As with all things, there is a time to sow and a time to reap. Humans being lazy and greedy, we try to extend the reaping, which Austian economics abhors as destructive. I'm not disagreeing with their conclusions, but some of the recommendations from the Austrian school aren't well aligned with what's worked in the past. This isn't necessarily a flaw in the theory so much as in the people applying it and their own prejudices.
Small and unique business grows during a crisis because of necessity. I remember reading of an electrical engineer who was fixing small appliances in his home for a dollar or two during the depression, as he simply could not find work that paid enough for his debts. He managed to work himself out of debt eventually. He would not have done this save for necessity. A friend of mine's father bought literally barrels of parts for guns and pistols from surplus sales and closings during the depression, and when his son wanted a little extra money he'd go pick through parts and make a couple of guns to sell. Millions of people had gardens during the depression, tearing out flower beds to grow their tomatoes and corn. Conditions create the necessity which force people to create the solution.
Higgs, what I was hoping people would take away from that historical table was that there is a reason why we've got problems collecting taxes and inspecting beef and controlling the greed of the hedge funds and maintaining peace in the world. We generally have the laws, but we'd increased the population of the US by over 100,000,000 in the period from the sixties to now, but we are trying to do the controls with a smaller group. We tried to fight two wars with a smaller military than we had during Vietnam. It is neither shocking nor surprising that attempting to manage complex matters with understaffed offices doesn't work well - it's not logical to expect it to work well. It does lead to the attitudes John describes, in which everyone in the offices recommends just ignoring everything, because they can't do anything else and they've been drowned in meaningless paperwork which is supposed to "prove" what a good job they are doing, so they fill out paperwork instead of actually being able to do the damned work. And it leads to government grants to independant agencies that are supposed to do the work, but often don't. And somehow we convince ourselves that we can vote for "smaller government and less taxes" but get 1/3 more meat inspections and more roads and more of everything we want just because we said we want it cheaper. Wishing for the moon doesn't work, and nothing is free. And you will ALWAYS pay the price, if you don't pay for the meat inspections, then you pay in hospital bills and sick people and monster recalls that will cost the companies more than just paying for the inspections and complying (that's that self destructive part of Austrian economics at work).
Aedens, I fully agree that millions of people truly desire to see everything go to wrack and ruin. I know them, and I don't understand them at all. I spent ages demonstrating to one of those folks some time back pretty much exactly what would happen when conventional oil production peaked, it did and it has and it's pretty much followed expectations (with a few surprises OFC, I'm not the witch of Endor or anything) as to increased prices, decreased usage, and ramped up production. He's happier and more logical now about such issues, but there isn't enough time in the world to discuss such things with all these people. Making logical plans for shifting production and supplies is one thing, knowing the prices will shift is good, sitting in a corner and crying because the axe might fall on a child doesn't make any sense. Go pull it out of the wall, dammit. http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-33.html
Living for no purpose but to bewail potential catastrophe is not life at all. It's merely dread, masquerading as life.