Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton
Mark Thornton
Austrian School
Born 7 June 1960
Nationality United States
Field Economic history, political economy, prohibitionism, history of economic thought
Influences Frederic Bastiat, Richard Cantillon, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell

Mark Thornton is an American economist of the Austrian School.[1] Thornton has been described by the Advocates for Self-Government as "one of America's experts on the economics of illegal drugs."[2] Thornton has written extensively on that topic, as well as on the economics of the American Civil War, economic bubbles, and public finance. He successfully predicted the housing bubble, the top in home builder stocks, the bust in housing and the world economic crisis.


Education and academic career

Mark Thornton speaking about business cycles during the 2008 Mises University conference.

Thornton received his B.S. from St. Bonaventure University (1982), and his Ph.D. from Auburn University (1989). Thornton taught economics at Auburn University for a number of years, additionally serving as founding faculty advisor for the Auburn University Libertarians. He also served on the faculty of Columbus State University, and is now a senior fellow and resident faculty member at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.[3] He is currently the Book Review Editor for the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.[4]

Prohibition studies

Libertarian organizations including the Independent Institute,[5] the Cato Institute,[6] and the Mises Institute have published Thornton's writings on drug prohibition and prohibition in general. Thornton contributed a chapter[7] to Jefferson Fish's book How to Legalize Drugs. He has also been interviewed on the topic of prohibition by members of the mainstream press.[8] Thornton's first book, The Economics of Prohibition, was praised by Murray Rothbard, who declared:

Thornton's book... arrives to fill an enormous gap, and it does so splendidly.... The drug prohibition question is... the hottest political topic today, and for the foreseeable future.... This is an excellent work making an important contribution to scholarship as well as to the public policy debate.

Economic bubbles

Thornton has also written on economic bubbles, including the United States housing bubble, which he first described in February 2004.[9][10][11] He suggested that the "housing bubble might be coming to an end" in August 2005.[12] His work on market bubbles has been cited by journalists[13][14] and other writers.[15][16] Economist Joseph Salerno noted that "Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute was one of the first to jump on this—to start writing about the housing bubble."[17] Similarly, economist Thomas DiLorenzo has written that "[i]t was Austrian economists like Mark Thornton . . . who were warning of a housing bubble years before it burst."[1] He also called the top in the housing market. He developed and published his Skyscraper and Business Cycle model in 2005.[13] His Skyscraper Index Model successfully sent a signal of the Late-2000s financial crisis at the beginning of August 2007. [14][15]

Political activities

Thornton has also been active in the political arena, making his first bid for office in 1984, when he ran for the U.S. Congress. He became the first Libertarian Party office-holder in Alabama when he was elected Constable in 1988. In addition to further political candidacies, Thornton also served in various capacities with the Libertarian Party of Alabama. In 1996 he became an economic advisor to Alabama Governor, Fob James.[2]

Thornton has been featured as a guest on a variety of radio and internet programs and his editorials and interviews have appeared in leading newspapers and magazines.



  1. ^ a b DiLorenzo, Thomas (2011-02-11) My Associations with Liars, Bigots, and Murderers,
  2. ^ a b "Libertarian Celebrities: Mark Thornton." Advocates for Self-Government. [1]
  3. ^ "Mark Thornton." Mises Institute.
  4. ^ "Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics." Mises Institute.[2]
  5. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Prohibition versus Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?" Independent Institute. The Independent Review. Winter 2007. [3]
  6. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure." Policy Analysis no. 157. Cato Institute. 17 July 1991. [4]
  7. ^ Thornton, M. (1998). Perfect drug legalization. In J. M. Fish (Ed.), How to legalize drugs (pp. 638-660). Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
  8. ^ "US drinks to 75 years since end of Prohibition." Agence France-Presse. Hosted by Google. 4 December 2008.[5]
  9. ^ Thornton, Mark. "'Bull' Market." 9 February 2004
  10. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Housing: Too Good to be True." 4 June 2004.[6]
  11. ^ Thornton, Mark. "This Inflated House." The Free Market. Mises Institute. August 2004. [7]
  12. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Is the Housing Bubble Popping?" 8 August 2005. [8]
  13. ^ Foulkes, Arthur. "Why all the fuss about the housing market?" Terre Haute Tribune-Star. 26 August 2007.[9]
  14. ^ Delasantellis, Julian. "Exurbia: Built on paradox and hypocrisy." Asia Times. 29 May 2007.[10]
  15. ^ Farrell, Chris. Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall. HarperCollins. 2004. p. 12.
  16. ^ Foldvary, Fred. "The Real Estate Bubble." The Progress Report. 2004. [11]
  17. ^ "Joseph Salerno: Bankrupt Banks." The Lew Rockwell Show. 4 February 2009. [12]

External links

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