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

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The Mises Institute is pleased to present this very beautiful hardbound edition of Rothbard's most famous monetary essay.
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Out of print! Go here: New Edition

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 Gold Dollar" was written a decade before the last vestiges of the gold standard were abolished. His unique plan for making the dollar sound again still holds up. Some people have said: Rothbard tells us what is wrong with money but not what to do about it. Well, by adding this essay, the problem and the answer are united in a comprehensive whole.

After presenting the basics of money and banking theory, he traces the decline of the dollar from the 18th century to the present, and provides lucid critiques of central banking, New Deal monetary policy, Nixonian fiat money, and fixed exchange rates. He also provides a blueprint for a return to a 100 percent reserve gold standard.

The book made huge theoretical advances. He was the first to prove that the government, and only the government, can destroy money on a mass scale, and he showed exactly how they go about this dirty deed. But just as importantly, it is beautifully written. He tells a thrilling story because he loves the subject so much.

The passion that Murray feels for the topic comes through in the prose and transfers to the reader. Readers become excited about the subject, and tell others. Students tell professors. Some, like the great Ron Paul of Texas, have even run for political office after having read it.

Rothbard shows precisely how banks create money out of thin air and how the central bank, backed by government power, allows them to get away with it. He shows how exchange rates and interest rates would work in a true free market. When it comes to describing the end of the gold standard, he is not content to describe the big trends. He names names and ferrets out all the interest groups involved.

Since Rothbard's death, scholars have worked to assess his legacy, and many of them agree that this little book is one of his most important. Though it has sometimes been inauspiciously packaged and is surprisingly short, its argument took huge strides toward explaining that it is impossible to understand public affairs in our time without understanding money and its destruction.

This volume's contents include:

  • Preface by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
  • I. Introduction by Murray Rothbard
  • II. Money in a Free Society
    • 1. The Value of Exchange
    • 2. Barter
    • 3. Indirect Exchange
    • 4. Benefits of Money
    • 5. The Monetary Unit
    • 6. The Shape of Money
    • 7. Private Coinage
    • 8. The Proper Supply of Money
    • 9. The Problem of Hoarding
    • 10. Stabilize the Price Level?
    • 11. Coexisting Moneys
    • 12. Money-Warehouses
    • 13. Summary
  • III. Government Meddling With Money
    • 1. The Revenue of Government
    • 2. The Economic Effects of Inflation
    • 3. Compulsory Monopoly of the Mint
    • 4. Debasement
    • 5. Gresham's Law and Coinage
    • 6. Summary: Government and Coinage
    • 7. Permitting Banks to Refuse Payment
    • 8. Central Banking: Removing the Checks on Inflation
    • 9. Central Banking: Directing the Inflation
    • 10. Going Off the Gold Standard
    • 11. Fiat Money and the Gold Problem
    • 12. Fiat Money and Gresham's Law
    • 13. Government and Money
  • IV. The Monetary Breakdown of the West
    • 1. Phase I: The Classical Gold Standard, 1815-1914
    • 2. Phase II: World War I and After
    • 3. Phase III: The Gold Exchange Standard (Britain and the United States) 1926-1931
    • 4. Phase IV: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, 1931-1945...
    • 5. Phase V: Bretton Woods and the New Gold Exchange Standard (the United States) 1945 1968
    • 6. Phase VI: The Unraveling of Bretton Woods, 1968-1971
    • 7. Phase VII: The End of Bretton Woods: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, August-December, 1971
    • 8. Phase VIII: The Smithsonian Agreement, December 1971-February 1973
    • 9. Phase IX: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, March 1973-?
  • The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar
    • Preface by Murray Rothbard
    • 1. The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar
    • 2. Money and Freedom
    • 3. The Dollar: Independent Name or Unit of Weight?
    • 4. Monopolizing the Mint
    • 5. Encouraging Bank Inflation
    • 6. 100 Percent Gold Banking
    • 7. Objections to 100 Percent Gold
    • 8. Professor Yeager and 100 Percent Gold
    • 9. The 100 Percent Gold Tradition
    • 10. The Road Ahead

Reviews

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(based on 4 reviews)

Showing 4 Reviews:

by Christian
on 10/28/2010
Superb
This is an excelent book and I couldn't recommend it enough. I was amazed about how much Rothbard managed to get into so few pages and in such easily understood wording. Once I finished reading this book I immediately picked up The Mystery of Banking and found this to be an excellent follow on book that answered lots of my questions.
by William
on 9/28/2008
What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Murray N. Rothbard's two essays are a must read for every American who wants to understand why the bailout being proposed by the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in 2008 will not work. Most importantly, Section 4 of What Has Government Done to Our Money? will make American citizens aware of the reasons why central banking was undertaken in the United States and who the real beneficiaries of central banking are. Also read Rothbard's preface to The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar. In the preface, he predicted with 100% accuracy the very kind of bailout that is being proposed today well over a decade ago!
by Kaighn
on 9/25/2008
Excellent Introduction to Money
As part of my journey of learning Austrian Economics, I began with the purchase of this book and "The Case Against the Fed." I am fourteen years old, but Rothbard's writing makes his conclusions obvious. He begins by explaining why money exists, and how it does so in a free society, answering questions about its shape and functions. He proceeds by teaching of the effects of government interference with money, and then concludes with a brief history of the United State monetary history. "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar" also comes included in the book, and it reinforces the teachings of the "What Has Government Done to Our Money," as well as introducing new concepts and envisions his idea of a monetary heaven. Through the course of reading these two essays, I was introduced to many new concepts such as Gresham's Law (and its real meaning), the failure of bimetallism's fixed exchange rates, and how a gold dollar would actually work. I now know what money truly is, and fiat currencies do not fit the bill.
by George F. Smith
on 7/25/2008
What you should know about money
Monetary theory is one of those subjects that (1) appeals to no one, (2) must be understood by everyone, and (3) is in fact roundly misunderstood by most of the so-called monetary experts. What is the basis for this claim? (1) Try talking to your friends about fiat money, commodity money, and fractional serve banking sometime. If they don't tune you out right away it's only because they're your friends. (2) Money, in an advanced society, is involved on at least one side of almost every transaction. Liberty, prosperity, and peace will not be around long if our ideas about money are flawed. (3) That industrialized societies have been subject to economic crises since the inception of the Industrial Revolution suggests that the most influential minds are influencing us in wrong ways. What can you do? Get Rothbard's book and devour it. You'll learn what money is, how it emerged, and how it's been corrupted by government and banking. You'll also understand why central banking is a polite name for central counterfeiting and why an autonomous gold standard is the only monetary system compatible with civilization. Rothbard's book is an easy read and a must-read. Give copies to your friends. Send copies to the Fed. But read it yourself first. He wrote it for you. George Ford Smith author, The Flight of the Barbarous Relic
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ISBN 9780945466444
Binding HC
Page Length 191
Publication Date 2005
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Dimensions 6" x 9"

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