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Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History
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Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  442 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Friedman makes clear once and for all that no one is immune from monetary economics-that is, from the effects of its theory and its practices. He demonstrates through historical events the mischief that can result from misunderstanding the monetary system. Index.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 31st 1994 by Mariner Books (first published 1992)
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May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Money Mischief clarifies the significance of monetary economics, for immunization from the impact is unattainable. The book chronicles historical episodes into the mystical phenomena known as money that discusses the creation of value in money, the importance of monetary history and the cause of inflation. The present monetary system affects all spending and savings in the United States of America as well as the globe where it attempts to manipulate money and credit rather than obey sound moneta ...more
Jeff Isenor
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Friedman is excellent at condescending to the level of people who don't have a PHD in economics. It gives a much clearer understanding of what money actually is. I will never look at money in the same way again.
R.K. Byers
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
the analogies didn't start getting good until the very end.
Teyanna Munyan
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Good book. Learned about the gold&silver standard in the US and learned a bit more about inflation & money. The island of Yap with their stone money was interesting and the helicopter inflation analogy was good. I wish it had an epilogue by another author that ties in the last 20 years to the book, so it wasn't so outdated (well I guess a second epilogue since it already has a short one by Milton Friedman). I thought he might have been a tad too harsh on central bankers.
Quotes I liked fr
Timothy Taylor
Nov 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review is for the Audiobook version.

I did not much enjoy Money Mischief. This was largely due to the audiobook format. This format does not suit this book at all. There is a large amount of technical discussion about economics including ratios and formulas that is just hard to follow in an audiobook format, despite one whole chapter being omitted specifically because it would be too technical for narration. I think the material would have been much easier to digest if there was time to rer
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
So many years after the original publication date, you would think that this book might not be very interesting before you begin. But trust me, you will be surprised to see how Milton Friedman will keep you hooked on until the last chapter.

There are so many good things in this book. Starting with the concept of stone money on the island of yap, to an analogy of throwing cash into a community from a Helicopter, to the story of Gold and Silver (and Bi-Metallic) Standards and the Coinage act of 187
Jesse Schexnayder
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Milton Friedman's account of monetary history in the pre-Industrial to Modern Western world is quite timely in today's fiscal environment. With nation level bailouts becoming all too commonplace in the EU (Greece, Spain, and now Ireland) and the US dollar on the ropes (quantitative easement leading to it being dropped as the world's standard currency) it seems Friedman's predictions regarding the unquenchable desire of modern politicians to fund their political careers through the debasement (i. ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Marvelous fun and very illuminating.

Friedman starts out with a South Pacific island whose idea of money is gigantic immobile rocks you keep in your backyard, and then goes on, after a nice explanation of inflation (that I'd not gotten before, but was fairly detailed on a toy example involving a helicopter dropping cash) to a fairly detailed discussion of the whole bimetallic vs gold standard debate that raged through world politics in the 19th century.

I didn't know that the Industrial Revoluti
Jul 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People intersted in Economics
Milton Freidman is a great read. "Money is much too important a matter to be left to central bankers" neatly sums up his perspective on the necessary role government must play in shaping monetary policy. This book explains the symbolic properties (or "myth") of money, touches on the history of the gold and silver standard in the US and abroad, and focuses narrowly on a retrospective analysis of whether US monetary policy made the right decisions with regard to the precious metals and money. Foll ...more
José Joaquín Fernández
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
La historia de la Isla de Uap (o Yap) donde usaban piedras como dinero es impresionante y como eso se asemeja a la civilización occidental donde se usa papel como dinero.

En otro capítulo, Friedman argumenta como la política intervencionista del expresidente de los EE.UU., Franlin Delano Roosevelt, con el fin de elevar el precio de la plata, que empezó en 1933, contribuyó al triunfo del comunismo en China. “… the silver purchase program contributed to the ultimate triumph of communism in China”.
Nov 07, 2009 rated it liked it
This was tough going. Since I don't have an economics background, the detailed explanation of bi-metalism and national economic policy was very difficult for me. The last few chapters on the causes of inflation were quite enlightening. Surprisingly, Friedman uses a quote from John Maynard Keynes, who advised FDR during the Great Depression as a chapter heading: "There is no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden f ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Substantial inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. To produce continuing inflation, one requires a printing press on which one can turn out those pieces of paper that we call money. Thus it is folly to blame inflation on anyone but the government.

A metallic standard (gold, silver, or bi-metallic) necessarily introduces volatility to price levels and leads to an inefficient allocation of resources, but it also disciplines the government's printing presses.

The Nobel Prize winner
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Milton Friedman covers a number of interesting episodes of monetary history in this book. The episode about the bimetallic money system the U.S. had until the 1870s is really fascinating. Also the discussion of inflation and the incentive the government may have to use inflation to finance spending is very relevant to our current day problems of growing national debt and federal budget deficit. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about money and its history.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Despite Friedman's wit and clarity, this is difficult material to work through. More so when he takes an entire chapter to work through the extended math of several of his asumptions. I recommend everyone who has any interest in economics to read the first and 8th chapters. The first explains that money is merely a medium of exchange, and clarifies why fiat money is fully valid. Chapter 8 covers inflation, and dispells many myths that still get involked 25 years later.
James Koppen
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't actually finish this book, but I'm done for now. The first chapters kept my attention but once he began to explain an alternate financial history - as in what he thinks would have happened, hypothetically, had a certain monetary policy been effected in the late 1800s - with graphs and tables I stopped reading.
Terry Koressel
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am sure this is an excellent book....I am a huge fan of Milton Friedman. However, I am sad to say that the intricate and detailed economics in Money Mischief were over my some parts, way over my head. It is one of the very few books I did not finish. I would not recommend the book unless you have a mind or training to understand complex economics (particularly monetary theory).
Void lon iXaarii
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Very cool stuff. I particularly liked the hypothetical money from the helicopter reasoning flow mental exercises and I of course adored the stone money real situation and the parallel to the France-US incident.
Joe Vander Zanden
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Admittedly I'm a little biased here as Milton Friedman is one of my intellectual heroes and favorite economists. With that said, this is a fantastic tour of both monetary theory and history. It is drafted for a general audience and I'd recommend it to anyone interested macroeconomics.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Superb non-technical examples of just how much "money matters". Fun reading for economic history types as well as people interested in monetary economics. Leftists may enjoy a good exposition of the monetary policies of 19th century American populists (including William Jennings Bryan).
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it

A short introduction to monetary history and the causes of inflation.

Stephen Frank
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A must read for investors interested in understanding the possible consequences of quantitative easing.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
A very smart man who works very hard to convince you that he’s not actually making dumb assumptions (which he is). Not to be confused with his “Monkey Mischief!” series for kids.
A. Tebbs
Nov 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a bit technical at times, but he explains why hard currency is so necessary. I greatly admire this man and I love how he exposes fraud
Bill Duhamel
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fun read. But lightweight.
Aug 19, 2011 added it
Slow going, not my typical book. Good content though...I gave up half way through.
Chris Fellows
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
No matter how many things I read, I am still surprised from time to time to find vast swathes of human knowledge of which I am totally ignorant. Now I understand bimetallism! Huzzah!
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent real life studies in economics. Some very compelling ideas and thought provoking on humanity, money, power and freedom.
Anton Hammarstedt
The rating is less indicative of the quality of the writing or the quality of Friedman's arguments and more indicative of the fact that no matter what I do, I can't seem to bring myself to give even a modicum of shit about monetary policy. I think the theory is interesting (and I think we did too little of it in school), but whenever someone starts talking about how Bank of [Nation] did Z instead of Y in 19XX and therefore something or other happened, my eyes just glaze over.
J. King
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2009
rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2011
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  • A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II
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Milton Friedman was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual. He made major contributions to the fields of economics and statistics. In 1976, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy. He was an advocate of economic freed ...more
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“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” 3 likes
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