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Organization of Debt into Currency and Other Papers

  • Organization of Debt Into Currency by Carroll
March 28, 2006

Tags Money and BanksU.S. HistoryMoney and Banking

Charles Holt Carroll defended sound money in a blazing series of essays appearing in the latter decades of the 19th century. They are all collected here, in The Organization of Debt into Currency and Other Papers.

Little is known of Charles Holt Carroll (1799–1890). Only a shadowy figure of a man emerges. One would like to know more about this merchant who wrote so vigorously on the currency question.

What we do know is his devotion to hard money and his unwavering rejection of fractional-reserve banking in all its forms. As Murray Rothbard points out in his history of economic thought, "A staunch adherent of free trade and laissez-faire, Carroll … was the last Jacksonian, continuing to argue the ultra-hard money cause long past the tremendous setback it received during the Civil War."

Carroll's essays serve as a decisive critique of paper money, credit expansion, and dishonest banking practices.

Carroll advanced several brilliant arguments against the system of "fictitious money": that it is based on a confusion in thinking; that it creates a state of permanent indebtedness; that it leads to national impoverishment rather than prosperity; that it results in price inflation; and that it inevitably leads to bank runs and then to systemic banking crises; and that it unjustly redistributes wealth from the honest and industrious to bankers and their accomplices.

This edition is the first to be available in a very long time. We still have much to learn from this mysterious champion hard money.

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References

Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1964