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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,793 ratings  ·  156 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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Andrew Skretvedt
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction to money and gold dollar.
Rick Saffery
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Patrick Peterson
6 Oct. 2019 - I have read this book at least a couple times over the last 40 years.
Excellent little book.
It really clearly explains the concept of money and how the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) controls it in the US.

Rothbard has a funky notion about 100% reserve requirement and I believe gets that aspect quite wrong. This is not really a minor problem with this book, but the rest is so good that I still give it 4 stars.

But I urge the thoughtful reader to move on to Mises, in particular the pertin
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
Tanya Tosheva
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
'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
Aziz Albaz
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Snehal Bhagat
Sep 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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?
Feb 14, 2012 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
Christopher Goins
Aug 08, 2014 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
Fred Kohn
May 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
An exposition of the gold standard, and the history of banks in the United States. Just like in his A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Rothbard gives us a very detailed history, sometimes it feel synchronized to be life-paced, of how the world got off the gold-standard.

I honestly enjoyed the first half of the book much more, since it was loaded with economic theory. I will follow up with his The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar.
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Von Fugal
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
M.G. Bianco
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Ryan Watkins
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Great short book about why we should go back to the 100% Gold Standard and the history of how we got off the gold standard. Free ebook version available at
Nathan Albright
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2018
The answer to this question is somewhat obvious.  What has government done to our money?  Screw it up.  And that is precisely the answer gives in this modest book of about 100 pages.  As someone who has thought and even occasionally read about the problem of currencies [1], I do not find the author's arguments in favor of the gold standard particularly persuasive.  That said, I do find the author's comments about the way that government has screwed up monetary policy as effectively as it has scr ...more
Carlos Oliver
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
As someone who knows nothing about economics this was still quite accessible. The beginning was a really nice introduction on the origins of money with examples for every concept. My only complaint is that as the book progressed the concepts started to get out of hand and there were fewer examples to help out. Some extra background reading is probably recommended. Overall I learned quite a bit.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very good, short, easy to read and understand book(s) on money, what it is, what it's used for and some of the problems we currently have regarding it. I liked the history he gave of money and how our government gradually seized control of it via banking and minting. This is a fairly accessible book, I think most people will be able to grasp it. He keeps it pretty basic, which is nice. ...more
G Vivek
May 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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. It was first published 1963, it nicely sums up the backstory of banking. Though many more changes have occurred after the book was written, the crux remains the same.

This is a great introduction to the bubble called "banking". The author discusses Austrian school of economics, explains in a simplest possible way
1. why the gold standard was natural, a great idea,
2. why we (
Omar Diego
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical review of Money and how it has come to what it is, with a final plea to revert to the gold standard. I find it interesting to think about that in relation to the coming cryptocurrencies and how they might fulfill the role once performed by metals.
David Peixoto
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Straightforward to what is relevant. Highly recommended
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
Jonas Persson
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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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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