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Money, Monopoly, and Market Intervention

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Tags EducationInterventionismMoney and BankingMonopoly and Competition

09/22/2011Robert P. Murphy

I've enjoyed teaching all of my online Mises Academy classes, but I have never been more excited than I am to teach the upcoming class Money, Monopoly, and Market Intervention. This course covers the final three chapters in Murray Rothbard's classic treatise Man, Economy, and State. It is hands-down the most "fun" section of Rothbard's book, and I know fans of the Austrian School will love walking through his brilliant analysis step by step.

The Scope of the Course

The course runs for eight weeks, from October 5 through November 23. As usual, the price is a very reasonable $145. We will move methodically through the last three chapters of Rothbard's treatise. Although this covers some 400 pages, I promise that Austrian students will love every section.

Ideally students will read his text in the original, but those who are able to make only a smaller time commitment can still benefit from the course if they rely on my (much shorter) study guide instead. Students who took my earlier classes, covering the earlier sections of the book, will obviously fit right into this class, but the prior classes are not prerequisites. Much of the material in the final three chapters consists of stand-alone critiques of mainstream concepts and techniques, and even those portions that do rely on a basic knowledge of economics should not prove difficult for the typical reader of Mises.org.

As the title of the class suggests, in Money, Monopoly, and Market Intervention, I will spell out Rothbard's contributions in these major areas. I encourage interested readers to click on the nearby thumbnail to see the full syllabus — just look at how much Rothbard packs into these three chapters!

For example, in chapter 10 Rothbard offers a thorough critique of the notion of "consumer sovereignty" and its implicit attack on the free market. In chapter 11 he offers what I consider to be the most succinct refutation of Keynesian analysis ever penned. In chapter 12, Rothbard presents a clear statement of Austrian business-cycle theory, providing the reader with a comprehensive analysis of fractional-reserve banking along the way.

Yet Rothbard does more than merely synthesize or critique the work of others. In these final three chapters of his classic treatise, Rothbard provides genuine contributions to pure economic theory. For example, while defending the free-market outcome from charges of "monopoly," Rothbard offers new insights into the nature of competition and the market process. He also interprets Mises's famous calculation argument against socialism as a more general problem plaguing any organization (whether private or state) that becomes so big that it mutes price signals. Furthermore, Rothbard provides a novel typology of government intervention, allowing for a systematic classification and analysis.

Anyone who takes the time to work through the final three chapters of Man, Economy, and State will realize the amazing breadth and depth of Rothbard's knowledge of economics. Naturally, Rothbard's breezy style makes you forget how "dry" the material ought to be and instead gets you thinking that criticizing mainstream cost curves is just plain fun.

Structure of the Course

In a typical week of the course, I will give a live video broadcast on Wednesday from 6:00–7:30 p.m. EDT. I will spend the first 75 minutes lecturing on that week's material, and then I will field questions from students for the remaining time. In addition, on Saturday I will have "office hours" (the times varying from week to week to cater to different students), meaning that I will be available on a live video broadcast to answer questions from any students who tune in.

Note that the Saturday sessions are purely for the students' convenience, and are not mandatory. Also, all broadcasts will be recorded and available to enrolled students, so that people who have a scheduling conflict can still take the class if they wish.

If a student wishes, he or she can simply "audit" the class. This is a popular option for many adults who take my online classes, because they have a busy work schedule and can watch my lectures but can't keep up with the reading.

However, students may also take the class for a grade. These students will take a multiple-choice quiz each week, in addition to a final exam. Although the Mises Institute is not accredited, we will present certificates of completion and a formal grade at the end of the class to those students who desire it.


Anyone who has read Murray Rothbard knows that he is a wonderful writer with a thorough command of alternative economic frameworks. In Money, Monopoly, and Market Intervention, fans of the Austrian School will see Rothbard at his finest — skewering opponents, defending liberty, and teaching economic science. I hope you can join us for the ride.

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