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What Has Government Done to Our Money?

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,588 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
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 fix
Paperback, 119 pages
Published June 28th 1990 by Ludwig Von Mises Institute (first published 1963)
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Andrew Skretvedt
This book, along with "The Mystery of Banking" make for fantastic introductions into the system of economic theory known as the Austrian-School.

Austrian-School economics is the foundation for economic theory among most libertarians. If you've come to regard economics as boring, you're missing out! Austrian-School theory is intuitive, commonsensical, and empowering. It's the only fully integrated theory of economics which can simply and reliably explain (and predict!) the ups and downs of the bus
Rick Saffery
Jun 26, 2008 Rick Saffery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Rick by: Rick Saffery
I learned or rather rediscovered my passion for economics by reading Dr.Rothbard's book. His effort here is a very short, concise, surprisingly easy one to read. Rothbard suggests that it is government meddling and its monopolistic strangehold on the creation of money that is responsible for boom-bust business cycles. He expounds on this sentiment in his narrative regarding the perfect storm of several interdependent events which drive the destructive hyperinflation of our currency. The dissolut ...more
Bill Peacock
Jun 27, 2010 Bill Peacock rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by:
Confused about how the Federal Reserve works, or why we need it? Can't figure out what causes inflation? Does the whole financial crisis have you baffled? This is a great place to start working through the muck. If you don't read anything else, read the section on money warehouses, though the whole book is worth a read.
Feb 14, 2012 Clinton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What Has the Government Done to Our Money directly assaults the fraudulent monetary system of fiat currency and reaffirms the sustainability in economic growth of free market currency based on an commodity such as gold and silver. Murray Rothbard briefly confutes the delusional enchantment of the impregnable system of fiat currency by issuing inflation as the most devastating phenomenon in monetary economics.
Inflation is the debasing of a currency by creating money out of thin air, which means t
Snehal Bhagat
Aug 29, 2010 Snehal Bhagat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Governments change, but policies rarely seem to.

After all, when the creation of false dilemmas is deemed an occupational necessity, their perpetuation becomes an unspoken imperative. So, regardless of the degree of fiscal conservatism practiced, and monetary policy tightening encouraged; all governments tend to be inherently inflationary.

This assertion itself is not greatly disputed, and Rothbard demonstrates why this is so in the first part of the book; What Has Government Done to Our Money?
This is an excellent overview of how and why government interferes with the proper use and role of money in society. Nationalization of currency creates unnatural barriers between nations that don't exist where "hard money" (gold) is used. Governments that are too cowardly to tax their citizens the way they would like to, simply steal their money through inflation. They can only inflate at will if they remove the checks on credit pyramiding. We have no practical checks to inflation left in the m ...more
Tanya Hristova
Feb 26, 2016 Tanya Hristova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Why do we consider that money, alone among all commodities, needs to be carefully regulated and controlled by a central government and cannot be left in the invisible hands of the free market? What really is money, how it came to be and what is its price? Can its creation and regulation be entrusted to the free market? How did currencies such as the pound and the dollar cease to mean a certain weight of gold and become the fiat moneys they are today?
Those are just a few of the questions answered
Von Fugal
Jan 12, 2010 Von Fugal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
An excellent case for the gold standard with intelligent rebuttals to the claimed pitfalls of the same. The essay at the end, Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar, is a great short read if you don't have as much time, or if you want to decide whether to read the book, but the book is far more detailed and perhaps even more reader friendly. What is monetary policy? What is even money? Why do even some otherwise free market types yet call for government regulation of money? Is there a place for fr ...more
Apr 21, 2011 Marcus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rothbard is the man. His brutally methodical and rational approach to what money is, and what it should be, make his case for a gold standard seem obvious, despite the majority of economists supporting government controlled, fiat currencies and condescendingly mocking 'goldbugs.'

After reading from various sources on inflation, deflation, the gold standard, the merits and evils of saving (aka hoarding) and the role of government in creating and regulating money I am convinced that this is the boo
M.G. Bianco
May 25, 2009 M.G. Bianco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in monetary policy/economics.
Shelves: economics
Rothbard is ever the genius. This review will not do his book justice.

He promotes a free market monetary system with no government control/meddling. He clearly favors a hard metal currency, and a single currency within a country. I am more of a believer in any currency (metal or no) that the free market determines. Thus, I would be more than happy to see concurrent currencies. However, Rothbard does not really broach that issue, he simply mentions it in passing.

The book is good and finishes with
Apr 07, 2010 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Ever wonder why gold's breaking $900 (Jan 2008), or "if our money isn't based on the gold standard anymore, then what is it based on?"

Wonder why our government has rendered our money increasingly worthless for their own power and self-aggrandizement?

This book is pretty damn good if you want to take the red pill and see why our government is leading us to financial ruin.

As a bonus, you can download a pdf copy or read the html version off of the m
Aziz Albaz
many people believe we can go back to the gold standard and that it would cause more monetary and economic stability which not possible today. this book provides excellent knowledge on money and the revolution of money
its a good read. i'd recommend it to whoever is calling to go back to the gold standard,specifically the last two chapters, and what he said about world war I is an explanation on why it is impossible to go back to a gold standard today.

NOTE: read the last edition because since th
Fred Kohn
May 24, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics
Very disappointing. I had previously read End the Fed and found that to be a truly awful book. I expected that a book by an actual economic professor would be much better. And, yes this book is definitely better. Still, it wasn't a very good defense of the gold standard. The usual narrative by mainstream economists is that the rise of the quantity theory of money is what killed the gold standard. Not only is this not discussed at all in the book, one gets the distinct impression that either Roth ...more
Eric Jensen
'What Has Government Done to Our Money' is considered one of the strongest introductions into monetary theory by many liberty-minded individuals. Rothbard is a literary economist, rather than an academic one, and the unfortunate result is an exploratory work, and not a particularly rigorous one. The only interesting part of this work is a modest exploration of the history of 'money'. Unfortunately, Rothbard skips inductive or deductive methodologies, analysis of monetary data, and any semblance ...more
Christopher Goins
Aug 17, 2014 Christopher Goins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Christopher by: Gary North
Dr. Rothbard left us in 1995, and wrote the first edition of "What Has Government Done to our Money" in 1964, but he is still the clearest voice on economic policy today -- more than David Stockman. In 2014, Jim Grant of "Grant's Interest Rate Observer" may be the only financial journalist that comes close to the pristine prose of Murray Rothbard. I originally read this book four years ago, and it is just as clear this time around. I wish I had his clarity.

This fourth edition, like his previous
Sep 10, 2014 Adna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murray Rothbard was a great writer, and these two essays are no exception. Though the essays are at times repetitive, his arguments are clearly defined, comprehensively argued and in his typical style adorned with various amusing and interesting anecdotes and examples.

Even decades after being first published these essays will still be of interest to those who want a different perspective on banking from the one found in the average newspaper. After reading the essays, it'd be hard to think that,
Jacob Yarrington
An exceptionally educational look at the creation of value, wealth, standard of living and how the theory of exchange that is money interacts with those ideas. Not a political diatribe but a historical panoramic examination of how the entities of government (even from the era of fiefdoms) influenced /polluted the sound principles on which the function of money operates in economic terms. It is a relatively easy "connect the dots" type of exercise for the reader to then derive his/her own observa ...more
Raj Shenoi
For anyone interested in understanding the financial crisis in general, or the concept of "what is money?" in particular, I think this book would be a valuable read.

The author takes the reader from the origins of commerce in barter all the way to the creation of fiat currencies and modern-day central banking. This book is well-written and easy to get through in one sitting.
Jan 19, 2009 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rothbard's writing is top-notch - no one explains economics better. This book makes a great introduction to how money and inflation work, and is a good primer for the major points of monetary history in the last century or so. Highly recommended.
Mar 02, 2016 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
If you've ever wondered how humanity went from a bartered system of trade to one that uses FIAT currency, you should read this book. Eye-opening and seriously scary stuff from Rothbard regarding our system of currency and its evolution.
Margaret Jones
Sep 25, 2009 Margaret Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned that fiat money has lead to our expanded government and will continue to do so. I now believe the dollar is in danger of collapse.
Kym Andrew Robinson
This is another easy to read and informative Rothbard essay. The book covers nicely the Governments creation of problems and its self importance in 'solving' these problems, the destruction of monetary value, inflation and imaginary banking. All known unknowns or unknown knowns depending on how you wish to investigate and understand the alchemy of it all.

A good read for any one who wished to under stand economics, reserve banking and politics in general. Rothbard is always a very inviting read f
Miroslav Krajnak
Money is the lifeblood of economy. Monetary system is the nerve system of it. AND... The rest of the statement depends on whom it is coming from. It is there that the unity stops and grave disaccords among various schools of economics - such as mainstream economics (think Krugman) and that of Austrians (think Rothbard) - begin.

A MAINSTREAM economicst would finish it something like this: "And THAT IS WHY IT MUST BE controlled and regulated by the government." An AUSTRIAN would go on saying: "And
Feb 01, 2013 Manny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for the novice economist, not because of the content but because of the delivery of the subject matter. You will come away with a solid understanding of what money is, how it came to be and remains today, as well as how the government monopolization of it has created many of the financial woes of today. Rothbard is meticulous and relentless is pointing out how a gold standard is "THE" way.

The book is short, in actuality it is a collection of essays from his past. I read the fifth ed
Mike Fox
Oct 03, 2011 Mike Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fantastic look at what real money is, the role of banking in a free society, and as the title implies, what the government has done to our money. In this short book Rothbard explains the origins of money arising from a state of barter, to indirect exchange, and finally with commodity money providing the most efficient method of indirect exchange. He shines a light on the role of banking in a free society which difficult to grasp given the current State managed banking system. In a ...more
Jonas Persson
This was a quick read, and an interesting history of money.

The first part of the book explains how money came about, and how gold (and silver) came to be the most common medium for trade exchange, and also makes a case for how a free market gold standard would work in a fictional (or historic) economy. I liked the historic aspects, but thought the case for a gold standard lacking. There was no mention of the limitations to deal with bubbles (may it be tulips, .com, or real estate), and it was v
Ash Moran
I read this book as one of a list of 5, and I wrote a blog post to summarise it. This review is taken from my blog post An Economics Reading List by Ron Paul, so go there for more. The full list of books is: The Law, Economics in One Lesson, What Has Government Done to Our Money?, The Road to Serfdom and Economics for Real People.

Murry Rothbard’s short text is a three-part book that explains first, what money is; second, how governments have meddled with it; and third, the history of the breakdo
May 14, 2009 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two sections of this book are essentially a review of the history of currency in general, its utility, and how it has been abused by government action. The reminder that currency itself is a commodity in a truly free market is a useful one in our current age of endlessly inflatable fiat currency.

What was most interesting to me though was the last section of the book which covered the history of government's interaction with currency between the Napoleonic wars and the 1980s. It drives
Sep 30, 2014 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been always puzzled by the mechanism by which the monetary system works, how it originated, who control it, and how it ended up so complicated. It all seemed a mysterious,and impenetrable realm, not after I, thankfully, went through this informative book.
Starting by explaining the primordial notion of money in primitive societies, when people used "barter" to interact with each other,up to the contemporary paper form of money or what is known as "fiat money". This book nearly covered eve
Jeff Carpenter
In this excellent little volume Rothbard covers the basics of money and banking theory; the decline of the dollar; he describes central banking, New Deal monetary policy, Nixonian Fiat money, and fixed exchange rates. Once you have read all this and you are thoroughly disgusted with the travesty that has been placed on the people, he explains how to return to a 100% gold standard. This should be read by everyone.
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Murray Newton Rothbard was an influential American historian, natural law theorist and economist of the Austrian School who helped define modern libertarianism. Rothbard took the Austrian School's emphasis on spontaneous order and condemnation of central planning to an individualist anarchist conclusion, which he termed "anarcho-capitalism".

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“In sum, freedom can run a monetary system as superbly as it runs the rest of the economy. Contrary to many writers, there is nothing special about money that requires extensive governmental dictation. Here, too, free men will best and most smoothly supply all their economic wants. For money as for all other activities of man, “liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order.” 2 likes
“Exchange is the lifeblood, not only of our economy, but of civilization itself.” 1 likes
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