Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ethics of Money Production (Jorg Guido Hulsmann)

From the Mises Institute:

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by Jorg Guido Hulsmann: The Ethics of Money Production.

This pioneering work, in hardback, by Jorg Guido Hulsmann, professor of economics at the University of Angers in France and the author of Mises: The Last knight of Liberalism, is the first full study of a critically important issue today: the ethics of money production.

He is speaking not in the colloquial sense of the phrase "making money," but rather the actual production of money as a commodity in the whole economic life. The choice of the money we use in exchange is not something that needs to be established and fixed by government.

In fact, his thesis is that a government monopoly on money production and management has no ethical or economic grounding at all. Legal tender laws, bailout guarantees, tax-backed deposit insurance, and the entire apparatus that sustains national monetary systems, has been wholly unjustified. Money, he argues, should be a privately produced good like any other, such as clothing or food.

In arguing this way, he is disputing centuries of assumptions about money for which an argument is rarely offered. People just assume that government or central banks operating under government control should manage money. Hulsmann explores monetary thought from the ancient world through the middle ages to modern times to show that the monopolists are wrong. There is a strong case in both economic and ethical terms for the idea that money production should be wholly private.

He takes on the "stabilization" advocates to show that government management doesn't lead to stability but to inflation and instability. He goes further to argue against even the theoretical case for stabilization, to say that money's value should be governed by the market, and that that the costs associated with private production are actually an advantage. He chronicles the decline of money once nationalized, from legally sanctioned counterfeiting to the creation of paper money all the way to hyperinflation.

In his normative analysis, the author depends heavily on the monetary writings of 14th century Bishop Nicole Oresme, whose monetary writings have been overlooked even by historians of economic thought. He makes a strong case that "paper money has never been introduced through voluntary cooperation. In all known cases it has been introduced through coercion and compulsion, sometimes with the threat of the death penalty. ... Paper money by its very nature involves the violation of property rights through monopoly and legal-tender privileges."

Here is the full book in digital form [PDF].

(Or go to the blog post to read the book in a scrollable Flash file, or here to buy the beautiful hardback)

2 comments:

viagra online said...

Jorge Guido Realiz├│ un excelente trabajo con este libro, a pesar de ser ser un viejo amargardo, testarudo y senil. Este es el ├║nico trabajo de el que vale la pena.

Buy Viagra Online said...

The books you mention say quite different things…
Mises didn’t claim that creation of money by debt based methods was immoral or that money should be a bailment. He also didn’t claim that banks couldn’t cope with redeeming fiduciary, on that he took exactly the opposite position to Rothbard. He didn’t believe that deflation was somehow safe and wouldn’t cause a real fall in output and employment.