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Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century

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This is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts. His now-infamous Skyscraper Index Theory draws the connection between loose monetary policy, artificially low interest rates, and vanity construction projects.
Price: $17.95


The Skyscraper Curse is Dr. Mark Thornton's definitive work on booms and busts, and it explains why only Austrian economists really understand them. It makes business cycle theory accessible to a whole new 21st-century audience.

And they need it, especially those under 40. Many of the brilliant quants working on Wall Street and at the Fed barely remember the crash of 2008, much less understand it.

But Mark Thornton does, and his book is a warning about overheated equity markets, over-inflated housing prices, and clueless central bankers. Given the shaky stock markets lately, this may be the year the Fed’s latest bubble bursts. And when it does, it will be even more painful than in 2018. In fact, US household and business debt is now one trillion dollars higher than 2008.

Mark is well known as an expert on bubbles and Fed malfeasance. His work appears in outlets like Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Economist, Barron’s, and Investor’s Business Daily. His now-infamous Skyscraper Index Theory draws the connection between loose monetary policy, artificially low interest rates, and vanity construction projects. Put the three together and it doesn’t turn out well.

And let’s not forget that Dr. Thornton was among only a handful of economists to warn about the dangerous housing bubble in 2004, and again in 2006. Cabbies and waiters bought up condos with no money down in places like Las Vegas. Prices rose 25 percent or more every year in some coastal markets. Even people with terrible credit financed houses at five or seven times their annual income. All of it was made possible by the Fed and its mania for low interest rates.

So when the experts said “Nobody could have seen this coming,” the Mises Institute had Mark’s articles and papers ready to go. The housing crash, and the meltdown in equity markets less than a year later, were thoroughly explained by Austrian business cycle theory. And Mark was the capable face of the Mises Institute during it all.

Without a lay-friendly book like The Skyscraper Curse, millions more Americans will be duped by the next crash.

Dr. Thornton’s book tells the story that needs to be told. It will be among the only alternative explanations available when the next crisis comes.


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by J. Richard Duke
on 8/10/2018
from Birmingham
Read to avoid being duped by the reasons for the coming crash
The author's book discusses the causes, beginning with the foundational cause that is artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve, the central bank.

This is a "must read" book, especially by any person who does not understand or has not heard of the Austrian business cycle theory ("ABCT"). Unless one understands the ABCT, he or she cannot understand the primary and secondary causes of a boom and why a bust must follow. Without understanding the ABCT, a person is subject to false and misleading (branches and leaves) reasons given by the mainstream. And the mainstream exists to perpetuate the causes of the mainstream, as many people are learning.

The mainstream in economics consists of Keynesians who follow the principles of John Maynard Keynes. The cause of busts, according to Keynes, who was not a trained economist, was "animal spirits" of people—showing he had no clue either of the causes of booms or the following necessary busts. So when a crash (bust) comes (actually several crashes), like the real estate crash in 2008, the mainstream will spew out false and misleading reasons.
Some of the specific parties of the mainstream include: the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury and federal government, college and university economics professors, asset managers, bankers, and especially the news media, including the financial news media.

Read this book so that you will not be one of the millions who is duped when the next crash hits; and it certainly is coming. The powerful (controlling) mainstream will provide propaganda as the reasons for a crash(es) not to help the public but to retain their control.  

Review and Rate this Item


Foreword by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.


Section 1: The Skyscraper Curse

1. What Is the Skyscraper Curse?

2. The History of the Skyscraper Curse Reexamined

3. Do You Have a Theory?

4. How To Get Milk

5. Cantillon Effects

6. Cantillon Effects in Skyscrapers

7. The Curse Misses New York. Is Auburn, Alabama, Next?

8. When Will the Next Skyscraper Curse Come?

9. It Is Not the Skyscrapers Fault

10. Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

11. Razorbacks and Wolverines

12. The Curse of the Federal Reserve

Section 2: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century

13. Who Predicted the Great Depression?

14. The New Economists and the Depression of the 1970s

15. The Return of the Austrians

16. Bubble-Bust in Japan

17. Who Predicted the Bubble? Who Predicted the Crash?

Bubble Predictions


Appendix: Some Other Predictions

18. Bull Market?

19. Housing: Too Good To Be True

More Greenspan

The Housing Bubble

Price Inflation Follows Monetary Inflation

The Dirty Secret

Do Housing Bubbles Burst?

20. The Economics of Housing Bubbles

What Causes Housing Bubbles?

What Goes Up…

… Must Come Down

Summary and Conclusions

Postscript—August 8, 2009

21. Is the Housing Bubble Popping?


22. Making Depressions Great Again

23. String Theories

24. What Is Wrong with ABCT?

Criticisms of the Hydraulic Version of ABCT

The Rational-Expectations Critique—Why Can’t Entrepreneurs Learn?

What about Nineteenth-Century Panics?

What about Robert Murphy’s Prediction of Double-Digit Inflation?

25. Summary and Conclusion: End the Fed



ISBN 9781610166843
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 07/16/2018
Binding PB
Page Length 275
Dimensions 6x9

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