What Has Government Done To Our Money – Notes – Part 1

>> January 29, 2020

>> Blog Post #20

My little pizza experiment from the other night, and recent discussions I’ve had with an adolescent who was asking questions relative to his economics high school homework have made me want to write a few words about a book that I find extremely helpful in understanding what money is.

Why? Because I had the impression when I first read Murray Rothbard’s “What Has Government Done To Our Money” that I was actually learning how to better understand what money is.

Money is one of those terms that never seem to need to be defined in conversations between people. Most people use money every day and have done so for centuries. However, I bet you would be incredibly surprised by the answers you would get to very specific, yet basic questions about money, were you to ask people randomly in the street:

  • Where does it come from?
  • Who makes it?
  • Who owns it?
  • How is it created?
  • Etc.

Money is something that is not taught well. It actually is something that is not considered as a topic that should be learned. And this is where Rothbard comes in. He took the time to study what money is, what it should be and describes it in the simplest, most legible way I have ever seen personally.

This is a MUST-READ book, for everyone.

I have therefore decided to write some notes about it if you are interested in seeing what it is all about and in preparation for the reading that I will do to my kids when I think they will be ready for it. Reading the notes does not make reading the book optional, the notes are, the book most definitely not. You can get it for free from the Mises Institute.

The notes will be written over several blog posts. Here are the notes on chapter 1.

Chapter 1

Money is probably the most tangled economic problem there is while also being one where people would benefit from gaining more perspective about it.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the fact that people tend to focus on the daily and practical aspects of money instead of asking themselves some very basic questions that might offer them more perspective on the topic.

Some factors making the study of money necessary:

  • the world is extremely complex, and the economy relies heavily on inter-relations
  • over time, there has been a slow drift from firm economic principles
  • the entanglement of the state in money has been important historically
  • many proponents of the free market have stopped short of exploring how money could be established by the free market and not the state

For those reasons, Rothbard says that “It is high time we focus on the lifeblood of the economy: money.” The author proposes to explore the following questions in his book:

  • Can money be organized under the freedom principle?
  • Can we have a free market in money as well as in other goods and services?
  • What would be the shape of such a market?
  • What are the effects of various government controls?

The whole book will rely on a few assumptions that Rothbard makes in this opening chapter which are that people interested in it:

  • favor the free market
  • wish to eliminate government invasion of person and property

Happy reading!

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