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07.12.2020
Obituary: Prof. Antal Fekete
Author: Rahim Taghizadegan

Fekete developed a solution for public financing after a debt crisis - the gold bond. Fekete’s attention was always focused on alternatives for financing a modern economy without creating unlimited amounts of money. A reduction to physical gold seemed insufficient to him - if banks didn’t create money, bonds and especially bills of exchange would once again have a major role to play.

Fekete received his first European recognition in 1996 when he received an award from the Swiss bank Lips for an essay on the role of gold in a monetary system. Even back then, he strongly criticised the monetary policy, and many aspects proved to be prophetic. His detailed definition and further development of Menger's concept of “Absatzfähigkeit“ (marketability) can be considered one of his greatest contributions to monetary theory. The essay ("Whither gold?") has lost none of its topicality and reveals Fekete's encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of currency and ideas.

After his retirement, Fekete worked - as Ludwig von Mises once did - at the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, and taught at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala and the Romanian Sapientia University. He advised the Mexican entrepreneur and philanthropist Hugo Salinas Price on his reform plans to monetise a silver coin as a more stable savings alternative. Salinas Price provided an important assessment of some of the contradictions between Fekete and Ludwig von Mises, whom he admired: "I knew Mises personally and have no doubt that he would have generously accepted the refreshing ideas of Antal E. Fekete.”

Since 2002, Antal Fekete has been teaching a growing number of interested people via the Internet and in regular seminars, especially in Hungary and Spain, where he attracted a competent economist, Juan Ramón Rallo, as his comrade-in-arms. He appeared on various occasions under "Gold Standard Institute", "Gold Standard University" and most recently "New Austrian School of Economics". Unfortunately, setting up institutions always proved unsustainable because of personal disagreements.

Fortunately, Fekete distributed his writings largely freely over the Internet. So, little by little his influence grew. Fekete’s sharp intellect may excuse his sometimes overly sharp manner. He noted that intellectual development was lacking in the modern "Austrian School" in contrast to its old Austrian predecessor. Admittedly, remedying this shortcoming is too broad a task for one person’s shoulders to bear, even if this person is standing on the shoulders of giants.

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