By Sean Corrigan
Perhaps the first great lesson of economics, as emphasized by Henry Hazlitt, is that there is no free lunch. The second, courtesy of Frederic Bastiat, is that if it sometimes appears that there is one, it means that we simply have not looked deeply enough into the consequences of our attempt to enjoy it. The third, the joint insight of several generations of Austrians, is that the attempt to buy one for ourselves by resort to monetary manipulation is eventually doomed to fail. A cynic might say that the fourth and final lesson is that no-one ever wishes to abide by the strictures inherent in the first three rules.
Consequent to this, we habitual deniers are fated to an eternal round of wishfulness, hope, euphoria, doubt, disquiet, and despair as we set about to cook just such a meal without ever being sure that we have sufficient ingredients with which to make it, enough time in which to prepare it, or even whether our appetite for it will remain equal to its complete enjoyment if we do.
In a similar vein, we see the credit theory of the business cycle vindicated over and over again, though each time it unfolds in a guise just different enough in its superficial aspects to trick us into believing we have truly managed to break the shackles of inevitability—this time!