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What Has Government Done to Our Money [Paperback]

Mlurray N. Rothbard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Paperback, June 1990 --  
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Book Description

June 1990
Rothbard's most famous monetary essay has appeared in multiple editions and influenced two generations of economists, investors, and businessmen. 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.

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First Sentence
Few economic subjects are more tangled, more confused than money. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise wake-up call for fiscal responsibility July 10 2004
Format:Paperback
I know what you're thinking: "Wow, a book on the finer points of monetary policy and its geopolitical legacies throughout history....my eyelids are getting heavy already..." You may not, however, get to sleep too quickly afterward as a result of this book-it's too short and well-written for that. Plus, the implications of a collapse in the value of the dollar and having all of your life savings being worth a medium-sized Pepsi at Burger King is not all that comforting, either. While the furor over money and its value has died down considerably since the 1970s, Inflation, unfathomable amounts of government debt, and ever increasing amounts of spending on all fronts means that asking "where did the money go?" will not soon go out of style.
Murray Rothbard, one of the most influential economists of the late 20th century, wrote this book-essentially a glorified policy memo (read: Math-free reading)-at the end of the 1970s, when America was in the final stages of the most devastating period of inflation in its history. His book, "What Has Government Done to Our Money?", talks about what money is and can be, the ways in which currency REALLY works, why more "money" in everybody's pocket really isn't "more money", and how almost all of any government intervention into the realm of the worth of money makes things worse instead of better. And just when you wonder about how any of this applies to the real world, it charts a course from the Worldwide Gold Standard years of end of the 19th century up through the late 1970s. He looks at how great coutries like America, Great Britain, and others almost bakrupted themselves and their citizens through ignorant and irresponsible policies regarding their respective currencies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Liberty Classic Jan. 26 2004
Format:Paperback
In the course of five decades the world has gone through many disasters and catastrophes. The policies that brought about these unfortunate events have also affected the nation's currency systems. Sound money gave way to progressive depreciating fiat money. All countries in the world vexed by inflation and treatened by the gloomy prospects of a complete breakdown of their currencies. The great inflations of our age are not act of God. They are man-made or government-made; ascribed to governments the magic of power creating wealth out of nothing and of making people happy by raising the "national income".Sound economics had been prognosticated by inflationist and expansionist who refused to take correct daignosis of the monetary reconstruction...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem Nov. 30 2002
Format:Paperback
"What Has Government Done to Our Money" is an excellent introduction to the consistent libertarian view of money; namely, that government need not intervene in a nation's monetary life at all (either by printing money or regulating banks). In a relatively short number of pages, Rothbard explains money, inflation, banking, and the history of monetary policy. Rothbard notes that the dream of the banksters is a single currency that can be inflated at will. With the rise of the EU and the Euro, we are getting closer to that day.
Don't stop with this book -- be sure to get Rothbard's "A History of Money and Banking in the US" and also "The Mystery of Banking."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read! March 25 1999
By Scott A. Kjar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I teach a one-quarter course in economic principles, and I always use this wonderful little book for a portion of it. Although the book is not very long, and Rothbard's style is extremely readable, he packs a lot of information and perspective into it. My students have an overall high opinion of this book (and the predictable low opinion of the main text book). No previous background or knowledge of money, monetary history, or economics is required to read and understand this great work. Rothbard starts in a "Robinson Crusoe" world, that is, a world in which Crusoe is the only person. He then adds more people, and shows how money arises, and exactly what money is (and what it is NOT!). I not only highly recommend it, I REQUIRE it for my students.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem Nov. 30 2002
By Steve Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"What Has Government Done to Our Money" is an excellent introduction to the consistent libertarian view of money; namely, that government need not intervene in a nation's monetary life at all (either by printing money or regulating banks). In a relatively short number of pages, Rothbard explains money, inflation, banking, and the history of monetary policy. Rothbard notes that the dream of the banksters is a single currency that can be inflated at will. With the rise of the EU and the Euro, we are getting closer to that day.
Don't stop with this book -- be sure to get Rothbard's "A History of Money and Banking in the US" and also "The Mystery of Banking."
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE introduction to sound monetary policy March 18 2001
By John S. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The late Murray Rothbard's short volume is the best single introduction available to monetary theory -- and to the sort of fiscal jiggery-pokery that becomes possible to the State which takes control of the currency.

Here the reader will find a short introduction to what money is in the first place (and how it arises on a free market); how fiat currency makes inflation possible and allows the State to steal funds without anybody noticing; and what sound monetary policy would look like in the unlikely event that the State can ever be persuaded to take its fingers out of the pie. As is typical of Rothbard, the whole is presented with clarity, rigor, and wit.

Readers who like what they find here may want to go on to Ludwig von Mises's _Theory of Money and Credit_ -- which Rothbard describes somewhere as the best book ever on monetary theory.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable for what it is ! March 23 2000
By Joseph L. Brady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book should be REQUIRED reading at the high school level if not earlier. There is hardly any clearer explanation of money (real) and the fiat system that we now suffer under. I have read much the same thing in other books, usually covered in one chapter as part of a larger subject (such as the workings of the FED), but this short tome covers the subject without any fluff, yet thoroughly enough to give the beginner a sound grounding. It was a good refresher for myself. Mr.Rothbard's arguments for sound money are of impeccable logic. His call for a return to gold is now a cry in the wilderness, for most Americans, and apparently some Australians have been so brainwashed in hardly more than a generation that they are willing to accept their fate under a false system. I only wish that Mr. Rothbard had given more historical parallels in his book. As I recall, Roman money was being debased during their decline! All in all, this is a book not to be missed. And I highly recommend any of Rothbard's works.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read it to believe it Jan. 27 2002
By Abolaji Ogunshola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is simply a classic, and I think that there is little in it that will be overturned by further discoveries about the nature of money. Of course, even if this was to happen, the book will remain one of the best and clearest introductions to the topic of money. The book is also a great example of expository and didactic prose, so it can also be read in that context.
In this book, Rothbard discusses the history and nature of money, and by doing both, explains to the reader what is wrong with the monetary system that the world operates on today. Parts of his writing will be familiar to anyone who has taken a course in economics where money was discussed. However, the more subtle facts about money (the money regression theorem, Gresham's Law, government intereference, the reasons he gives for the government's renunciation of the gold standard etc.) will be new and interesting territory for many readers. Of course, if the ideas of this book are read and combined with the other ideas espoused by Austrian Economics, of which the author was a great proponent, then the truth and coherence of his arguments are very strong.
I strongly recommend this book. Even those (like me) who do not agree with Rothbard's anarchism will find a lot in it that is good.
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