The Human Action Podcast

Mark Thornton: The Skyscraper Curse

Mark Thornton on Mises Weekends
Mark Thornton

This weekend, we feature our own Senior Fellow Mark Thornton in an appearance on Paul Molloy’s “Freedom Works” radio show.

Mark is known for his work on the Skyscraper Index Model, which can help us understand why booms are followed by busts, why malinvestment is inevitable in an era of artificial interest rates, and how central banks cause so much harm.

Building booms—especially in the context of big city skyscrapers—can be clear signs of dangerous bubbles and hubris. It’s no coincidence that the Empire State Building was built on the cusp of the Great Depression, and Moscow’s empty new financial center is an eerie reminder that phony growth can end very quickly. With huge mega-towers planned for China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, among others, the “skyscraper curse” may strike again.