>> 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?
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.
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
- 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
- Can we have a free market in money
as well as in other goods and services?
- What would be the shape of such a
- What are the effects of various
The whole book will rely on a few assumptions
that Rothbard makes in this opening chapter which are that people interested in
- favor the free market
- wish to eliminate government
invasion of person and property