Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia

Richard H. Timberlake, Jr. (born 24 June 1922) is an American economist who was Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia for much of his career. He also has become a leading advocate of free banking, the belief that money should be issued by private companies, not by a government monopoly.


TheAdvocates.org - Richard Timberlake
200x312 JPEG, color


24 Jun 1922, in Steubenville, Ohio


Advocates for Self-Government, Board of Advisors
Cato Institute, Adjunct Scholar
Independent Institute, Research Fellow

Web Pages

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Richard Timberlake - Libertarian
Includes photo, biographical profile and quote
"Richard H. Timberlake Jr. is one of a handful of libertarian economists who have helped challenge the myth that the free market caused the Great Depression, and that President Franklin Roosevelt and his big-government 'New Deal' programs saved the nation from disaster. ... Timberlake has spent his professional life pointing out the dangers of powerful government banks. He is perhaps best known for Monetary Policy in the United States: An Intellectual and Institutional History (1993). ... In 1996, he served on the campaign committee for Harry Browne's Libertarian presidential campaign."
Richard H. Timberlake Jr. | Cato Institute
Includes photo, profile and links to commentary and other writings
"Richard H. Timberlake is a former professor of economics at the University of Georgia. He is an expert on the Federal Reserve, monetary policy, and the history of central banking. He is the author of Monetary Policy in the United States: An Intellectual and Institutional History (University of Chicago Press, 1993)."


Money and Gold in the 1920s and 1930s: An Austrian View, by Joseph Salerno, The Freeman, Oct 1999
Criticizes Richard Timberlake's Freeman articles on U.S. monetary policy during 1920-39, contrasting the British Banking School vs. Currency School definitions of inflation
"In consecutive issues of The Freeman, Richard Timberlake has contributed an interesting trilogy of articles advancing a monetarist critique of the conduct of U.S. monetary policy during the 1920s and 1930s. In the first of these articles, Timberlake disputes the late Murray Rothbard's 'Austrian' account of the boom-bust cycle of the 1920s and 1930s. ... In the two subsequent articles, Timberlake also takes issue, respectively, with the U.S. Treasury's policy of neutralizing gold inflows and the Fed's policy of sharply raising reserve requirements in the mid-1930s ..."


A Critique of Monetarist and Austrian Doctrines on the Utility and Value of Money, The Review of Austrian Economics, 1987
Examines the differences and similarities between the writings of monetarists such as Irving Fisher and Austrian economists such as Ludwig von Mises on the topic of money, contrasting them with the meager explanations of John Maynard Keynes
"The current epoch of inflation over much of the world has emphasized yet again the acute relationship between the quantity of national moneys and domestic price levels. Inflation has also underscored the inadequacy of the Keynesian model ... All professional specialists tend to culture their intellectual rent factors or vested interests, and economists are not exceptions. When this practice is carried on so intensively over minor details ... it becomes counterproductive to the momentum of valid first principles. ... as allies, monetarists and Austrians both would better serve their common interests. "
Austrian "Inflation," Austrian "Money," and Federal Reserve Policy, The Freeman, Sep 2000
Response to Joseph Salerno's Oct 1999 The Freeman article which critiqued Timberlake's essays in the April, May and June 1999 issues; discusses the words "inflation" and "money" and Federal Reserve policies, in an Austrian economics context
"Joseph Salerno’s essay in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, October 1999, extensively criticized the series of three articles I had published in previous issues of the magazine. I find none of Salerno’s alternative analyses valid. ... Heyne notes that 'Varoufakis ... quotes ... Ludwig von Mises in support of the claim that we cannot use facts to test economic theories.' Salerno's arguments presume this same methodology. ... No ... economist who considers his work 'scientific,' would accept such a constraint. Scientific method must use and does use both inductive and deductive methods for a valid analysis of events."
Gold Policy in the 1930s, The Freeman, May 1999
Discusses U.S. government monetary policies during the 1930s, in particular, the Gold Reserve Act (1934) which allowed FDR to devalue the dollar, the Banking Act (1935) which reformed the FRS and the misguided policies of Treasury Secretary Morgenthau
"Between 1929 and 1933, the Federal Reserve System ... monetarily starved the country into the worst economic crisis it has ever experienced. Markets, and the market system generally, did not fail, and nothing was inevitable about the collapse that occurred. Rather, the monetary system was so mismanaged that even a healthy and vigorous market system could not correct the disequilibrium ... Gold to be effective cannot be declared illegal and buried in the ground where no one can get it. If that is the best that civilization can do, we might as well have left the gold in California, the Klondike, Australia, and South Africa."
How Gold Was Money—How Gold Could Be Money Again, The Freeman, Apr 1995
Examines U.S. monetary history, as it relates to gold, from the Constitution to the late 20th century, suggesting that rather than lobbying for a return to a gold standard, sound money advocates should insist on Treasury gold being returned to taxpayers
"Students, scholars, and some curious people who occasionally stray into the text of the U.S. Constitution are properly puzzled by what seems to be that document’s 'plain language' and some of the things they see around them in the world today. One such thing is the paper money and checks everyone uses to make ordinary transactions. ... Suppose, however, that an astute politician promised to return the gold to the people as a means of economizing on the inventory of 'surplus' government commodities. Can anyone imagine that such a plank in a political platform would be unpopular?"
Lessons learned: Libertarian reflects on his campaign and offers advice, Libertarian Party News, Jan 1994
Describes the background to Timberlake's campaign for city-county commissioner against a Democrat incumbent, his campaign activities, analysis of results and suggestions for other LP candidates and the Party itself
"Just more than a year ago, this retired fuddy-duddy economics professor ran a political campaign as a Libertarian in an effort to unseat an incumbent, female, Democrat, statist, city-county commissioner in Athens-Clarke County Georgia. ... Libertarians who run in local elections and can feature a hot local issue that has widespread popular support against some establishment group's special interest have the best chance of mounting a serious challenge. ... Libertarians would begin to appear as viable candidates who deserve a place in the sun, and would thereby set up the conditions for a better showing the next time around."
Related Topics: Libertarian Party, Taxation, Voting
Money in the 1920s and 1930s, The Freeman, Apr 1999
Attempts to set the record straight on the economic and monetary events of the 1920s and early 1930s, arguing against both the Austrian view (as expressed by Murray Rothbard) and those who put the blame on stock market speculation
"One of the most enduring and troublesome mysteries in economics is money: how it is created, what sorts of institutions initiate the process, what kinds of mystique and priestcraft central bankers use in managing monetary systems, and what rules, laws, or customs limit their actions. ... Most importantly, many of the freedoms we are now trying to restore would still be commonplace. One would think that with this experience behind them, the 'monetary authorities' and the congressional wheelers and dealers would have learned some lessons about U.S. monetary machinery and its relationship to the economy. They did not."
The Reserve Requirement Debacle of 1935-1938, The Freeman, Jun 1999
Delves in greater detail into the reserve requirement policy of the Federal Reserve during 1935-38, discussed in the previous article "Gold Policy in the 1930s"
"The principal thrust of Treasury-Federal Reserve monetary policy throughout the 1920s and 1930s was by turns restrictive, contractionary, and depressive. Even as the economy was floundering helplessly in a financial environment of monetary austerity, no one in the Treasury-Fed bureaucracy seemed to understand the ongoing disequilibrium. ... legal reserve requirements should be abolished completely so that the Federal Reserve Board could not blunder again into the monetary catastrophe it fostered in the 1930s. Banks would manage their own reserves, and reserves would once again fulfill their traditional purpose."


The Roots of the Great Depression, Navigator, Jan 2001
Topics discussed include Federal Reserve policy during 1920-1939, the British attempt to return the pound to its World War I value and U.S. interventions during the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations
"Navigator: Austrian economists, such as Murray Rothbard, often place the blame for the Great Depression on an increase of the money supply by the Federal Reserve from 1921-29. Was that the case?
Timberlake: No. As I explained in my first article in a series for The Freeman ..., Rothbard and his supporters are wrong on three counts. First, the policy attitude of the Federal Reserve Banks in that era was decidedly restrained, and even contractionary. The active assets of the Fed Banks - the loans and discounts they make to commercial banks on which the banks create money - declined at an average rate of 1.6 percent per year."

Books Authored

Money and the Nation State: The Financial Revolution, Government and the World Monetary System
    by Kevin Dowd (Editor), Richard Timberlake (Editor), 1997
Partial contents: An Evolutionary Theory of the State Monopoly Over Money - National Sovereignty and International Monetary Regimes - From Gold to the ECU: The International Monetary System in Retrospect - The Gold-exchange Standard in the Interwar Years
Related Topic: Money

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Richard Timberlake" as of 27 Jan 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.