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The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century

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The Skyscraper Curse is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts, and it explains why only Austrian economists really understand them. It makes business cycle theory accessible to a whole new 21st-century audience. And they need it, especially those under 40. Many of the brilliant quants working on Wall Street and at the Fed barely remember the Crash of 2008 The Skyscraper Curse is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts, and it explains why only Austrian economists really understand them. It makes business cycle theory accessible to a whole new 21st-century audience. And they need it, especially those under 40. Many of the brilliant quants working on Wall Street and at the Fed barely remember the Crash of 2008, much less understand it. But Mark Thornton does, and his book is a warning about overheated equity markets, over-inflated housing prices, and clueless central bankers. Given the shaky stock markets lately, 2018 may be the year the Fed’s latest bubble bursts. And when it does, it will be even more painful than 10 years ago. In fact, US household and business debt is now one trillion dollars higher than 2008. Mark is well known as an expert on bubbles and Fed malfeasance. His work appears in outlets like Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Economist, Barron’s, and Investor’s Business Daily. His now-infamous Skyscraper Index theory draws the connection between loose monetary policy, artificially low interest rates, and vanity construction projects. Put the three together and it doesn’t turn out well. And let’s not forget that Dr. Thornton was among only a handful of economists to warn about the dangerous housing bubble in 2004, and again in 2006. Cabbies and waiters bought up condos with no money down in places like Las Vegas. Prices rose 25 percent or more every year in some coastal markets. Even people with terrible credit financed houses at five or seven times their annual income. All of it was made possible by the Fed and its mania for low interest rates. So when the experts said “Nobody could have seen this coming,” the Mises Institute had Mark’s articles and papers ready to go. The housing crash, and the meltdown in equity markets less than a year later, were thoroughly explained by Austrian business cycle theory. And Mark was the capable face of the Mises Institute during it all. Without a lay-friendly book like The Skyscraper Curse, millions more Americans will be duped by the next crash. Dr. Thornton’s book tells the story that needs to be told. It will be among the only alternative explanations available when the next crisis comes.


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The Skyscraper Curse is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts, and it explains why only Austrian economists really understand them. It makes business cycle theory accessible to a whole new 21st-century audience. And they need it, especially those under 40. Many of the brilliant quants working on Wall Street and at the Fed barely remember the Crash of 2008 The Skyscraper Curse is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts, and it explains why only Austrian economists really understand them. It makes business cycle theory accessible to a whole new 21st-century audience. And they need it, especially those under 40. Many of the brilliant quants working on Wall Street and at the Fed barely remember the Crash of 2008, much less understand it. But Mark Thornton does, and his book is a warning about overheated equity markets, over-inflated housing prices, and clueless central bankers. Given the shaky stock markets lately, 2018 may be the year the Fed’s latest bubble bursts. And when it does, it will be even more painful than 10 years ago. In fact, US household and business debt is now one trillion dollars higher than 2008. Mark is well known as an expert on bubbles and Fed malfeasance. His work appears in outlets like Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Economist, Barron’s, and Investor’s Business Daily. His now-infamous Skyscraper Index theory draws the connection between loose monetary policy, artificially low interest rates, and vanity construction projects. Put the three together and it doesn’t turn out well. And let’s not forget that Dr. Thornton was among only a handful of economists to warn about the dangerous housing bubble in 2004, and again in 2006. Cabbies and waiters bought up condos with no money down in places like Las Vegas. Prices rose 25 percent or more every year in some coastal markets. Even people with terrible credit financed houses at five or seven times their annual income. All of it was made possible by the Fed and its mania for low interest rates. So when the experts said “Nobody could have seen this coming,” the Mises Institute had Mark’s articles and papers ready to go. The housing crash, and the meltdown in equity markets less than a year later, were thoroughly explained by Austrian business cycle theory. And Mark was the capable face of the Mises Institute during it all. Without a lay-friendly book like The Skyscraper Curse, millions more Americans will be duped by the next crash. Dr. Thornton’s book tells the story that needs to be told. It will be among the only alternative explanations available when the next crisis comes.

30 review for The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hawk

    Excellent. Divided into a section pertaining to the main title and a second section for the book’s subtitle. In the first section you’ll learn about the Skyscraper Index, Cantillon effects, and history about skyscrapers, architecture, etc. The latter section is essentially a collection of essays showing how Austrian economists have predicted the majority of economic crises since the early 20th century. These essays examine the Great Depression, New Economics, the 1970s Depression, the boom-bust Excellent. Divided into a section pertaining to the main title and a second section for the book’s subtitle. In the first section you’ll learn about the Skyscraper Index, Cantillon effects, and history about skyscrapers, architecture, etc. The latter section is essentially a collection of essays showing how Austrian economists have predicted the majority of economic crises since the early 20th century. These essays examine the Great Depression, New Economics, the 1970s Depression, the boom-bust in Japan, the late 2000s housing crisis, string theories, and legitimate criticisms of the Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    This is an overblown economic article. It was inflated in any way known to Thornton to fit a small book. Because of that it is also boring. It drones on and on about who did what and not much about the sensationalist meme of "the curse". Thornton also does an attempt of generalization, beyond the exaggeration of the title. Chapter 2 states something about the Ancient Egypt. Well, yes, the Ancient Egypt was about credit and market indexes. Also the Austrian school of economy is put there only to f This is an overblown economic article. It was inflated in any way known to Thornton to fit a small book. Because of that it is also boring. It drones on and on about who did what and not much about the sensationalist meme of "the curse". Thornton also does an attempt of generalization, beyond the exaggeration of the title. Chapter 2 states something about the Ancient Egypt. Well, yes, the Ancient Egypt was about credit and market indexes. Also the Austrian school of economy is put there only to feed the tribalism of some readers. And, as it is a rather new hypothesis, hardly "predicts" anything. Even worse, even if Thornton could speculate about predicting from say the 1990s forward, and he does, the "Last Century" goes a lot more way than 1990s. This is a particular case of a simple misunderstanding of the short series. Just because it is true for the 10 cases in the last decade, it does not mean it is a good indicator for a longer series, say 1000 or 10000. This does not invalidate the thesis, it simply says we know nothing about this correlation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Moss

    This is a really good work on the different theories in circulation explaining the causes of boom/bust cycles.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sylvester

    An insightful introduction to Austrian School and Austrian Economic Cycle Theory. By using a sensational title and topic, Thornton discussed the history of political economy and the causes of every economic crisis, by linking the so called "skyscraper curse" with recession, he explained the creation of economic bubbles due to interventionist monetary policies and central banking. Thornton kind went round and round in circle referencing his own works but it was still a good introductory lesson. An insightful introduction to Austrian School and Austrian Economic Cycle Theory. By using a sensational title and topic, Thornton discussed the history of political economy and the causes of every economic crisis, by linking the so called "skyscraper curse" with recession, he explained the creation of economic bubbles due to interventionist monetary policies and central banking. Thornton kind went round and round in circle referencing his own works but it was still a good introductory lesson.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Cannon

    A good deconstruction of the 2008 economic crisis while giving historical context of previous building boom busts from a monetary and economic perspective.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Tanous

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dani Jessop

  9. 4 out of 5

    Don Wood

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andy Wagaman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Drew

  12. 5 out of 5

    Preston Evans

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cy Lasscock

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthieu

  15. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lee

  17. 5 out of 5

    Loren A.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joana Cartas

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Berg

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Weiss

  22. 5 out of 5

    Attila Rebak

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Breen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Dennis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Troy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Harris

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ricco

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

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