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This course will cover both the theory and history behind the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States. Instructor Robert Murphy will first detail the theory of free-market banking, and contrast it with the distorted banking sector resulting from special government privileges. Murphy will relay the sordid tale of how the Federal Reserve Act was designed on Jekyll Island in a secret meeting of government officials and international bankers. He will also cover the mechanics of modern Fed operations and the commercial banking sector. The course will also apply Austrian business cycle theory to the stock market crash of 1929 and the recent housing bubble.
See below for a screen-shot of the syllabus.
The Scope of the Course
The goal of the class is to provide a solid introduction to both the theory of free-market versus cartelized central banking and the day-to-day mechanics of the Federal Reserve in action.
After explaining how money and banking would develop in a free-market economy, we will explain central banking from a theoretical perspective. Specifically, we will see that central banking — that is, a government-sponsored cartel of banks with one privileged bank sitting atop the pyramid — serves to circumvent the market’s natural checks on credit expansion. In addition to increasing the money supply and prices, central banking also fosters the boom-bust cycle.
After reviewing the theory of free versus central banking, we will explore the historical origins of the Federal Reserve. We will study the institutional structure of the Fed and learn how to read its balance sheet in real time. We’ll walk through conventional and unconventional Fed operations, studying not just the theory but also the implementation. (For example, exactly how does the Fed go about buying an extra $600 billion in Treasury securities? Are the cuddly bears being paranoid or not?)
Finally, we’ll wrap up the course by connecting the operations of the Fed — and its predecessors — with financial crises from US history. These will include the Fed-induced crises of the Great Depression and the housing bubble, but also earlier panics attributable (at least partially) to the swings in credit engineered by earlier incarnations of the US central bank.
The weekly live video-broadcast lectures will be Mondays at 6:30 pm Eastern Time. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session. Dr. Murphy will also take questions during optional “office hours” on Saturdays (exact time TBA). Live attendance is not required; recordings of all live sessions will be made available to students.
Final Grade and Transcript
Taking the course for a grade is optional. If you choose to receive a grade, it will be based on quizzes and other assignments. Students will have access to a digital transcript. We will add this and any future grades for future Mises Academy courses taken to this transcript.
At this time the Mises Academy does not offer transferable credits, certifications, or degrees.
If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee.
If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund.
No refunds will be granted following the second week.
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