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article imageLearning basic economics from Eugene Rubinstein's 'Hapinburg' Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 29, 2013 in Business
Toronto - For decades, the topic of economics has been taught in textbooks, espoused in lectures and discussed in debates. It isn't very often that economic theory is depicted in a form of fiction. Eugene Rubinstein attempts to break the mold.
Rubinstein is the author of the newest ebook “Hapinburg: The story of how civilization chooses the wrong direction. Why the economy will inevitably fail.” This is a tale of a how a small town, Hapinburg, embraced the idea of capitalism, free markets and freedom but then suffered collapse as kings kept expanding the size and scope of government with each passing generation.
As art imitates life with “Hapinburg,” governments, central banks and politicians all over the world are engaging in excessive government expansion, tremendous amounts of inflation and the deletion of personal freedoms and liberties for the general public.
Rubinstein discussed the entire process, such as regarding how he first began to write “Hapinburg,” his personal viewpoints on economics, where he sees his latest ebook going and if it’s a great source for novice students of economics.
How did you first come up with the idea of “Hapinburg?”
I started to write an article in a conventional, serious style. I wanted to give simple understanding of causes and consequences. Then I realized that a “serious” style just wouldn’t work. It had to be a story with the fable.
What encouraged you to begin writing your story of “Hapinburg?”
For years I tried to understand what is happening around us. You see, there is always an official explanation for everything, especially when the education becomes centrally-controlled and media depends on the government funding. People take this knowledge and use it.
Unfortunately, and history presents an ocean of examples, this commonly accepted knowledge, in most cases, was faulty or dishonest theories. They brought nations to disasters. I think some of the principles that make the laws of our society now, especially related to economics, are faulty. I wanted to create a small story that would explain what, in my view, are the fundamental causes of our problems.
How long did ‘Hapinburg’ take you write? What was the process like?
For months I was writing down the ideas and the things I wanted to talk about. Then, once I decided how the whole thing should look, it took me three or four days to structure the pieces together – I could not stop. Of course, it took much longer after that to finalize the text.
In your story, you talk about the collapse of the town because of its bloated government, astronomical spending and a paucity of freedoms. Do you see the same thing happening in places like Canada and the United States?
Yes, I was writing about the United States and Canada. I think other governments are currently running exactly the same phony economy. As Peter Schiff said, “Governments need to keep injecting heroin (which is printed or borrowed money) into sick economies. Otherwise it will start melting tomorrow.”
For those who have read the story, the kingdom starts to rebuild by reinstituting free markets, capitalism and freedom. Once states go bankrupt, do you see the governments reinstating these concepts? Or will they just continue with the status quo?
This is the most difficult question. I cannot imagine the politicians now to come out and say that tomorrow they will stop all (or at least most) of government spending, that they are going to leave people the money that people earn to spend the way they choose are best for them. [There’s] too much involved now.
There is not going to be a political power – anywhere in the world – that would be able to do it. This system corrupted all: people in politics and people in business. I hate to scare or depress anybody, but I am very much afraid that the current system will drag on until it starts to destruct. The terrible economic instability, inflation, almost complete paralysis of productivity: these are the symptoms that we see already. I just hope that if it starts happening then change will be smoother than what I imagine.
Where did you first start to learn about economics? Who are some of your favorite economists?
I never really learned economics properly, but with anything I read; about history, society or business, I always struggled to separate the reality from fabricated knowledge. Milton Friedman, definitely [an answer to favorite economist].
What are your goals with your book? Do you see it as essentially a starter’s guide to understand basic economics? Should politicians read the story?
I hope I understood a few things correctly, and seeing how distorted the modern day’s package of knowledge is, I just wanted to make the reader will try to re-think certain things.
This article was first seen in Capital Liberty News.
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