Susan's Reviews > End the Fed

End the Fed by Ron Paul
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Aug 20, 2012

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Read from August 20 to 23, 2012

Paul is an advocate of a return to commodity-based money (gold standard) as opposed to the fiat currency (backed only by our national reputation and credit rating) we use today.

He argues well on behalf of his position, but I'm finding myself researching why we gave up the gold standard to begin with, and it, too, offers substantial risks. I'm wondering why no one has advocated a both/and approach that allows both the percentage of gold backing and the interest rate to fluctuate. This might prove the cure for rampant inflation Paul seeks, while also guarding against the risk of our gold being looted in a trade war.

In the last analysis, this book is only as much as it claims to be: a one-sided argument in favor of commodity money and an end to central banks. Readers like me with only a slight grasp of economic theory are left wondering just how it is that money supply fluctuates and other such basic questions. This will send me off in search of a different book.

More interesting, perhaps, are Paul's arguments against socialism, which to me seem thin at best. He believes that citizens of socialist countries are encouraged to be irresponsible because they have a "safety net". But you could just as easily say that our own citizens don't really care what damage their behavior inflicts on society because they are conditioned to believe in individual responsibility only. Yet we're not in a vacuum; we live in a society and therefore affect those around us.

Likewise, Paul at a minimum implies that socialist countries offer their citizens less freedom. I believe that countries with freely-elected governments are free countries regardless of their economic preferences. Authoritarian countries are not free. It's pretty easy to tell the difference. When Paul implies that Europe is somehow less free than the US, he weakens his own position.

If you're interested in Ron Paul's philosophy or in economics, this book is an interesting quick read.
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