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The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay--the one that has influenced two generations of economists, investors, and business professionals. The Mises Institute has united this book with its natural complement: a detailed reform proposal for a 100 percent gold dollar. The Case for a 100 Percent The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay--the one that has influenced two generations of economists, investors, and business professionals. The Mises Institute has united this book with its natural complement: a detailed reform proposal for a 100 percent gold dollar. The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar was written a decade before the last vestiges of the gold standard were abolished. His unique plan for making the dollar sound again still holds up. Some people have said: Rothbard tells us what is wrong with money but not what to do about it. Well, by adding this essay, the problem and the answer are united in a comprehensive whole. After presenting the basics of money and banking theory, he traces the decline of the dollar from the 18th century to the present, and provides lucid critiques of central banking, New Deal monetary policy, Nixonian fiat money, and fixed exchange rates. He also provides a blueprint for a return to a 100 percent reserve gold standard. The book made huge theoretical advances. He was the first to prove that the government, and only the government, can destroy money on a mass scale, and he showed exactly how they go about this dirty deed. But just as importantly, it is beautifully written. He tells a thrilling story because he loves the subject so much. The passion that Murray feels for the topic comes through in the prose and transfers to the reader. Readers become excited about the subject, and tell others. Students tell professors. Some, like the great Ron Paul of Texas, have even run for political office after having read it. Rothbard shows precisely how banks create money out of thin air and how the central bank, backed by government power, allows them to get away with it. He shows how exchange rates and interest rates would work in a true free market. When it comes to describing the end of the gold standard, he is not content to describe the big trends. He names names and ferrets out all the interest groups involved. Since Rothbard's death, scholars have worked to assess his legacy, and many of them agree that this little book is one of his most important. Though it has sometimes been inauspiciously packaged and is surprisingly short, its argument took huge strides toward explaining that it is impossible to understand public affairs in our time without understanding money and its destruction.


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The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay--the one that has influenced two generations of economists, investors, and business professionals. The Mises Institute has united this book with its natural complement: a detailed reform proposal for a 100 percent gold dollar. The Case for a 100 Percent The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay--the one that has influenced two generations of economists, investors, and business professionals. The Mises Institute has united this book with its natural complement: a detailed reform proposal for a 100 percent gold dollar. The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar was written a decade before the last vestiges of the gold standard were abolished. His unique plan for making the dollar sound again still holds up. Some people have said: Rothbard tells us what is wrong with money but not what to do about it. Well, by adding this essay, the problem and the answer are united in a comprehensive whole. After presenting the basics of money and banking theory, he traces the decline of the dollar from the 18th century to the present, and provides lucid critiques of central banking, New Deal monetary policy, Nixonian fiat money, and fixed exchange rates. He also provides a blueprint for a return to a 100 percent reserve gold standard. The book made huge theoretical advances. He was the first to prove that the government, and only the government, can destroy money on a mass scale, and he showed exactly how they go about this dirty deed. But just as importantly, it is beautifully written. He tells a thrilling story because he loves the subject so much. The passion that Murray feels for the topic comes through in the prose and transfers to the reader. Readers become excited about the subject, and tell others. Students tell professors. Some, like the great Ron Paul of Texas, have even run for political office after having read it. Rothbard shows precisely how banks create money out of thin air and how the central bank, backed by government power, allows them to get away with it. He shows how exchange rates and interest rates would work in a true free market. When it comes to describing the end of the gold standard, he is not content to describe the big trends. He names names and ferrets out all the interest groups involved. Since Rothbard's death, scholars have worked to assess his legacy, and many of them agree that this little book is one of his most important. Though it has sometimes been inauspiciously packaged and is surprisingly short, its argument took huge strides toward explaining that it is impossible to understand public affairs in our time without understanding money and its destruction.

30 review for What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Skretvedt

    This book, along with "The Mystery of Banking" make for fantastic introductions into the system of economic theory known as the Austrian-School. Austrian-School economics is the foundation for economic theory among most libertarians. If you've come to regard economics as boring, you're missing out! Austrian-School theory is intuitive, commonsensical, and empowering. It's the only fully integrated theory of economics which can simply and reliably explain (and predict!) the ups and downs of the bus This book, along with "The Mystery of Banking" make for fantastic introductions into the system of economic theory known as the Austrian-School. Austrian-School economics is the foundation for economic theory among most libertarians. If you've come to regard economics as boring, you're missing out! Austrian-School theory is intuitive, commonsensical, and empowering. It's the only fully integrated theory of economics which can simply and reliably explain (and predict!) the ups and downs of the business cycle, without resorting to dubious claims from psychology and bastardizations of group dynamics. Other theories, like the Keynesian-School, must use intensely complicated and ultimately fallacious concepts to explain common economic phenomena, making for a disinterested public, and an over-reliance on so-called experts to interpret conditions. It's no surprise then, that Keynesian-School theory is the choice of most modern educational institutions, and the orthodoxy of public policy schools. It's inscrutability and need for expert interpretation lends itself to use by the state as a lever of control. This book and "Banking", mentioned above, both by renown libertarian scholar Murray Rothbard, give an easy, ground-up primer on the monetary aspect of Austrian-School theory. No prior experience is required. You'll likely find yourself "getting it" almost from the first page. And if you've never been in contact with this way of economic thinking before, get ready for a shock. It'll cause you to question why the mainstream doesn't ever seem to want to look at things this way. You'll discover here why the gold standard was natural, a great idea, why we (and all modern nations) left it, and how it's not the anachronistic boogey-man mainstream media and economists would like you to think it is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeta

    Excellent introduction to money and gold dollar.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rick Saffery

    I learned or rather rediscovered my passion for economics by reading Dr.Rothbard's book. His effort here is a very short, concise, surprisingly easy one to read. Rothbard suggests that it is government meddling and its monopolistic strangehold on the creation of money that is responsible for boom-bust business cycles. He expounds on this sentiment in his narrative regarding the perfect storm of several interdependent events which drive the destructive hyperinflation of our currency. The dissolut I learned or rather rediscovered my passion for economics by reading Dr.Rothbard's book. His effort here is a very short, concise, surprisingly easy one to read. Rothbard suggests that it is government meddling and its monopolistic strangehold on the creation of money that is responsible for boom-bust business cycles. He expounds on this sentiment in his narrative regarding the perfect storm of several interdependent events which drive the destructive hyperinflation of our currency. The dissolution of the gold standard, fractional-reserve banking and the usurpation of the countries treasury by a handful of wealthy private bankers Rothbard asserts as the reason for such a disparity in arms.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bill Peacock

    Confused about how the Federal Reserve works, or why we need it? Can't figure out what causes inflation? Does the whole financial crisis have you baffled? This is a great place to start working through the muck. If you don't read anything else, read the section on money warehouses, though the whole book is worth a read. Confused about how the Federal Reserve works, or why we need it? Can't figure out what causes inflation? Does the whole financial crisis have you baffled? This is a great place to start working through the muck. If you don't read anything else, read the section on money warehouses, though the whole book is worth a read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Peterson

    6 Oct. 2019 - I have read this book at least a couple times over the last 40 years. Excellent little book. It really clearly explains the concept of money and how the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) controls it in the US. Rothbard has a funky notion about 100% reserve requirement and I believe gets that aspect quite wrong. This is not really a minor problem with this book, but the rest is so good that I still give it 4 stars. But I urge the thoughtful reader to move on to Mises, in particular the pertin 6 Oct. 2019 - I have read this book at least a couple times over the last 40 years. Excellent little book. It really clearly explains the concept of money and how the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) controls it in the US. Rothbard has a funky notion about 100% reserve requirement and I believe gets that aspect quite wrong. This is not really a minor problem with this book, but the rest is so good that I still give it 4 stars. But I urge the thoughtful reader to move on to Mises, in particular the pertinent sections of Human Action, to get the more full and complete story. There are other critiques of Rothbard, and I will add them as I get that info.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adna

    Murray Rothbard was a great writer, and these two essays are no exception. Though the essays are at times repetitive, his arguments are clearly defined, comprehensively argued and in his typical style adorned with various amusing and interesting anecdotes and examples. Even decades after being first published these essays will still be of interest to those who want a different perspective on banking from the one found in the average newspaper. After reading the essays, it'd be hard to think that, Murray Rothbard was a great writer, and these two essays are no exception. Though the essays are at times repetitive, his arguments are clearly defined, comprehensively argued and in his typical style adorned with various amusing and interesting anecdotes and examples. Even decades after being first published these essays will still be of interest to those who want a different perspective on banking from the one found in the average newspaper. After reading the essays, it'd be hard to think that, as is often assured, all is well in the world of finance. Rothbard concludes his essay The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar with the following statement, aimed at those who would argue that the ideas he advocates are out of touch with the modern world, or even dangerous. 'There is no gainsaying the fact that this suggested program will strike most people as impossibly “radical” and “unrealistic”; any suggestion for changing the status quo, no matter how slight, can always be considered by someone as too radical, so that the only thoroughgoing escape from the charge of impracticality is never to advocate any change whatever in existing conditions. But to take this approach is to abandon human reason, and to drift in animal- or plant-like manner with the tide of events.'

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Tosheva

    Why do we consider that money, alone among all commodities, needs to be carefully regulated and controlled by a central government and cannot be left in the invisible hands of the free market? What really is money, how it came to be and what is its price? Can its creation and regulation be entrusted to the free market? How did currencies such as the pound and the dollar cease to mean a certain weight of gold and become the fiat moneys they are today? Those are just a few of the questions answered Why do we consider that money, alone among all commodities, needs to be carefully regulated and controlled by a central government and cannot be left in the invisible hands of the free market? What really is money, how it came to be and what is its price? Can its creation and regulation be entrusted to the free market? How did currencies such as the pound and the dollar cease to mean a certain weight of gold and become the fiat moneys they are today? Those are just a few of the questions answered in this book. It is both engaging and extremely informative. It filled many of the gaps in my appalingly meagre financial education. Highly recommend, even if you don't agree with the author's libertalian views.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    "WHERE'S THE GOLD? LET'S GO GET THE GOLD!!!" --ATHF Ever wonder why gold's breaking $900 (Jan 2008), or "if our money isn't based on the gold standard anymore, then what is it based on?" Wonder why our government has rendered our money increasingly worthless for their own power and self-aggrandizement? This book is pretty damn good if you want to take the red pill and see why our government is leading us to financial ruin. As a bonus, you can download a pdf copy or read the html version off of the m "WHERE'S THE GOLD? LET'S GO GET THE GOLD!!!" --ATHF Ever wonder why gold's breaking $900 (Jan 2008), or "if our money isn't based on the gold standard anymore, then what is it based on?" Wonder why our government has rendered our money increasingly worthless for their own power and self-aggrandizement? This book is pretty damn good if you want to take the red pill and see why our government is leading us to financial ruin. As a bonus, you can download a pdf copy or read the html version off of the mises.org website. Just google, "rothbard government money."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eric Jensen

    'What Has Government Done to Our Money' is considered one of the strongest introductions into monetary theory by many liberty-minded individuals. Rothbard is a literary economist, rather than an academic one, and the unfortunate result is an exploratory work, and not a particularly rigorous one. The only interesting part of this work is a modest exploration of the history of 'money'. Unfortunately, Rothbard skips inductive or deductive methodologies, analysis of monetary data, and any semblance 'What Has Government Done to Our Money' is considered one of the strongest introductions into monetary theory by many liberty-minded individuals. Rothbard is a literary economist, rather than an academic one, and the unfortunate result is an exploratory work, and not a particularly rigorous one. The only interesting part of this work is a modest exploration of the history of 'money'. Unfortunately, Rothbard skips inductive or deductive methodologies, analysis of monetary data, and any semblance of quasi or true experimental design. Instead, he proposes to move straight into the discussion of policy options. It does not occur to Rothbard that proper inferences can only be drawn when there is data from which to draw!In so doing, Rothbard allows himself to leap from bombastic claim(fractional reserve banking is the primary cause of business cycles) to bombastic conclusion (in a free society, people would institute bank runs to close down fractional reserve banks). My point is not that Rothbard is mistaken (although he is), but rather that his work lends no justification to his claims, or to any claims, for that matter. It is important that this is recognized for what it is: a man's opinion, not argument.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aziz Albaz

    many people believe we can go back to the gold standard and that it would cause more monetary and economic stability which not possible today. this book provides excellent knowledge on money and the revolution of money its a good read. i'd recommend it to whoever is calling to go back to the gold standard,specifically the last two chapters, and what he said about world war I is an explanation on why it is impossible to go back to a gold standard today. NOTE: read the last edition because since th many people believe we can go back to the gold standard and that it would cause more monetary and economic stability which not possible today. this book provides excellent knowledge on money and the revolution of money its a good read. i'd recommend it to whoever is calling to go back to the gold standard,specifically the last two chapters, and what he said about world war I is an explanation on why it is impossible to go back to a gold standard today. NOTE: read the last edition because since the first edition many content changed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Snehal Bhagat

    Governments change, but policies rarely seem to. After all, when the creation of false dilemmas is deemed an occupational necessity, their perpetuation becomes an unspoken imperative. So, regardless of the degree of fiscal conservatism practiced, and monetary policy tightening encouraged; all governments tend to be inherently inflationary. This assertion itself is not greatly disputed, and Rothbard demonstrates why this is so in the first part of the book; What Has Government Done to Our Money? Governments change, but policies rarely seem to. After all, when the creation of false dilemmas is deemed an occupational necessity, their perpetuation becomes an unspoken imperative. So, regardless of the degree of fiscal conservatism practiced, and monetary policy tightening encouraged; all governments tend to be inherently inflationary. This assertion itself is not greatly disputed, and Rothbard demonstrates why this is so in the first part of the book; What Has Government Done to Our Money? is a cogent account of the evolution of money to facilitate trade, and of its subsequent appropriation by the states and their agencies, the central banks, that eventually led to the de-linking to the gold standard which kept the overall supply of money in check. How this in turn has fostered the now-familiar economic boom-bust cycles is also well argued; and economists from the Austrian school can feel vindicated for having predicted the current state of affairs on this basis. The second part of the book, The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar , is not as persuasive, even if it does possess theoretical merit. For one, on the monetary side, fractional-reserve banking is so well-entrenched that to even contemplate that consumers would pay "warehousing fees" for the safe-keeping of their money, rather than receive an interest income, is rather difficult; not is it clear that governments can effectively provide the desired supply of public goods without being at least somewhat inflationary.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clinton

    What Has the Government Done to Our Money directly assaults the fraudulent monetary system of fiat currency and reaffirms the sustainability in economic growth of free market currency based on an commodity such as gold and silver. Murray Rothbard briefly confutes the delusional enchantment of the impregnable system of fiat currency by issuing inflation as the most devastating phenomenon in monetary economics. Inflation is the debasing of a currency by creating money out of thin air, which means t What Has the Government Done to Our Money directly assaults the fraudulent monetary system of fiat currency and reaffirms the sustainability in economic growth of free market currency based on an commodity such as gold and silver. Murray Rothbard briefly confutes the delusional enchantment of the impregnable system of fiat currency by issuing inflation as the most devastating phenomenon in monetary economics. Inflation is the debasing of a currency by creating money out of thin air, which means the purchasing power is decreased due to the increase in the money supply. Inflation generates illusory profits and distorts calculation of business, so free markets are unable to reward efficiency and penalize inefficiency. “The general atmosphere of a sellers’ market will lead to a decline in quality of goods and of service to consumers since consumers often resist price increases less when they occur in form of downgrading of quality.” Not only does inflation destroy business, but the compulsory monopoly of mint in the control of the money supply by central banks destroys free markets even in monetary terms. Central banks are responsible for inflation, for it removes all checks on inflation as well as direct inflation. Overall, Rothbard is a true inspiration of brilliance in the field of economics where he can deliver a concise explanation of the government transgressions into the market and the incessant yet futile attempt to control economic activity through manipulating the currency. It is an absolute blast to read Rothbard every time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Goins

    Dr. Rothbard left us in 1995, and wrote the first edition of "What Has Government Done to our Money" in 1964, but he is still the clearest voice on economic policy today -- more than David Stockman. In 2014, Jim Grant of "Grant's Interest Rate Observer" may be the only financial journalist that comes close to the pristine prose of Murray Rothbard. I originally read this book four years ago, and it is just as clear this time around. I wish I had his clarity. This fourth edition, like his previous Dr. Rothbard left us in 1995, and wrote the first edition of "What Has Government Done to our Money" in 1964, but he is still the clearest voice on economic policy today -- more than David Stockman. In 2014, Jim Grant of "Grant's Interest Rate Observer" may be the only financial journalist that comes close to the pristine prose of Murray Rothbard. I originally read this book four years ago, and it is just as clear this time around. I wish I had his clarity. This fourth edition, like his previous editions, de-bamboozles the public's understanding of central banking and banking on the free-market. Interestingly, with each passing addition some monetary period came and went. In 1964, The United States had yet to de-link the U.S. dollar from gold completely. But by this last edition, which is still pre-European Union and pre-Euro, the dollar had become a completely fiat currency. He also talked about our current state of fluctuating fiat currencies, which the author believes, like every other monetary fix, will not last; and, if central banks attempt to make it last it will only give us inflation in the long-run which will be of no benefit to anyone. If you have never read a book on economics or monetary policy, make this your first one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fred Kohn

    Very disappointing. I had previously read End the Fed and found that to be a truly awful book. I expected that a book by an actual economic professor would be much better. And, yes this book is definitely better. Still, it wasn't a very good defense of the gold standard. The usual narrative by mainstream economists is that the rise of the quantity theory of money is what killed the gold standard. Not only is this not discussed at all in the book, one gets the distinct impression that either Roth Very disappointing. I had previously read End the Fed and found that to be a truly awful book. I expected that a book by an actual economic professor would be much better. And, yes this book is definitely better. Still, it wasn't a very good defense of the gold standard. The usual narrative by mainstream economists is that the rise of the quantity theory of money is what killed the gold standard. Not only is this not discussed at all in the book, one gets the distinct impression that either Rothbard has never heard of, or worse, dismisses the quantity theory of money. At one point he says, "[D]eflation can only take place after a previous inflation; only pseudo-receipts, not gold coins, can be retired and liquidated." This debunked idea is one of false ones that economist Allan Melzer in his iconic history of the Federal Reserve blames the Fed for following in their failure to deal properly with the Great Depression.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    This is an excellent overview of how and why government interferes with the proper use and role of money in society. Nationalization of currency creates unnatural barriers between nations that don't exist where "hard money" (gold) is used. Governments that are too cowardly to tax their citizens the way they would like to, simply steal their money through inflation. They can only inflate at will if they remove the checks on credit pyramiding. We have no practical checks to inflation left in the m This is an excellent overview of how and why government interferes with the proper use and role of money in society. Nationalization of currency creates unnatural barriers between nations that don't exist where "hard money" (gold) is used. Governments that are too cowardly to tax their citizens the way they would like to, simply steal their money through inflation. They can only inflate at will if they remove the checks on credit pyramiding. We have no practical checks to inflation left in the modern economic world. One of the chapters read like a prophecy of the cover of WSJ any of the last 6 months. The hard truth here, is that our monetary system is totally screwed up, and all of the current 'ideas' to correct it will only take us in the wrong direction. A proper cure to our monetary system will hurt, but it won't hurt as bad as the disease we currently have.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adnan

    An exposition of the gold standard, and the history of banks in the United States. Just like in his A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Rothbard gives us a very detailed history, sometimes it feel synchronized to be life-paced, of how the world got off the gold-standard. I honestly enjoyed the first half of the book much more, since it was loaded with economic theory. I will follow up with his The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar. An exposition of the gold standard, and the history of banks in the United States. Just like in his A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Rothbard gives us a very detailed history, sometimes it feel synchronized to be life-paced, of how the world got off the gold-standard. I honestly enjoyed the first half of the book much more, since it was loaded with economic theory. I will follow up with his The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Rothbard argues that federal tampering with money depreciates the value of the dollar, thus increasing inflation. More money in the economy is not necessarily good. If I increase the money supply by 10%, then people have more money to spend on goods. However, in order to make a profit (or not go broke), the entrepreneur must increase his prices by 10%, so we are back at square one. But it is more sinister than that. The FED, by means of controlling central bank, can create wealth ex nihilo, sort Rothbard argues that federal tampering with money depreciates the value of the dollar, thus increasing inflation. More money in the economy is not necessarily good. If I increase the money supply by 10%, then people have more money to spend on goods. However, in order to make a profit (or not go broke), the entrepreneur must increase his prices by 10%, so we are back at square one. But it is more sinister than that. The FED, by means of controlling central bank, can create wealth ex nihilo, sort of like God in Genesis 1. The more money they create by means of fraction reserve banking, the less our dollar is worth. Don't believe me? Read a newspaper and see the results.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Von Fugal

    An excellent case for the gold standard with intelligent rebuttals to the claimed pitfalls of the same. The essay at the end, Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar, is a great short read if you don't have as much time, or if you want to decide whether to read the book, but the book is far more detailed and perhaps even more reader friendly. What is monetary policy? What is even money? Why do even some otherwise free market types yet call for government regulation of money? Is there a place for fr An excellent case for the gold standard with intelligent rebuttals to the claimed pitfalls of the same. The essay at the end, Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar, is a great short read if you don't have as much time, or if you want to decide whether to read the book, but the book is far more detailed and perhaps even more reader friendly. What is monetary policy? What is even money? Why do even some otherwise free market types yet call for government regulation of money? Is there a place for free market types that take the buck all the way to include even money? This book does an excellent job of addressing these questions and more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    M.G. Bianco

    Rothbard is ever the genius. This review will not do his book justice. He promotes a free market monetary system with no government control/meddling. He clearly favors a hard metal currency, and a single currency within a country. I am more of a believer in any currency (metal or no) that the free market determines. Thus, I would be more than happy to see concurrent currencies. However, Rothbard does not really broach that issue, he simply mentions it in passing. The book is good and finishes with Rothbard is ever the genius. This review will not do his book justice. He promotes a free market monetary system with no government control/meddling. He clearly favors a hard metal currency, and a single currency within a country. I am more of a believer in any currency (metal or no) that the free market determines. Thus, I would be more than happy to see concurrent currencies. However, Rothbard does not really broach that issue, he simply mentions it in passing. The book is good and finishes with a brief overview of the history of government meddling in money.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

    Rothbard is the man. His brutally methodical and rational approach to what money is, and what it should be, make his case for a gold standard seem obvious, despite the majority of economists supporting government controlled, fiat currencies and condescendingly mocking 'goldbugs.' After reading from various sources on inflation, deflation, the gold standard, the merits and evils of saving (aka hoarding) and the role of government in creating and regulating money I am convinced that this is the boo Rothbard is the man. His brutally methodical and rational approach to what money is, and what it should be, make his case for a gold standard seem obvious, despite the majority of economists supporting government controlled, fiat currencies and condescendingly mocking 'goldbugs.' After reading from various sources on inflation, deflation, the gold standard, the merits and evils of saving (aka hoarding) and the role of government in creating and regulating money I am convinced that this is the book to go to. Any argument against a gold standard will have to answer Rothbard to remain credible.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    If you've ever wondered how humanity went from a bartered system of trade to one that uses FIAT currency, you should read this book. Eye-opening and seriously scary stuff from Rothbard regarding our system of currency and its evolution. If you've ever wondered how humanity went from a bartered system of trade to one that uses FIAT currency, you should read this book. Eye-opening and seriously scary stuff from Rothbard regarding our system of currency and its evolution.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Watkins

    Great short book about why we should go back to the 100% Gold Standard and the history of how we got off the gold standard. Free ebook version available at mises.org.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    The answer to this question is somewhat obvious.  What has government done to our money?  Screw it up.  And that is precisely the answer gives in this modest book of about 100 pages.  As someone who has thought and even occasionally read about the problem of currencies [1], I do not find the author's arguments in favor of the gold standard particularly persuasive.  That said, I do find the author's comments about the way that government has screwed up monetary policy as effectively as it has scr The answer to this question is somewhat obvious.  What has government done to our money?  Screw it up.  And that is precisely the answer gives in this modest book of about 100 pages.  As someone who has thought and even occasionally read about the problem of currencies [1], I do not find the author's arguments in favor of the gold standard particularly persuasive.  That said, I do find the author's comments about the way that government has screwed up monetary policy as effectively as it has screwed up every other aspect of human life very persuasive.  Indeed, one wonders if currency reform in general is just a fig leaf to cover the general libertarian ideal to gut government in general and keep it to very narrow boundaries.  And while I am no libertarian myself, I certainly understand that governments have screwed up monetary policy any time they have gotten involved in it, largely because governments are run by people who do not know what they are doing while seeking short-term gains at the cost of long-term suffering and misery for the very people they express a desire to help. This book makes for fairly grim and unpleasant reading, although I did read it mostly late at night, so I only have myself to blame for whatever nightmares it caused.  At a bit more than 100 pages of large paper with fairly large text, this is not a particularly long book, thankfully.  After a short introduction (1), the author talks about money in a free society, examining the value of exchange, barter, the question of money supply and hoarding and coexisting moneys like gold and silver (2).  Then the author moves into his main argument about government meddling with money by looking at inflation, monopolistic behavior, debasement, coinage, and the removal of government checks on runaway inflation (3).  After this the author gives a generally enlightening and grimly humorous discussion of the monetary breakdown of the west through nine phasis from the classical gold standard of the long post-Napoleonic peace (1815-1914) to various attempts at floating currency or using a bullion standard that limited forex trading in gold to institutional traders and governments to the current post-Bretton Woods period of fluctuating fiat currencies (4).  The author appears to be of the belief that the gold standard itself would stabilize currencies, although this is perhaps a first step to a larger goal of libertarian behavior. This book provides ample discussion of the fact that government cannot be trusted with a monopoly over monetary policy.  Unfortunately, those of us whose low levels of trust are more pervasive than that of the writer will understand that government cannot be trusted in particular because people cannot be trusted in general.  Whatever system exists of either finance or government or indeed anything else, there will be corrupt people who will want to rig that system in their favor and screw everyone else over.  The reason we have governments and regulation at all is because people have shown themselves to be corrupt and exploitative, and the general decline of conscience in our society has, by the predictable operation of Colson's law, led to the increased proliferation of regulations and police in order to deal with the essential lack of goodness in human nature.  If we cannot trust governments to avoid inflating currencies to worthlessness, then the reasons we cannot do so is because both people and governments as a whole have ruinous levels of debt and because it is easy to print money little by little than to deal with the harder and more beneficial aspects of fiscal restraint on either the micro or macro level. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Oliver

    As someone who knows nothing about economics this was still quite accessible. The beginning was a really nice introduction on the origins of money with examples for every concept. My only complaint is that as the book progressed the concepts started to get out of hand and there were fewer examples to help out. Some extra background reading is probably recommended. Overall I learned quite a bit.

  25. 5 out of 5

    wpschrec

    A very good, short, easy to read and understand book(s) on money, what it is, what it's used for and some of the problems we currently have regarding it. I liked the history he gave of money and how our government gradually seized control of it via banking and minting. This is a fairly accessible book, I think most people will be able to grasp it. He keeps it pretty basic, which is nice. A very good, short, easy to read and understand book(s) on money, what it is, what it's used for and some of the problems we currently have regarding it. I liked the history he gave of money and how our government gradually seized control of it via banking and minting. This is a fairly accessible book, I think most people will be able to grasp it. He keeps it pretty basic, which is nice.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Peixoto

    Straightforward to what is relevant. Highly recommended

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miroslav

    Money is the lifeblood of economy. Monetary system is the nerve system of it. AND... The rest of the statement depends on whom it is coming from. It is there that the unity stops and grave disaccords among various schools of economics - such as mainstream economics (think Krugman) and that of Austrians (think Rothbard) - begin. A MAINSTREAM economicst would finish it something like this: "And THAT IS WHY IT MUST BE controlled and regulated by the government." An AUSTRIAN would go on saying: "And Money is the lifeblood of economy. Monetary system is the nerve system of it. AND... The rest of the statement depends on whom it is coming from. It is there that the unity stops and grave disaccords among various schools of economics - such as mainstream economics (think Krugman) and that of Austrians (think Rothbard) - begin. A MAINSTREAM economicst would finish it something like this: "And THAT IS WHY IT MUST BE controlled and regulated by the government." An AUSTRIAN would go on saying: "And YET, IT IS controlled and regulated by the government." I wonder how many of the world central bankers, as well as (mainstream) economists endorsing the necessity for central banks, have read this classic. I am even more curious as to what those who have read it truly think about it. In any case, what I truly think is that the fiat paper money system under which the world economies operate today - IMHO being one of the two biggest problems of the world - is a PERNICIOUS system. There are more reasons as to why. To name a few: 1) it is detrimental to economy (in that it hampers the division of labor, specialization, and trade, the very essence of society that has progressed and moved beyond its primitive stage of barter); 2) it is immoral (think redistribution of wealth; worse yet, think redistribution of wealth from the many poor to the few rich); 3) it is destabilizing (think boom and bust cycles; worse yet, think credit-induced artificial, phony boom leading to real, painful bust); 4) it creates environment that encourages the culture of consumerism (please, do not confuse consumerism with capitalism). I think IT IS HIGH TIME PEOPLE GOT EDUCATED about what system we have (and what system we don’t have), whom it benefits, what money is (and what money is not), what governments/central banks do, what the difference between a savings-induced growth and credit-induced boom is, etc. - all this having serious effects on them. To get this education, this book is an EXCELLENT choice. I find it extremely well written. In fact, Rothbard is BRILLIANT in it. A must read for all who long to understand how the money - and by extension, the world - works (think Henry Kissinger, Secretery of State under Nixon and then Ford: "If you control the oil, you control nations. If you control food, you control people. If you control money, you control the world.")

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonas Persson

    This was a quick read, and an interesting history of money. The first part of the book explains how money came about, and how gold (and silver) came to be the most common medium for trade exchange, and also makes a case for how a free market gold standard would work in a fictional (or historic) economy. I liked the historic aspects, but thought the case for a gold standard lacking. There was no mention of the limitations to deal with bubbles (may it be tulips, .com, or real estate), and it was v This was a quick read, and an interesting history of money. The first part of the book explains how money came about, and how gold (and silver) came to be the most common medium for trade exchange, and also makes a case for how a free market gold standard would work in a fictional (or historic) economy. I liked the historic aspects, but thought the case for a gold standard lacking. There was no mention of the limitations to deal with bubbles (may it be tulips, .com, or real estate), and it was very simplistic in how a gold standard would auto-correct prices in a deflation. Further, inflation is painted as a great evil, but there is no mention of the benefits of a moderate inflation, nor the benefits of avoiding deflation. Instead the focus lies on the dangers of hyperinflation, and government interactions . The author also made it pretty clear that he considered banking leverage being theft, or fraud, but there is no mention of potential benefits from funding loans (be it start-ups or personal) beyond that of the fixed money supply (the finite resource of gold). It seems to me that we would have much less growth without leverage, so it would have been interesting to read the author's take on that. The last part of the book explained the international standards from WWI and onward. This was, to me, the most interesting part, since I didn't know much about this prior, and it gave me some understanding of the Bretton Woods stystem, etc. Almost bumped the book up to three stars, but I give it two strong stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Yarrington

    An exceptionally educational look at the creation of value, wealth, standard of living and how the theory of exchange that is money interacts with those ideas. Not a political diatribe but a historical panoramic examination of how the entities of government (even from the era of fiefdoms) influenced /polluted the sound principles on which the function of money operates in economic terms. It is a relatively easy "connect the dots" type of exercise for the reader to then derive his/her own observa An exceptionally educational look at the creation of value, wealth, standard of living and how the theory of exchange that is money interacts with those ideas. Not a political diatribe but a historical panoramic examination of how the entities of government (even from the era of fiefdoms) influenced /polluted the sound principles on which the function of money operates in economic terms. It is a relatively easy "connect the dots" type of exercise for the reader to then derive his/her own observations about the adverse social, political, and economic impacts of polluting the operational basis of money. Whether such be instigated by government or private interest, detriment is the result. Government manipulations however often cause a "double whammy" effect when polluting the principles. Many illustrations of this are given in real world examples. This book will open your eyes in extremely important ways! READ IT!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed

    I have been always puzzled by the mechanism by which the monetary system works, how it originated, who control it, and how it ended up so complicated. It all seemed a mysterious,and impenetrable realm, not after I, thankfully, went through this informative book. Starting by explaining the primordial notion of money in primitive societies, when people used "barter" to interact with each other,up to the contemporary paper form of money or what is known as "fiat money". This book nearly covered eve I have been always puzzled by the mechanism by which the monetary system works, how it originated, who control it, and how it ended up so complicated. It all seemed a mysterious,and impenetrable realm, not after I, thankfully, went through this informative book. Starting by explaining the primordial notion of money in primitive societies, when people used "barter" to interact with each other,up to the contemporary paper form of money or what is known as "fiat money". This book nearly covered every respect of the entangled topic of money and the role played, and is still being played, by governments to manipulate and control this essential system in our life, and what is the future of our global economy under these conditions. In the upshot, I really do recommend everyone who don't, or superficially, understand the monetary system, specially those so immersed in making a living, to "Stop making money! until they first understand what is money"

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