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The Ethics of Money Production Hardcover – August 11, 2008
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About the Author
radical and ethically challenging case for the complete separation of money and state, and a case for the privatization of money production. It is a sweeping and learned treatise that is rigorous, scholarly, and radical.
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I can personally attest that this book has been of enormous benefit to many people without any formal background in economics. Hulsmann's intellectual ambition is admirable (he even ticks off where appropriate Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises, two giants of "Austrian" monetary theory), but there is nothing in the book that an educated and intelligent layman, so to speak, can't understand. Indeed, once you read this book you will be much closer to being able to withstand the barrage of (essentially meaningless) statistics and deliberately obfuscatory terms Keynesians and Monetarists adduce in favour of our barmy and profoundly anti-capitalist monetary system, using the old fashioned weapons of closely reasoned, logical argument.
The only quibble I have with this book are Hulsmann's sometimes rather strained attempts to demonstrate that his analysis is in accordance with authorised Roman Cathoic social teaching. He makes cogent points even here, demonstrating that many papal Bulls that appear anti-capitalist apply more to a system of government-sponsored pseudo capitalism than the real thing, but he fails to adequately disguise the extent to which they positively endorsed even worse statist and corporatist forms of economic organisation. Since I'm not a Roman Catholic, or any type of Christian, and am perfectly comfortable with saying that some of what the RC church teaches about economics is simply wrong, I'd prefer the book to leave out these bits and make a more general moral and (where applicable) Christian case for a free market in money.
However, most current economists as well as all governments and central bankers are Keynesians today. Theefore hoping to see Austrian economics put in practice any time soon is, honestly speaking, pie-in-the-sky. One exception may be Mrs. Merkel and the Bundesbank portion of the ECB but it is hard to imagine how they could buck the rest of the global establishment. I am not too clear about the thinking in China where surprisingly lively debates are taking place on all kinds of economic and monetary subjects. But I never heard of Mr. Hu espousing Austrian concepts... Well, stranger things have happened.
Despite benign and sometimes vicious neglect (see Paul Krugman), Austrian principles exist and, at least as far as I can see, they do impact significantly the development of what happens in the world, whether anybody is aware of them or not; sort of like the laws of physics, much as I hate to apply physical phenomena parallels to human action.
Therefore, as a practitian in finance, what I missed in this book is a chapter evaluating what will, or at least is likely to really happen in the economy (and in the markets if that's not too much to ask), when Keynesianism is employed in an environment where Austrian rules apply.
Did Mr. Hulsmann address this question in some other publication? Is it impossible to divine any reasonable answer since the human psyche can go in any and all directions in a random manner? Are we heading for some large catastrophic event, just as WW II followed a similar situation after the Big Depression? Something else, similar or comparable to a war may be?
I have been thinking for a while of an impending complete paradigm change, but will develop that idea only if anyone expressed any interest in reading about it.
Many thanks for a wonderfully written book.