NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are always economic doomsayers. But if everyone was screaming "buy, buy, buy," that would be by signal to "sell, sell, sell."
What most of today's Doomsday Chorus has in common is a devotion to libertarianism and to Austrian Economics, which holds that there are absolute rules about economic behavior that can be deduced logically, and that government is powerless against these rules.
Robert Murphy, a scholar associated with the Mises Institute, whose slogan is "Advancing Austrian economics, liberty and peace," explained the difference between Austrians and monetarists such as outgoing Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke in a 2011 essay for the Institute.
Milton Friedman, the "Chicago School" economist and monetarist, blamed the Great Depression on tight money, Murphy wrote, and Bernanke's policies aimed to push up the money supply to compensate. "These views are anathema to modern Austrians," who "think the central bank should be abolished."
Thus, if you liked Ron Paul or think the Mises Institute makes economic sense, the current economy looks like a bubble that is bound to pop. With a whole school of economics riding on the outcome, seldom has the Doomsday Chorus featured such a distinguished company as it does today.
The best known among today's Cassandras may be David Stockman, who headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, and has written a best-selling book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, summarizing the Austrian case against both monetarism and the fiscal theories of John Maynard Keynes.
"Friedman's error about the Great Depression led him, albeit inadvertently, into the deep waters of statism," Stockman told the Mises Institute last year. "He claimed to be the tribune of free markets, but in urging [Richard Nixon] to scrap the Bretton Woods gold standard he inaugurated the present era of fiat central banking."
Stockman believes that "the taper," the removal of quantitative easing (QE) due to start this year, will trigger a collapse. Asked about his investment priorities, he said in 2010, "I invest in anything that Bernanke can't destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries."
Paul Craig Roberts, another former Reagan Administration official and long-time columnist at The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, also believes the Fed's policy of pumping new money into the economy risks economic collapse.
He wrote recently that "the U.S. faces a possible financial collapse and a high rate of inflation from dollar depreciation as the Fed pours out newly created money in an effort to support the rigged financial markets." The idea that current policy has "rigged" the markets, that it's a coat of paint on a rusting hulk, is popular among the Austrians and super-bears generally.
Peter Schiff, who heads Euro Pacific Capital, also believes in the Austrian School theories. He claims to have predicted the 2008 crash in 2006. He has also repeatedly predicted gold would rise to $5,000 per ounce soon -- it's currently around $1,250.
Recently, in a note called Too Big To Pop, Schiff wrote that the Fed taper will lead us into a new financial crisis, with rising interest rates causing the return of QE and then an exodus of foreign investment.
He concluded, "Ultimately, the power of monetary policy to engineer a real economy will be proven to be just as ridiculous as the claims that housing prices must always go up."
Another super-bear is Jim Rogers. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Rogers. I loved how he quit working for three years to travel the world. I love how he "retired" at age 37 but keeps writing anyway.
Rogers likes China as an investment, but like the Austrians is convinced the Bernanke Fed has set the stage for the collapse of the world economy. There's too much money, too much debt, not enough real assets, in his view. He likes gold. Were it not for fracking, he thinks, the collapse might have already happened.
"The Fed balance sheet has increased by 500% in the last five years and a lot of it's garbage," he said recently. "Eventually the markets will say, we're not going to take your garbage anymore, whether it's Treasury bonds or currency." He sees Japan and India going down the same sorry road.
Marc Faber, author of the Gloom Boom and Doom Report, thinks like Rogers that we're in a giant speculative bubble, comparing current markets to Asia's a year ago, which fell a currency-adjusted 30% from May to today.
Unlike Rogers, who likes gold, Faber likes cash. He recently called it "the most hated asset" right now, thus the best one to hold.
Harry Dent of Dent Research also predicts doom, but he's focused on demographics rather than real assets. In his book The Demographic Cliff , he writes that the retirement of baby boomers will create deflation that will keep the economy falling through 2019.
Dent suggests you sell all your stocks right now and prepare to buy them back a year from now when, he says, the Dow Jones Industrial Average may be as low as 5,800. On his own Web site he goes further, predicting a Dow of 3,000.
The views of gold bugs, who are perennially predicting imminent disaster, also line up well right now with those of the Austrians.
John Williams of Shadowstats says hyperinflation is imminent. "The End Game Begins" is his headline. Jim Sinclair publicly predicted in October that gold will soon be worth $50,000 per ounce.Michael Snyder calls his site TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com. His book is called The Beginning of the End. Greg Mannarino prefers producing videos to text and believes the Fed is playing a dangerous game. He also expects a mania for gold and silver.
Personally, I think it's important to have bears and super-bears advising people on the markets. Sometimes, as in 2008, and in 2000 for the Internet sector, they turn out to be right.
Will they be right this time? I don't know. What I do know is that if all these people suddenly turn bullish and no one turns bearish in the meantime, I am going to seriously consider leaving the market.
At the time of publication the author was fully invested in stocks and mutual funds.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.