Summary and Info
This book is to history what Fox news is to reporting. While Rothbard does not purport to present a "fair and balanced" historical account, the innocent sounding title masks what is in reality standard libertarian distrust of government and reverence of free market principles. Especially in light of recent events, the policies that Rothbard is indirectly arguing for, complete governmental abstention in the economy, seem immature and dangerous. And on the issue of the gold-standard, a venerable holy grail of the Austrian school, I am still not convinced of its' merits. Why should growth in our money supply be held hostage to output of world mines? How is that better then fiat money? As many economists have recognized, a country's recovery from the great depression coincided with their decision to abandon the gold standard. Does it mean anything that no countries today follow a gold standard? There must have been a reason that the gold standard argument has consistently lost - perhaps it is just bad policy. Notwithstanding all that, this book, as pimped by the other reviews, still has plenty of plusses. But while this book is good, an unequivocal five stars it is not.
PS. A much better, and somewhat less partisan version of banking and history of monetary policy, is "Monetary Policy in the United States" by Timberlake. But I would recommend starting with a more balanced, more accessible and more comprehensive review of monetary policy such as "Money, Banking and Monetary Policy" by Kreps.
PPS. Isn't it ironic that free-marketers want a fixed valuation of money (government solution to the problem of the value of currency) and that those from the pro-government camp want a floating valuation of money (a market solution to the problem of value of currency)?
More About the Author
Murray Newton Rothbard (/ˈmʌri ˈrɑːθbɑːrd/; March 2, 1926 – January 7, 1995) was an American heterodox economist of the Austrian School, a revisionist historian, and a political theorist whose writings and personal influence played a seminal role in the development of modern libertarianism.
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