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The Case Against the Fed

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  938 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The most powerful case against the American central bank ever written. This work begins with a mini-treatment of money and banking theory, and then plunges right in with the real history of the Federal Reserve System. Rothbard covers the struggle between competing elites and how they converged with the Fed. Rothbard calls for the abolition of the central bank and a restora ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Ludwig Von Mises Institute (first published 1922)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  938 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, favorites
The Case Against the Fed exposes the Federal Reserve System as the most secretive and fraudulent federal agency that is accountable to nobody where it is not even subject to budgets or audits nor Congressional Oversight. Basically, it has complete immunity from any transgressions because the banks have convinced the government and the public to grant the Federal Reserve full monopolistic and absolute power over the monetary system without any accountability.
The Federal Reserve System engages in
Dave Winter
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the best starting point for anyone who wishes to understand the problems with debt-based central banking. Given the economic turmoil over the past year, I suspect this book would garner more attention, as it should.

Rothbard deftly illustrates the dangers of fractional reserve lending, which is the primary source of a bank's income on its deposits (which it is not allowed to count as revenue). The Federal Reserve rules the roost in the banking world, and sadly it is not a reserve, has nev
Oct 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
The most important thing I learned in this book is that the private ownership of the Federal Reserve is not the most interesting part of its sneakiness. It is the control and power which the Federal Reserve can exert by expanding and contracting credit at will - totally unregulated, that makes it so pernicious. The issuance of high-powered money (money at stage 1 of the inflation process) to the Fed's friends and families makes it terribly powerful.

One more interesting tidbit was the fact that M
John Boettcher
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Besides Ron Paul's similar stance on the issue, there is not many other books out there that present such a full, convincing, and scathing case against the Federal Reserve being the central bank in the U.S. and the undue influence it has over the economy, markets, and the actions people take on a daily basis.

The benevolence of the Fed is quickly laid 6 feet under and you will be caught thinking about the dollars you hold in your hand every time you go to the store. If you are interested in the
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks they are free.
Shelves: 2008
Ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. taxpayers have been hostages to the banking cartel.

This book simply explains how the Feds cause the cycle of boom and busts, and how they profit from it. It explains how inflation and fractional reserve banking works, also to their benifit at the expense of the taxpayer.

In summary the book expains how the Morgans and Rockerfellers have a monopoly on counterfieting the U.S. dollar with the "full faith and credit of the U.S. Government".

Preston Lee
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, finance
Generally considered to be a classic introduction to Austrian economics, I highly recommend The Case Against The Fed as a starting point for those interested in the financial driving factors behind American boom/bust cycles. Note that while you can purchase a more convenient electronic copy of this book for a few dollars--which I recommend doing--you can also download it for free from the Ludwig von Mises Institute at
Voices Of
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Murray Rothbard gives a withering rebuke of the institution that may have more impact on our daily lives than any other in the country.
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
the first half of the book is very pertinent to our current economic situation and the second half exposes the in-bed-ness of industry and central banking.
Neil McGovern
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Paranoid nonsense, but I promised I'd read it to expand my "scope of thinking" - a gold bug's wet dream.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not the most detailed book but it does give novices in monetary economics basic information on how the Federal Reserve and the entire banking system is run on a deck of cards.
Mark Geise
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Murray Rothbard, in customary fashion, destroys the myths surrounding the Federal Reserve in “The Case Against the Fed”. Though this is only about 150 pages long, Rothbard is able to go into detail about the theories surrounding fractional reserve banking and central banking, the specific history of central banking in America, and his plan to abolish the Fed. I think this is a fantastic short work; I only wish it was longer. The only thing keeping this from five stars from me is my disagreement ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Murray Rothbard cuts through the popular dogma our government expects us to sheepishly buy into. Rothbard showcases his ability to present the facts in a way a layperson can understand it in lieu of the technical jargon and higher mathematics of the professional economist. This books covers the creation of money and with it, its subjective value based on acceptance by the masses. He shows a stark comparison of gold and other forms of "money" as it was adopted by other countries and civilizations ...more
Dave Maddock
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
The Mises Institute hosts this book as PDF and audio.

The first half of the book is a great introduction to how fractional reserve banking works and why it sucks.

Unfortunately, the later half is devoted to a dry and biased account of the history of the debate on central banking in the US and its culmination in the creation of the Federal Reserve. In it, the public are stupid, there are no legitimate arguments for central banking, and the tiny subset of pro-fed lobbyists are either rich banking ty
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Libertarians, gold bbugs, Conservatives, Liberals
Recommended to Furbjr by:
I read The Case Against the Fed, as it was selected as Book of the Month for February 2012 by people participating in

I don't really like the Star rating system. The book itself is pretty good, and provides a lot of background on the creation of the FED, the major players, the Morgans vs. the Rockafellers and that sort of thing is quite interesting. Also, the liquidation of the FED that is proposed as a prescriptive action is also quite illuminating.

I disagree with Ro
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
I'm sure this was a very informative, but it was also extremely dry. Even though I haven't read something this boring, since my Palestinian Hamas textbook in my senior polsci research class, I was going to prove I could finish it. I didn't finish it since I have a newborn, and Kim wanted to pick it up. I didn't start reading it until it had been in my house for about a month. I read 3/4 of it in about a week before I ran out of time. It seemed to contradict the documentary, The Money Masters on ...more
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Rothbard presented important ideas linking the Federal Reserves to the movement of our society toward Statism. However, the conspiratorial tone of the book weakened his arguments and furthered the Statist cause against Liberalism

Rothbard successfully showed us the symptoms of the disease but failed in his attempts to prove that the disease was brought forth by the conspiracy of a powerful few. To accept Rothbard's view, one would have to accept that either these powerful few have so deep an und
Jun 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: libertarians and people who think their money is "in" the bank
I mean sure, fractional reserve banking may not seem like a gripping plot line, and in truth it is not. I imagine most people have not even considered What constitutes money? Or what happens to their money when they deposit it at the bank. Certainly, fewer have wondered what is the Fed and what causes inflation.

This book rallies behind the forgotten, hard-money, political ideals of Jefferson and Jackson. These ideals are in strong support of a gold standard and 100% reserve banking.

Banks and es
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
An "embezzler," is defined by Webster's as "one who appropriates fraudulently to one's own use what is entrusted to one's care and management." Our system of fractional reserve banking, whereby bankers create counterfeit deposit receipts without sufficient reserves to back them, is inherently fraudulent. Our government protects the monopoly power of the federal reserve to regulate our money supply and sanctions bank counterfeiting and embezzling, and we are are all so used to the way the system ...more
Samuel Mohr
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Starts out making a great case against fractional reserve banking, then the middle is filled with some dry discussion of the people involved with the politics surrounding the creation of the Federal Reserve. However, after slogging through the middle, some of the names started to become familiar and I was able to start connecting the dots. This book actually has made me curious and I intend to read one of the books cited, "The Triumph of Conservatism," which details the theory that the progressi ...more
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
A friend recommended that I read this book after we had a short discussion about the Federal Reserve. I only understood the Fed from a very general perspective, and with the current financial crisis fresh in mind, I decided to delve into it. This book concludes with a detailed history of how the Federal Reserve was brought to life by those that would most benefit (in a true "fox guarding the henhouse" scenario), and how it has led to a long series of economic boom and bust cycles. However, from ...more
Christopher Goins
Excellent. Murray Rothbard traces the history of the Federal Reserve and details how central banking works. He acknowledges other accounts; but his account may be the most accessible one around.

The political energy that needed to be amassed to create a central bank -- and the U.S. was the last country to adopt a central bank -- began decades beforehand. There were so many actors that had a hand in the creation of it: from J.P. Morgan, various economists, the press, politicians.

Murray also mentio
Chad Nickle
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
It was expalined in such a way that you could understand his point of view then he would come from a blind spot and sideline you with how it look sin regards to money but is not.
I had a hard time reading it though because I saw the principles that are supposed to be followed but are not and I would find myself very upset at our banking institutions.

Again the principle I was very quickly reminded of is to never borrow from the future. However if I do have o borrow money, ensure my credit is backe
Jun 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Economists with a sense of humor/General public for a history lesson of the Fed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
"The Fed wants people to use checks [debit] rather than cash as far as possible, so that it can generate bank credit inflation at a pace that it can control" -- what's this business?

"And then, should any maverick skeptic arise, who ... tries to dig more deeply into the economic motivations at work, he will be quickly and brusquely dismissed as an 'extremist' (whether of Left or Right), a malcontent, and, most damning of all, a 'believer in the conspiracy theory of history'."
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a brilliantly written and easy to understand book for those of us just dipping our toes into the Austrian School of Economics. The FED is the epitome of government mismanagement. Rothbard succinctly summarizes the history and practical application of money as a commodity and shows how the FED and commercial banks destroy its value ever single day. I wish this was required reading in my college economics classes.
A dry read...but interesting for money & banking or economics nerds. Fractional-reserve banking does appear inherently insolvent. However, it has pretty much worked for the past 70 years. The author, from a radically conservative school of economics, has some great points for further thought, particularly the Fed as the primary inflation-creator in our economy, but his suggestion that we return to the gold standard is unrealistic and extreme.
Andrew Blaine
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very good insight on the beginning of the Fed. Many people rant about how bad the Fed is, but Rothbard finally explains how and why the Fed came to be. A must read for any economics student or anyone interested in the field.
J.W. Wexford
Even though the author is against the Fed, he goes over the history of central banking in America, which is very interesting. Easy read too. I like that, an author who doesn't bore you to death with long stories about nothing.
Connor Boyack
Oct 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Such needed wisdom for today's financial atrocities. In short, the American people have permitted legalized counterfeiting, and have permitted a few bankers to gain control of the nation's financial affairs. The Federal Reserve must be abolished immediately.
Aaron Meyer
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
Once you read this and get an understanding of the fractional banking system that we run off of, you will be scared for your money. In fact in light of the banking failures you will see why it happened and wonder why it didn't happen sooner.
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Feds 9 12 May 03, 2012 11:22AM  
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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".