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.
This volume's contents include:
This is an excelent book and I couldn't recommend it enough. I was amazed about how much Rothbard managed to get into so few pages and in such easily understood wording.
Once I finished reading this book I immediately picked up The Mystery of Banking and found this to be an excellent follow on book that answered lots of my questions.
Murray N. Rothbard's two essays are a must read for every American who wants to understand why the bailout being proposed by the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in 2008 will not work. Most importantly, Section 4 of What Has Government Done to Our Money? will make American citizens aware of the reasons why central banking was undertaken in the United States and who the real beneficiaries of central banking are. Also read Rothbard's preface to The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar. In the preface, he predicted with 100% accuracy the very kind of bailout that is being proposed today well over a decade ago!
As part of my journey of learning Austrian Economics, I began with the purchase of this book and "The Case Against the Fed." I am fourteen years old, but Rothbard's writing makes his conclusions obvious. He begins by explaining why money exists, and how it does so in a free society, answering questions about its shape and functions. He proceeds by teaching of the effects of government interference with money, and then concludes with a brief history of the United State monetary history. "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar" also comes included in the book, and it reinforces the teachings of the "What Has Government Done to Our Money," as well as introducing new concepts and envisions his idea of a monetary heaven. Through the course of reading these two essays, I was introduced to many new concepts such as Gresham's Law (and its real meaning), the failure of bimetallism's fixed exchange rates, and how a gold dollar would actually work. I now know what money truly is, and fiat currencies do not fit the bill.
Monetary theory is one of those subjects that (1) appeals to no one, (2) must be understood by everyone, and (3) is in fact roundly misunderstood by most of the so-called monetary experts.
What is the basis for this claim?
(1) Try talking to your friends about fiat money, commodity money, and fractional serve banking sometime. If they don't tune you out right away it's only because they're your friends. (2) Money, in an advanced society, is involved on at least one side of almost every transaction. Liberty, prosperity, and peace will not be around long if our ideas about money are flawed. (3) That industrialized societies have been subject to economic crises since the inception of the Industrial Revolution suggests that the most influential minds are influencing us in wrong ways.
What can you do? Get Rothbard's book and devour it.
You'll learn what money is, how it emerged, and how it's been corrupted by government and banking. You'll also understand why central banking is a polite name for central counterfeiting and why an autonomous gold standard is the only monetary system compatible with civilization.
Rothbard's book is an easy read and a must-read. Give copies to your friends. Send copies to the Fed. But read it yourself first. He wrote it for you.
George Ford Smith
author, The Flight of the Barbarous Relic
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