Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

William Graham Sumner: Monetary Theorist

The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics


Volume 8, No. 2 (Summer 2005)


Sumner was the product of an indigenous American hard-money tradition that embraced free markets, free trade, and sound banking—a tradition that has much in common with the Austrian School in its theoretical and political orientation. His understanding of economic theory came from his reading of classical economists and the works of American theorist Condy Raguet, and his political convictions from his study of the American monetary experience, particularly the errors of the Hamiltonians. With these influences and his own hard-money views, Sumner arrived at positions on money, banking, and business cycles, economic policy that can be described as proto-Austrian in many ways. In particular, he saw credit-fueled booms as inherently unsustainable because they give rise to “fictitious capital” as versus real wealth.


Trask, Scott H.A. “William Graham Sumner: Monetary Theorist.” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 8, No. 2 (Summer 2005): 35–54.


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