A Treatise on Currency and Banking
This remarkable hard-money treatise appeared in 1840. It is by Condy Raguet (1784-1842), a noted Pennsylvania politician and economist who worked as a merchant in several Latin American countries. He was wholly dedicated to free trade, the free market, and especially to sound money and banking. He documents how bank inflation causes booms and busts and articulates, with remarkable prescience, how those cycles in which government does nothing come and go, while those in which government tries to help last and last. His book is a great narrative to read in light of the current cycle of boom and bust.
He clearly distinguishes between sound and unsound banking practices, delineated based on their redemption practices. He shows that there is a big difference between good credit based on savings and bad credit based on monetary expansion. He clarifies the role that credit plays in the cause of economic growth: praiseworthy when extended based on good judgment but dangerous when extended with guarantees and recklessness.
Raguet has been celebrated by the American hard-money school as a great theorist and part of a group of thinkers who warned against the national bank and other schemes to guarantee the monetary system against failure. This book makes for a wonderful read as a text on banking and a look back to the best of 19th century American economic thought.
This book is a reprint of the second edition from 1840.
Augustus M. Kelley, New York, 1967