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The Theory of Money and Credit Paperback – June 9, 2010
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Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was a preeminent philosopher and economist during the twentieth century. He shared an intellectual friendship with literary giant Ayn Rand, and his theorems and philosophies have continued to influence the careers and ideas of politicians and economists alike.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is probably best known as the volume which first set out the distinctive Austrian theory of the trade cycle. For that alone, it deserves a place on the bookshelf of everyone who cares about such things (and more people should).
But there's much more to it than that. This volume sets out a complete and groundbreaking theory of money itself: what it is, where it comes from, what it means to speak of its "value," the differences between commodity money and fiat money, the demand for money and what it has to do with banking, and -- crucially -- the jiggery-pokery that becomes possible when the State starts messing around with unsound monetary policy.
This edition also includes a section on "Monetary Reconstruction" written in 1952 (and first included in the 1953 Yale University Press edition).
Plus there's a foreword by Murray Rothbard. And, finally, it's another beautifully crafted volume from the Liberty Fund, practically a steal at the price posted above. You'd have a hard time buying most such books _used_ at this price.
So what are you waiting for? Throw your Samuelson and Keynes in the trash and pick up a book of _real_ economics.
The first thing to note is that this book was first published in 1912 and in German, and although the translation has been accomplished superbly, the style of writing has somewhat of an antequated feel to it; not quite the same free flowing prose you get with Rothbard. Once you get into the feel of it though, this in no way detracts from your understanding of the theory presented.
It has an excellent new Foreward by Rothbard himself, extensive footnoting and index and is hardbound beautifully by the Liberty Fund Press, with dust jacket. There is also a nice Appendix: On The Classification of Monetary Theories, that is very useful and informative.
The book itself is divided into four main Parts:
Part One: The Nature of Money.
Part Two: The Value of Money.
Part Three: Money and Banking.
Part Four: Monetary Reconstruction.(This part was added in 1952).
For me the book really took on a story of two halves. In the first half of the book, Parts 1 & 2, the bulk of the theory is really laid out. It can be slow going as it is extremely in depth but I highly recommend you stick with it as this pays off in the second half of the book!
In Part 3 Mises really starts putting flesh onto the theory when we get into Money & Banking proper with discussion of demand for money, credit, fiduciary paper, rate of interest etc. But towards the end in Chapters 19 & 20 things get MUCH more interesting as equilibrium rates and interest are discussed in detail and he finally talks about gold, the gold standard and banking freedom.
Part 4 is where my heart lies. Here we have the discussion of the principles of sound money versus contemporary currency systems. There's then an excellent discourse on the Return to Sound Money, ie the Classical Gold Standard.
The second half of this wonderful book certainly flowed better for me, but that may also be just because I am more of an investment manager/trader and less of an economist! You feel like you have had Mises teaching you in fine detail and that he has left no stone unturned in your understanding. Mises doesn't read as easily as the prose of Rothbard but that does not detract from the excellence of the material. Superb!
It really IS a truly outstanding work and if not the best book ever written on the subject, it surely has to be at the very least, one of the very best, and as such is certainly a "must-read"!!!
This wonderful, beautifully bound, classic is an absolute "steal" at $20. I still cannot believe it is sold for so little. My recommendation is to buy it while it is still available in this beautiful hardbound edition!
Amazon sells the STUDY GUIDE to accompany the Mises Institute version, but not the book itself.
Here's what I learned:
-- 1451578172 Red cover, Pacific Publishing 2010: I have this one, and of the ones reviewed here, it is visually the most readable, but still flawed. At 265 pages of 8" x 10" within normal-looking margins, the the font size is small which, proportionately, makes the line-lengths too long. The substantial visual virtue relative to other editions is that the line spacing is more generous. Its table of contents lists subheadings within chapters, which becomes a useful outline of the book.
Odd pages' footers show chapter name, which eases navigation within the book. Don't know what original edition of Mises' this is based on, but it does include Part 4 (chapters 21-23) and Appendix A "Classification of Monetary Theories", and also Appx B "Translators Note." It has no prefaces or introduction (despite the Biographical Note referring to an Intro by Murray Rothbard.)
Probably the biggest blunder in this edition is that in Chapter 2 there are two or three pages discussing utility, in which the variable beta is introduced. Unfortunatly the character for beta is typeset either as a box, or as nothing at all, rendering most of this discussion meaningless.
-- 1467934879 $100 bills cover, CreateSpace 2011: I have this one, and it's not so desirable. According to Amazon's blurb, this is the text of the 1934 edition, though you wouldn't know if from the book itself which contains absolutely no meta information about the original work, nor about the present publisher or publication date. It contains only only chapters 1-20, with no additional foreward, preface, notes etc. Individual pages are numbered, but have no indication of chapter. Smallest print of all editions here, with the entire 20 chapters in 160 pages. (compared to 225 for the Red cover edition).
-- 098406141X Gold-card-containing-bills cover, Signalman Publishing 2010: I have this, and it contains: Chapters 1-23, Appx A and B (like red cover), and also 3 prefaces: 1952, 1934, 1924, and also an intro by Robbins 1934. This edition is large, printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. This would have been a good edition had it made use of the large pages to print the text in two columns. Instead, the lines are spread across the entire page width with only half-inch margins, making for excessive eye movement and unnecessary difficulty connecting each line to the next.
-- 1933550554 Grey-blue closeup of credit card. Study Guide... by Murphy, Von Mises Institute publisher, 2011. The current Amazon description would have you believe that this is perhaps the entire Theory of Money and Credit text plus additional study notes. Actually, the wrong description is being shown. This is only a study guide. The correct description can be found at this other ISBN: 9781610162357, though that one is not available from Amazon.
Anyhow, the study guide is a good idea, with the only shortcoming being that it makes many many references to specific page numbers in the original book, and those page numbers don't match any of the editions listed here.
Hope that helps some other customers trying to sort all this out. I just wish someone would take the time to print this text with all its prefaces, chapters, appendices etc in a reasonable font and layout with a decent TOC and with a proper informative footer.
So, the text gets 5 stars for being a landmark, but I'm knocking off two stars because of the disarray.