An Empire Built of Paper
, by Lew Rockwell
, The American Conservative
, 27 Mar 2006
A review of Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis
by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin
"In the commercial republic of Jefferson, money was gold and silver. Government had no power to print currency. ... If the wall of separation between money and the state was not as high as it might have been, there was still a barrier that put a curb on power-mongering."
Aristotle Understood the Importance of Property
, by Richard Ebeling
, 27 Sep 2016
Discusses Aristotle's views on private property and property rights (contrasting them with those of Plato), the "ends" of human life, economics ("household management"), wealth acquisition, prices, money and related topics
"Money, in Aristotle's view, was to serve as a medium of exchange. In itself, money was not 'productive,' but was merely a device for the transfer of commodities, and, therefore, of values. The problem was, Aristotle argued, that the use of money was open to 'unnatural' or chrematistic moneymaking – the accumulation of money for its own sake. Always looking for the 'happy medium,' in Aristotle's mind, this was one of those excessively 'extreme' types of action to be condemned on moral grounds."
Austrian "Inflation," Austrian "Money," and Federal Reserve Policy
, by Richard Timberlake
, The Freeman
, Sep 2000
Response to Joseph T. Salerno's October 1999 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
"The question of which items economists should include in the definition of money has been debated for two centuries. Obviously, any item that is directly exchangeable for goods and services over the counter as a medium of exchange is money. Currency and demand deposits, subject to check, are clearly money. However, what about time and savings deposits, savings and loan share capital, and cash surrender values of life insurance policies—the items Salerno (and Rothbard) include in the accounted money stock?"
"Bad Money Drives Out Good"
, by Charles Adams
, Future of Freedom
, Dec 2003
Explains Gresham's Law, recounting how Queen Elizabeth I restored pure silver coinage and how the Romans debased the Greek silver drachma
"It was formulated by Sir Thomas Gresham to explain to Queen Elizabeth I what was happening to the English shilling. ... Henry VIII, had been adulterating the English shilling ... by replacing 40 percent of the silver in the coin with base metals ... Of course it was discovered and this 'bad money' drove out the pure silver shillings then in circulation. "
Competing Money Supplies
, by Lawrence H. White, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Discusses the arguments in favorand against free banking, with multiple private banks issuing their own notes, including historical precedents and proposals for the medium for note redemption
"Two sorts of monetary competition already exist today. First, private banks and financial firms compete in supplying different brands of checkable deposits and traveler's checks. They also compete in providing credit cards that are close substitutes for paying ready money. In a few corners of the world (Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Hong Kong), private banks still issue paper currency notes. Second, each national currency (such as the U.S. dollar) competes with others (such as euros and yen) to be the currency in which international contracts and portfolio assets are denominated."
Economic Thought Before Adam Smith: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Volume 1
, by Gregory P. Pavlik, The Freeman
, Oct 1995
Review of Rothbard's Economic Thought Before Adam Smith
(note: despite the title, Adam Smith is included in this volume, and the review)
"One of the most impressive examples of advanced theoretical contributions was the fourteenth-century French philosopher Jean Buridan de Bethune, who was responsible for 'the virtual creation of the modern [Austrian] theory of money.' ... In short, a sophisticated commodity theory of money. This served the additional function of beginning to sever monetary theory from the Aristotelian notion of money as a unique creation of the state, barren of intrinsic value, that plagued early economic considerations, and formed the basis of the early Christian prohibitions on interest."
Forrest McDonald, "The Founding Fathers and the Economic Order"
, by Forrest McDonald, 19 Apr 2006
Speech given at the Economic Club of Indianapolis; contrasts the economic system the founding fathers intended to create with the one that was actually created
"To transform the established order, to make society fluid and open to merit, to make industry both rewarding and necessary, what needed to be done was to monetize the whole. For money is oblivious to class, status, color, and inherited social position; money is the ultimate, neutral, impersonal arbiter. Infused into an agrarian society, money could be the leaven, the fermenting yeast, that would stimulate growth, change, prosperity, and national strength. ... Hamilton perceived that - monetary theorists to the contrary notwithstanding - money is whatever people believe is money and will voluntarily accept as money."
Francisco's Money Speech
, Atlas Shrugged
Francisco D'Anconia's speech about money being the root of all evil
"'So you think that money is the root of all evil?' said Francisco d'Anconia. 'Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. ... Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"
Francis Hutcheson: teacher of Adam Smith
, by Murray Rothbard
, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith
, 1 Jan 1995
Excerpted from chapter 15, section 15.2; discusses Hutcheson's life, the main economic themes in his writings and his criticism of Mandeville
"Money, Hutcheson pointed out, is a commodity generally accepted in a particular country, that becomes used as a general medium of exchange, and as a common standard of value and measure for economic calculation. Commodities which are chosen as money on the market are those with the most money-ish qualities: already generally desirable and acceptable in exchange; divisible into small quantities without losing their pro rata share of value; durable for long periods of time; and portable, for which quality they must have a high value per unit weight."
From John Law to John Maynard Keynes
, by Steve H. Hanke, GlobeAsia
, 1 Feb 2009
Compares the proposed "mega-Keynesian stimulus package" offered as solution to the 2008 financial crisis to John Law's actions in 18th century France
"In June 1716, Law launched his first big project. It was then that the Banque Générale was established. It issued paper money which was not fully backed by specie (gold or silver). Instead, government bonds were used to back 50% of the paper money issued by the Banque Générale. ... This represented a breakthrough for Law because one of his ideas was to replace specie-based banking systems with credit based systems. ... Interestingly, the international monetary system today looks a great deal like the credit-based system envisioned by Law."
Government Money Deserves a "Swift" Abolition
, by Nicholas Curott, Mises Daily
, 5 Oct 2006
Recounts Jonathan Swift's campaign against currency debasemen in 18th century Ireland and decries modern day inflation brought on by government-controlled money
"... just as Swift had forewarned, [t]oday we no longer have the comfort of laws preventing the government from forcing us to take whatever money it pleases. ... We must demand our right to use whatever money we wish to, whatever good or commodity individuals free from coercive interference would spontaneously adopt. Once we have a market supplied money, we can finally burn the paper trash that fuels government plunder and causes macroeconomic fluctuations. It will be our elegy to the tyranny of money theft."
Locke, John (1632-1704) | Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, by Eric Mack, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"These initial provisos on individual acquisition are, however, transcended through the invention of money. Once value attaches to bits of silver or gold, individuals are able to exchange what will otherwise spoil for coins that will not spoil. The ability to preserve value indefinitely gives individuals much more incentive to produce exchangeable objects and much more incentive to discover new and better ways to produce such objects. ... If we ask ourselves why everyone would agree to the introduction of money when substantial economic inequalities are likely to result, the answer is that this inequality is beneficial to all."
Ludwig von Mises, socialism's greatest enemy: His life and times
, by Jim Powell
Lengthy biographical essay on Mises, including details on Menger and Böhm-Bawerk
"Mises began writing about money. ... He attacked the popular view that government officials could dictate the value of money, promoted by Georg Friedrich Knapp ... He maintained that, on the contrary, markets determined the value of money. ... Mises insisted that inflating the money supply is futile, because people will bid up prices. The beneficiaries are those who, starting with government itself, spend new issues of currency before prices go up."
Related Topics: Austria
, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
, Central Banking
, Foundation for Economic Education
, Gold Standard
, Henry Hazlitt
, Carl Menger
, Ludwig von Mises
, Mont Pelerin Society
, Ayn Rand
Making Money Disappear
, by Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times
, 22 Nov 2011
Defines money, discusses inflation and the gold standard and suggests that the problems will only go away if governments relinquish their monopolies on money issuance
"Economists define money as having the following characteristics:
- A unit of account, meaning that we can define the value of goods and services in it.
- A medium of exchange, meaning that others will accept your 'money' (e.g., the U.S. dollar) for goods and services.
- A store of value, meaning that it keeps its intrinsic worth.
... Now, almost all government-produced money is a 'fiat' currency ... The problem with fiat money is there is no limit to the amount of it the government can print. Accordingly, history demonstrates that fiat currencies eventually are debased through overprinting as the value is inflated away."
Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 30: The Gold Standard as Government-Managed Money
, by Richard Ebeling
, Future of Freedom
, Jun 1999
Describes how, by allowing central banks to manage gold-backed currencies, the road was paved for central planning in other areas
"While the goals for monetary policy may have been considered modest and limited in the eyes of the classical liberals of the 19th century, it remained a fact that the monetary system was a subject for national government policy. ... And as such, even most of the advocates of economic liberty argued for monetary socialism and monetary central planning. They failed to call for and defend the privatization of the most important commodity in a market economy – the medium of exchange."
Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 32: Friedrich A. Hayek and the Case for the Denationalization of Money
, by Richard Ebeling
, Future of Freedom
, Aug 1999
Shows the progression of Hayek's thinking on money from 1945 when he was agreeable to central monetary control to 1976 when he advocated a system of private competing currencies
"The consequence was the constant abuse of the printing press and a resulting price inflation to feed the seemingly insatiable demands of privileged and politically influential groups. Hayek now concluded that some method had to be found to free the ordinary citizen from the government's monopoly control of the medium of exchange. The answer, he suggested, was allowing individuals the freedom to use whatever money they chose ..."
Money and Banking
, by Lawrence H. White, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
Discusses some of the issues regarding money, whether state- or privately issued, and banking, including central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, fractional reserve banking and free (fully unregulated) banking
"Throughout history, the state has typically monopolized the issuance of money. ... Classical economists like Adam Smith understood that money was originally not a creature of the state, but was rather a spontaneous institution that had emerged without explicit design. As Carl Menger concluded, 'Money was not created by law; in its origin it is not a governmental but a social phenomenon.' Markets in the ancient world converged on silver coins as the most commonly accepted medium of exchange. This silver coin standard prevailed across national borders without any global government."
Our Secret Desires
, by Frédéric Bastiat
Originally "Abondance, Disette" (Abundance, Scarcity), an essay in Economic Sophisms
, translated in 1964 by Arthur Goddard
"But, you say, if foreigners flood us with their products, they will carry off our money! Well, what difference does that make? Men are not fed on cash, they do not clothe themselves with gold, nor do they heat their houses with silver. What difference does it make whether there is more or less money in the country, if there is more bread in the cupboard, more meat in the larder, more clothing in the wardrobe, and more wood in the woodshed?"
Paper Money and the Constitution
, by Rick Lynch, Future of Freedom
, Jan 2009
Examines the historical period of the Articles of Confederation and how it led to controls on the issuance of paper money in the U.S. Constitution
"The story of paper money is a simple one of greed and corruption fueled by the power of unchecked democracy degenerating into oppression and turmoil. For the Framers, the paper-money crisis was the manifestation of all their fears of mob rule followed by chaos, and it was paper money, far more than anything else, that prompted them to convene the assembly that gave birth to the Constitution."
Robert A. Heinlein's Soaring Spirit of Liberty
, by Jim Powell
, The Freeman
, Jul 1997
Biographical essay, including multiple quotes from fellow authors and significant excerpts from Heinlein's novels and stories
"In Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984), Heinlein explores the shocks of moving suddenly from one era to another. Among other things, he talks about money. 'I had figured out,' the narrator says, 'that while paper money was never any good after a world change, hard money, gold and silver, would somehow be negotiable, as bullion if not as coin. So, when I got a chance to lay hands on hard money, I was stingy with it and refused to take paper money in change for hard money.'"
Related Topics: Achievement
, Right to Keep and Bear Arms
, Robert A. Heinlein
, No Free Lunch
, J. Neil Schulman
, Science Fiction
Robert Morris to President of Congress
, by Robert Morris
, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
, 15 Jan 1782
Report, as U.S. Superintendent of Finance, to the Congress (under the Articles of Confederation); examines weights, measures and money practices in various states and countries, particularly England and France, and recommends coinage of U.S. dollars
"As we are now shaking off the Inconveniencies of a depreciating Medium the present Moment seems to be that in which a general Currency can best be established so as that in a few Months the same Names of Money will mean the same Things in the several Parts of the United States. ... Altho most Nations have coined Copper yet that Metal is so impure that it has never been considered as constituting the Money Standard. This is affixed to the two precious Metals because they alone will admit of having their intrinsic Value precisely ascertained."
Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders
, by Arthur E. Foulkes, Mises Daily
, 21 Jun 2006
Recounts the experience of teaching economics to fifth graders, one concept per week, for five weeks, focusing on trade, money, savings, competition and prices
"This gave the egg farmer a supply of wheat that he did not wish to consume but rather to employ as a 'medium of exchange' to allow him to obtain shoes. In other words, he used wheat as a form of money. We then talked about what makes some goods better suited as money than others. For instance, wheat is better than eggs or fish because it lasts longer and is more easily divisible into units of equal quality. We then discussed things even better suited as money, such as gold or silver."
The Essence of Liberty: What is it that really makes one a libertarian?
, by David Nolan
, Libertarian Party News
, Mar 1995
Discusses five points of "no compromise" that Nolan considered essential to libertarianism
"The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system; i.e. one where the currency is backed by something of true value (usually gold or silver). Fiat money-money with no backing, whose acceptance is mandated by the State-is simply legalized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to expanding government power."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 1
, by Jacob G. Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Aug 2006
Discusses some of the provisos in the U.S. constitution regarding coinage and the issuance of paper money
"The paper money of today still contains a hint of what it once represented — a promise to pay money, rather than money itself. Take a dollar bill out of your billfold. Notice that at the top it states, 'Federal Reserve Note.' Why is it called a 'note'? Because it represents, somewhat perversely, what such a note once constituted for our American ancestors — a promise to pay something, namely gold."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 2
, by Jacob G. Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Sep 2006
Continues with the brief monetary history of the United States, discussing Abraham Lincoln's war loans and legal tender law, and the Supreme Court cases of Hepburn v. Griswold
and Knox v. Lee
"Through the U.S. Constitution, the American people brought into existence one of the soundest monetary systems in history. It wasn't perfect in that it didn't provide for a free market in money, but, by establishing gold and silver coin as the official money for the United States, it did protect the American people from the inflationary ravages of paper money."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3
, by Jacob G. Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's executive order confiscating gold and nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
"The ultimate solution to this financial chaos, destruction, and morass lies in sound money. The ideal is a free market in money, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich A. Hayek observed. The second-best solution is the type of gold standard established by the Framers, where gold and silver coin are the official money and where the federal government is required to redeem all bills and notes in such money."
The Internet and the End of Monetary Sovereignty
, by Bill Frezza
, The Future of Money in the Information Age
Considers how cyberspace promises of privacy and anonymity may lead to new monetary institutions and "a practical realization of laissez-faire capitalism" as advocated by Ayn Rand
"It is possible, then, that a referent to external physical commodities or existing fiat currencies may not always be necessary to establish the value of money within cyberspace. While a self-supporting cyberspace currency may be impractical today, the possibility of achieving independence from external referents will certainly increase as the portion of the world's wealth that exists in cyberspace grows."
The Organization of Debt into Currency: On the Monetary Thought of Charles Holt Carroll
, by Robert Blumen, Mises Daily
, 27 Apr 2006
Review of the fractional reserve banking and monetary arguments made by Charles Holt Carroll, a 19th century Massachusetts merchant, in a collection of 36 essays re-published in 1964 in Organization of Debt into Currency and Other Papers
"Carroll advanced several brilliant arguments against the system of 'fictitious money': that it is based on a confusion in thinking; that it creates a state of permanent indebtedness; that it leads to national impoverishment rather than prosperity; that it results in price inflation; and that it inevitably leads to bank runs and then to systemic banking crises; and that it unjustly redistributes wealth from the honest and industrious to bankers and their accomplices."
The Origin of Economic Theory: A Portrait of Richard Cantillon (1680-1734)
, by Mark Thornton
, 3 Aug 2007
Examines the sections of Cantillon's Essai
relating them to episodes in the author's life, then delving into several Austrian economics insights that can be found in the work
"Cantillon was a hard-money man who understood that the nature of money as a medium of exchange drove the evolution of money to precious metals, and that princes cannot introduce imaginary money or successfully debase money. Central to his Austrian-style analysis was his rejection of the aggregate approach of the naive quantity theory of money in favor of a microeconomic-process approach to the study of the money. He showed that the type of change in the money supply and where it entered the economy were crucial to determining what the effects would be."
Bitcoin the Cryptocurrency (Parody of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer)
, 15 Dec 2013
"You know dollars, and Euros and Yen and Pound Sterling, Reais, and Rubles, and Rupees, Renminbi, But do you recall? The most digital coin of them all ..."
I Want My Bailout Money
, by Mike Adams, 6 Jan 2009
Hip hop satire song about Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury policies
Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve
, by Mises Institute
, Ron Paul
, Lew Rockwell
, Murray Rothbard
, Joseph Salerno
Explains the origins of money and banking, how and why the Federal Reserve was created and the effects it has had on society. Dedicated to Murray Rothbard.
Why Not Print More Money?
, by Antony Davies, 4 Apr 2012
Explains what the effects would be if the government were to print money and hand it out, why money was invented and what economics problems does it solve
"Money solves ... the incidence of wants problem ... Money is simply an I.O.U. that people can keep and exchange more easily than they can keep and exchange physical goods. With money, any caveman can trade with any other caveman, regardless of what they produce, because now the first person has to want what the second person has, but the second person doesn't need to want what the first person has. ... Money also solves the retention of value problem. Our caveman can raise and sell chickens and put his money under a rock. He can keep doing this as long as he likes because the money doesn't deteriorate."