- Paperback: 888 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (November 1, 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691003548
- ISBN-13: 978-0691003542
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 New Ed Edition
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Writing in the June 1965 issue of theEconomic Journal, Harry G. Johnson begins with a sentence seemingly calibrated to the scale of the book he set himself to review: "The long-awaited monetary history of the United States by Friedman and Schwartz is in every sense of the term a monumental scholarly achievement--monumental in its sheer bulk, monumental in the definitiveness of its treatment of innumerable issues, large and small . . . monumental, above all, in the theoretical and statistical effort and ingenuity that have been brought to bear on the solution of complex and subtle economic issues."
Friedman and Schwartz marshaled massive historical data and sharp analytics to support the claim that monetary policy--steady control of the money supply--matters profoundly in the management of the nation's economy, especially in navigating serious economic fluctuations. In their influential chapter 7, The Great Contraction--which Princeton published in 1965 as a separate paperback--they address the central economic event of the century, the Depression. According to Hugh Rockoff, writing in January 1965: "If Great Depressions could be prevented through timely actions by the monetary authority (or by a monetary rule), as Friedman and Schwartz had contended, then the case for market economies was measurably stronger."
Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000 for work related to A Monetary History as well as to his other Princeton University Press book, A Theory of the Consumption Function (1957).
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Friedman and Schwartz lay out clear, logical arguments to show the importance of monetary policy on the economy, They cover all of the panics and pay substantial attention to the great depression, offering unconventional views with logic demonstrating why the typical views are misguided. They also weave politics into the narrative and demonstrate the significance of not only what the policies are, but who is in charge. They contend the history of the US (and the world) would have been drastically different if Benjamin Strong didn't pass away as early as he did.
The writing is clear and engaging, the passion of the authors shines throughout the entire narrative. While this book would be more preferable to an educated economist, it is still more than worthwhile for anyone interested in the history of America from a unique perspective and the topics covered are still highly relevant today.
Although the book covers the time period between 1857 and 1960, it applies to the situation today to an even greater degree than when it was written in 1963.