Vinh Nguyen's Reviews > The Mystery of Banking

The Mystery of Banking by Murray N. Rothbard
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Apr 24, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: currently-reading

I'm going to copy a review of this book from my original article at http://blogmyway.com/bookreviews/2011....

“The Mystery of Banking” by Murray N. Rothbard inclines toward the idealism of free banking, and it insists that fractional reserve banking system is the force behind perpetual boom and bust cycle of inflationary economies where banks are likely to find themselves in bankruptcy and requiring bailouts from central banks, in our case it would be the Federal Reserve. Whether you and I even care or want to believe in a free banking system, this book is still a great read for us since it’s so good at explaining the inner workings of our modern fractional reserve banking system. To clarify if you misread, free banking isn’t the same as fractional reserve banking, and this book supports the ideal of free banking system. I surmise even a person who has the most naive perspectives on economy and banking in general will be able to eventually understand fully of the important roles of the FED, the fractional reserve banking system, the money supply, the demand and supply of the money supply, the inflation and deflation, loan and depositing banking, and open market operations; by then this person probably has the idea why the media and so many other entities pay close attention to what the FED will do next.

Going beyond the technical side of things, this book also delves into history of how central banks got started. It also refers several times about how paper money got started such as it was started very early in China. The book isn’t too hard to read in general, and mostly in words rather than math. If I’m correct, this book was written 25 years ago, but through the efforts of Lew Rockwell and the staff of Ludwig Von Mises Institute that this book is revived in this modern form. I have no idea how extensive the modification had carried out from the original work to arrive at this modern version, but everything in “The Mystery of Banking” is rather surprisingly very relevant, especially for the people who think fractional reserve banking system is to be blamed for recent waves of bankruptcies of reputable commercial and investment banks. This book is great for proponents of gold standard, but like I say the people who aren’t fond of free banking can still appreciate this masterpiece since it’s truly vivid in describing the fractional reserve banking system. By the time I had finished the first half of the book, I was able to know how fractional reserve banking system works its magic; the last half of the book concentrates on the history of the central banks and delivering the conclusion (i.e., how to return to sound money).
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