorities and the government's quashing of personal and economic freedoms. They know something is wrong when day-to-day economic news bears no relation to the state of the real economy. They don't believe the mainstream babble, because their job prospects are abysmal and they want to know what caused this mess. At Mises University they gain an academic understanding of the diabolical effects of this government tyranny. The education they receive has relevance each and every day.

Mises, Rothbard, and the rest of the great Austrian thinkers taught us that meddling by Washington and the Federal Reserve will not create economic riches. The malinvestments of the boom must be liquidated, and that liquidation process will continue despite Obama and Bernanke claiming they can reinflate the bubble prosperity. They can't.

In these tough economic times, we know that giving to the causes you believe in is hard. But nothing is more important than ensuring that civilization is given a chance to survive and thrive. Your tax-deductible gift of $100, $50, or any amount, would be great. Your contribution of $500 or even $1,000 would be magnificent. Since its founding in 1982, the Mises Institute has trained thousands of young scholars. But we must do more, especially now that campuses and political life and the media continue to be saturated with economic lies.

Young people want to be free from every form of tyranny. They are eager to change the world and have the energy to make it happen. We must give them the intellectual firepower to do just that.

I'm thankful every day that I took EC 742 with Rothbard. Please help other students be struck by Rothbard's Austrian lightning.