Saturday, April 7, 2012
Book Review: The Alpha Strategy
First with the Tea Party and now with Ron Paul's latest bid for president of the United States, libertarian economics has become a popular topic of interest. This interest has only been magnified by the cataclysmic global economic collapse of 2008, which we, particularly in the United States, are still recovering from four years later. Rhetoric is abound regarding wasteful government spending, excessive taxation, fiat currency, and whether or not the economies of the developed world should return to the gold standard. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of Keynesian Economics and quantitative easing , and frankly all this economic jargon is difficult to digest. A simple concept such as inflation is admittedly hard enough to grasp, let alone the monetary alchemy performed by Wall Street and the Federal Reserve.
Written by John A. Pugsley in 1980, The Alpha Strategy had a stint on the New York Times best sellers list in 1981. While some may be asking why a 30 year old book would be relevant today, this subject matter of this book is very applicable to the current state of the world economy. This manifesto of anarcho-capitalism is likely part of the frame work of present day libertarian philosophy, along with Murray Rothbard's The Mystery Of Banking. At 99 pages, The Alpha Strategy is a fairly quick, yet heady read. In this book Pugsley explains inflation and the concept of fiat currency in layman's terms, using many easy to understand analogies. Finally, he closes out the book with investment strategies for surviving an economic collapse, which was relevant in his day, considering the savings and loan crisis of the 1980's. Spoiler alert: they key to surviving economic Armageddon is investing in non-perishable commodities.
While this book is full of helpful hints and takes some of the confusion out of understanding complex economic instruments, it also has an unapologetic libertarian tone, which is hard to digest for the common person who values altruism and social order. When Pugsley rails against child labor laws, the minimum wage, and regulation designed to protect the environment and safety of workers, it is enough to make all the but the most callous social Darwinist cringe. The best part of this work, however, is that is available for free online, in .pdf format, and the download is 100% legal. It is worth reading if understanding what causes inflation and why monetary bubbles grow and then burst, and of course what to invest in to protect yourself from such disasters, is on your short list of concerns. Of course, a good hour of online research can provide the same results without the overt libertarian rhetoric.
Download The Alpha Strategy here: http://web.archive.org/web/20110708002739/http://www.biorationalinstitute.com/zcontent/alpha_strategy.pdf
My rating: 6.5/10
This review was written by UVM editor and publisher Jeremy Frederick. You can follow him on Facebook.