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What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar
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What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  1,172 ratings  ·  65 reviews
The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay--the one that has influenced two generations of economists, investors, and business professionals. The Mises Institute has united this book with its natural complement: a detailed reform proposal for a 100 percent gold dollar. The Case for a 100 Percent ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published September 20th 2005 by Ludwig von Mises Institute (first published 1963)
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Economics in One Lesson by Henry HazlittHuman Action by Ludwig von MisesThe Law by Frédéric BastiatMeltdown by Thomas E. Woods Jr.Man, Economy, and State by Murray N. Rothbard
The Austrian School of Economics
18th out of 77 books — 80 voters
Economics in One Lesson by Henry HazlittThe Orphan Conspiracies by James MorcanHuman Action by Ludwig von MisesLiberty Defined by Ron PaulThe Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard
Books for Libertarians
15th out of 39 books — 18 voters

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Community Reviews

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Rick Saffery
Jun 26, 2008 Rick Saffery rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Snehal Bhagat
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
Von Fugal
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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

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
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
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
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
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.
Margaret Jones
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
For anyone interested in broad money issues, and an accurate assessment of why our economy is destined to sputter in its current form, this is an indispensable read. Dealing with the 1933 prohibition of US citizens' owning of gold and its consequences, through the Bretton Woods era and on through the 70s when it was written, Rothbard accurately predicted the rise of the Euro. A lucid discussion of why the current fiat money system is a failure and why the gold standard is the best choice for a t ...more
Thomas Mirus
This may have been my introduction to Rothbard, and it was, along with Mises's "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth," a real eye-opener for me early on in my economic education. Not only did I learn a great deal about both the theory and history of currency and inflation, but this book made me aware for the first time that there were serious moral issues involved in monetary policy. Aside from that, writing in economics doesn't get much better than this. Rothbard was at his best h ...more
Swagato Barman Roy
A must read for anyone wishing gain some insight into the Austrian school of economics and the present economic turmoil. This is one of the first books to ignite my passion for the Austrian theory of money and along with that, the libertarian philosophy.
Sep 13, 2008 Zinger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
This is an amazingly simple and clear book that would get anyone up to speed on what is money and the basics of how it works. What was new to me, was the argument that coinage of money should be privatized and get rid of government monopolies of coining money.

His argument against those who think privatizing the coinage of money would result in chaos and scams of every kind was to point to precision machine shops. They work with precise amounts of metal and offer very good quality and exact produ
What Has Government Done to Our Money details the history of money, from early barter systems, to the gold standard, to present-day systems of paper money. Rothbard explains how money was originally developed, and why gold was chosen as the preferred commodity to use as money. The author also explains how the gold standard makes money a commodity, and how market forces create a stable economy. Rothbard shows that many European governments went bankrupt due to World War I and left the gold standa ...more
Jacob Aitken
Rothbard argues that federal tampering with money depreciates the value of the dollar, thus increasing inflation. More money in the economy is not necessarily good. If I increase the money supply by 10%, then people have more money to spend on goods. However, in order to make a profit (or not go broke), the entrepreneur must increase his prices by 10%, so we are back at square one.

But it is more sinister than that. The FED, by means of controlling central bank, can create wealth ex nihilo, sort
Excellent book on how governments wield enormous power over our lives through the control of money. Must read.
TJ Wisner
In this great read Rothard goes further than even Mises in advocating 100% free banking. Rothbard destroyed the "Friedmanites by asking them the question: If you don't trust the government in the market, why would you trust them to with something as important as the country's monetary system? Sound money and banking is probably the paramount issue that separates the Austrians from the Keynesians and Friedmanites. This book is a good start in getting some basics in the Austrian school.
I read this a few years ago, and it has had a tremendous impact on my position-forming since.

Rothbard's historical inclusions are fascinating; in its short length, this book provides a background knowledge to the basic concept of money, how civilizations (and states) have used (and abused) that concept and specific information on how "Western" states have sucked the beautiful, helpful, essential-to-prosperity notions from their subjects' ideas of "money."
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quote:

"Government has, step by step, invaded the free market and seized complete control over the monetary system...Each new control...has begotten new and further controls...Governments are inherently inflationary, since inflation is a tempting means of acquiring revenue for the State and its favored groups...Coercion, in money as in other matters, brings, not order, but conflict and chaos."

-Murray Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?
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Murray Newton Rothbard was an influential American historian, natural law theorist, Aristotelian 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".

Source: Wikipedia
More about Murray N. Rothbard...
For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto The Ethics of Liberty The Case Against the Fed Anatomy of the State America's Great Depression

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