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Rothbard and Menger on Private Money in 'TAC'

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08/29/2013

Writes Brian LaSorsa in The American Conservative, on whiskey and Bitcoins:

It really isn’t until we reach the Misesian ideals of minimal government that we begin to see worthwhile considerations of private currencies. Austrian economist Murray Rothbard explains, “Many people—many economists—usually devoted to the free market stop short at money… . They never think of state control of money as interference in the free market; a free market in money is unthinkable to them… . So it is high time that we turn fundamental attention to the life-blood of our economy.”
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Westerners began to use the whiskey as a medium of exchange, allowing them to trade with and travel to the east more frequently. Everyone from bartenders to surgeons needed alcohol, and its use as an intermediary became custom, verifying Austrian School founder Carl Menger’s analysis of the development of natural currencies: “The exchange of less easily saleable commodities for commodities of greater marketability is in the economic interest of every economizing individual… . Money is not an invention of the state. It is not the product of a legislative act. Even the sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence.”

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Hunter Lewis is author of twelve books, including The Secular Saints: And Why Morals Are Not Just Subjective, Economics in Three Lessons & One Hundred Economic Laws, Where Keynes Went Wrong, and Crony Capitalism in America 2008-2012, and has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times of London, The Atlantic and many other magazines and web sites including Mises.org and LewRockwell.com. Lewis is also co-founder of Against Crony Capitalism.org as well as co-founder and former CEO of Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank.

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