If you haven’t heard much from me on these pages of late, it’s because I spent most of the last two weeks traveling back and forth, and so had little time for blogging.
I did, however, participate in some interesting events while I was away. The first of these was “Futures Unbound,” the second installment so far of Cato’s annual Summit on Financial Regulation, held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on June 6th. I gave a talk there on the regulatory role of private clearinghouses. I also had the pleasure, the night before, of taking part in a speakers’ dinner that was also attended by two distinguished (and very fun!) members of the CMFA’s Council of Academic Advisors, George Kaufman of Loyola University Chicago and Randy Wright of the University of Wisconsin.
After the Chicago event I headed straight to London, where I’d been invited to give the Institute of Economic Affairs’ annual Hayek Lecture. Before the lecture Philip Booth, the Institute’s Editorial and Programme Director, interviewed me briefly on the necessity of central banks. The main event took place that evening at Church House, a few blocks away from the IEA’s offices in Westminster; and I was pleased to find that in arranging for that commodious venue the Institute hadn’t overestimated the audience for my topic, which included many good friends from all over Europe.
Alas, much as I would have liked to linger with that crowd, I had to be whisked away, first for some dinner, and thence to a Heathrow hotel, where I could rest a little before catching an early flight to the States, where I took part in the second in what I hope will be a long-lived series of Liberty Fund conferences co-sponsored by them and Cato’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. This one, on “Liberty and Currency: The U.S. Asset Currency Reform Movement,” took place (appropriately enough) on Jekyll Island, under the direction of CMFA Adjunct Scholar (and occasional Alt-M contributor) Jeff Hummel, with David Henderson serving as discussion leader. The other distinguished participants included Rutgers’ Hugh Rockoff and U.C.S.D.’s Lawrence Broz. Like every other Liberty Fund conference I’ve attended, this one was great fun. Unfortunately, it’s unbuttoned proceedings were so in part (as is also always the case) because they were both confidential and unrecorded, so I’m unable to share any part of them with you.*
After Jekyll Island it was across the Atlantic again, this time to Zurich, where I took part in the ETH Risk Center’s conference on “Alternative Financial and Monetary Architectures.” Others who spoke there included William R. White, another member of the CMFA’s Council of Academic Advisors, as well as “Limited Purpose Banking” champion (and write-in U.S. presidential candidate) Laurence Kotlikoff. Although this event’s proceedings were also not recorded, the ideas I presented were a somewhat modified version of ones I presented at a Cato Monetary Conference a few years ago.
After the Zurich conference, I lingered for a day in Zurich, where I was able, by sheer luck, to dine with Cato Senior Fellow Jerry O’Driscoll, who happened to be on his way to an event in Lichtenstein. That dinner was a splendid and relaxing conclusion to a sometimes taxing itinerary — and the next-best thing to being back home again, with my very best friend.
*Those interested in taking part in future Liberty Fund-CMFA events are encouraged to write to me expressing their interest. Please note, however, that these events are generally open only to academics and other holders of graduate degrees.