Sunday, December 9, 2012
Book Review: What Has Government Done to Our Money?
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In the United States we currently have a stated policy by the Federal Reserve to create higher levels of inflation while artificially lowering interest rates. This is a policy devastating to savers and those attempting to live off of the proceeds of their capital. How did we arrive at the point where a government created agency can arbitrarily opt to destroy the value of people’s savings?
Murray Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money? lays out the step by step process by which the commodity based monies of the free market are slowly and deliberately usurped by governments and their central banks. The end result of this control is the ability of government to take purchasing power from the savings of its citizens through inflation.
Understanding money and its creation are essential to understanding how inflation originates. Rothbard assumes no prior knowledge of the subject and begins with first principles to derive what money is and how it is used in a free market. He then covers the manipulations used by government to wrestle control of money away from the free market. Finally he finishes with a two hundred year history of money and currencies in the Western world. It is through this history he demonstrates how government abuse has resulted in a series of breakdowns of the dollar with respect to gold that have inevitably led to our current global monetary crisis.
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We have allowed the politicians and bureaucrats to inflate the paper currency and silently steal from everyone — rich and poor alike — their wealth. For the poor, it’s the value of their labor. For the rich, it’s the value of their savings.