The central message of the Austrian school of economics, writes Mark Skousen in this wide-ranging audiobook, is that economics is about human beings. That outlook has direct implications for financial markets and personal investing. And this is why the Austrian school has had a huge impact Wall Street.
A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street, then, is a tutorial on both economics and investment that sheds new light on both fields. Consider the opening metaphor of the dance. This is the image that Skousen uses to illustrate the direction of prices in financial markets. It is not random but neither is it entirely scripted. There is a great deal of improvisation and uncertainty. But what makes it all work is that great institution of the mutual benefit of buying and selling. This is what makes markets dance.
Economics and investing are the two fields that Skousen has followed closely during his long career. This book weaves the two together to show how you can use good economics to anticipate market turns. But just as importantly, it shows how you can use investing knowledge to understand economics. This is the unique contribution of the audiobook. It takes big ideas in economic theory and illustrates them through real-world examples from financial experience. This approach has the merit of really driving home the point. What is the use of subjective value theory, marginal utility, business cycle theory, and the rest? Skousen presents applications at every step, even while covering the history of ideas.
He also assesses the records of modern Austrian economists on forecasting. Is it perfect? No, but it is better than most. He has some corrections, too, for "hard money" investment theory. In most economics texts, micro and macroeconomics are distinct. But in Skousen's audiobook, they are beautifully integrated in theory and practice.