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The Money Illusion

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0548124260
ISBN-10: 0548124264
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (July 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0548124264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0548124260
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,674,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a succinct primer on money and inflation look no further. Irving Fisher (1867-1947) packs a load into 245 pages of "The Money Illusion." Especially helpful are the definitions of "absolute" and "relative" inflation. The two are usually found together, Fisher notes. This has lead to the dropping of the terms "absolute" and "relative" in latter-day discussions of inflation, resulting in much confusion.
Fisher is among the fathers of Monetarism and Neoclassical economics. We may add Supply-Side to the Yale University professor's progeny thanks to his vision of money as an inherently international issue. Fisher's articulation of a world economy lead by a Federal Reserve managing credit and inflation/deflation through the study of price indexes and directing nations adhering to a gold exchange standard sounds a good bit like the Supply-Side idea of using commodity indexes including gold as the major gauge of inflation.
If there are weaknesses in Fisher's teachings they might be classified under "Fed Worship" and "Scientism." The Federal Reserve creates an inflationary bias in the world's monetary system, Fisher rightly says. Consider this (p. 133): "This power (managing credit), rightly used, makes the Federal Reserve System the greatest public service institution in the world." Now consider the reverse of that. Fisher was forced to do so by the Great Depression that began the year after "The Money Illusion" was published. The Jan. 19, 1928 statement by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, which Fisher includes in an appendix of quotations, should be pondered, especially by current-day folk tempted to view the Fed as a fountain of miracles.
Fisher's life and work are examples of how one era's progressives become the conservatives of later ones.
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Format: Paperback
This book represents Fisher's seminal work on money and his recognition as the father of the economic school of Monetarism. In "The Money Illusion" he lays out the nature of money in a modern society and speaks to the false security of gold or any other standard to the "value" of money. He explains clearly the effects of deflation and inflation on currencies and emphasizes the importance of government and their monetary authorities in acting to stabilize their effects through responsible governance of the currency.

Fisher explains and advocates for the integration of the banking system into the Federal Reserve System specifically in the US and generally in all economies. He also recognize that the Fed is already acting as the primary counterbalance on the world economy in 1928 presaging Milton Friedman's critique of the Fed's behavior and incompetence in dealing with the Great Depression.

During the discussion on the gold standard Fisher while not rejecting it does illustrate that it will not provide stability and actually will become a limit as the economy outgrows the physical quantities available on the planet. If the currency is to have a gold basis then he advocates that production of gold should be as strongly regulated as the production of currency by governments and not be left in the hands of individuals or corporations.

The work clearly is the culmination of his early career as a neoclassical economist and lays the foundation for both Monetarism and his future work on debt deflation theory. It is a critical read for both neoclassical and heterodox followers of economics.
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Format: Paperback
The money illusion, AKA inflation and currency deflation, has been explained extremely well in this book but it's simply not the most interesting topic that Fisher has written about. He seemed to have to find too many examples to defend his case but it wasn't really necessary. He is a master of writing and explaining these complicated subject matters. This book simply isn't one of my favs of Fisher but it's a short book and the beginning of the book is the most valuable. In summary, well worth your time reading this very good book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This item does a good job in explaining how the purchasing power of money when tied with the US dollar gives us a false perception about the supremacy of the currency back in the early 1900's (before and after WW1). This also ocurred with other European currencies back then. The book goes on to explain alternatives-- in different units of measurements-- that could have been used by the population as a whole to avoid this 'mirage'. The use of an index, suggests the book, would also assist the reader in getting a clear understanding about how the purchasing power of any currency vary as economic circumstances in any given country change.
For anyone just getting inmersed in economic theory the book explains very clearly in lay terms how to make sense of general price changes in the economy and how this affects the purchasing power of any given currency. Elementary principles of what causes price changes back then are still valid today and so the book is a good source of knowledge in explaining this phenomenon. Alternatives available to the investor are suggested as to where to invest his/her money to minimize the erosion in purchasing power.
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The Money Illusion
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