The Nobel Prize–winning economist explains how value is created, and how that affects everything from your paycheck to global markets.
In this “lively, enlightening introduction to monetary history” (Kirkus Reviews), one of the leading figures of the Chicago school of economics that rejected the theories of John Maynard Keynes offers a journey through history to illustrate the importance of understanding monetary economics, and how monetary theory can ignite or deepen inflation.
With anecdotes revealing the far-reaching consequences of seemingly minor events—for example, how two obscure Scottish chemists destroyed the presidential prospects of William Jennings Bryan, and how FDR’s domestic politics helped communism triumph in China—as well as plain-English explanations of what the monetary system in the United States means for your personal finances and for everyone from the small business owner on Main Street to the banker on Wall Street, Money Mischief is an enlightening read from the author of Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose, who was called “the most influential economist of the second half of the twentieth century” by the Economist.
From the Micronesian Yap islands' 12-foot stone ``coins'' to today's paper currencies backed only by fiat, Nobel-laureate economist Friedman ( Free to Choose ) here examines anomalies of world monetary history, including the effect of successive 19th-century gold ore discoveries and refining improvements on U.S. and British tender. He traces American currency's long, contentious gold-silver bimetalist saga, marked by the so-called Congressional coinage ``crime of 1873'' and ending with William Jennings Bryan's unsuccessful ``Cross of Gold'' presidential campaign in 1896. Friedman cites harsh lessons from postwar hyperinflation in many countries and declares that Roosevelt's 1933 silver-buying program may have skewed China's silver-based economy toward eventual communism. Uncontrolled money growth is the cause of inflation, the author stresses, and only monetary reform, despite undesirable side effects like unemployment, can cure it. Abstruse, theoretical and chiefly for the initiate, the book recycles parts of earlier works by Friedman, who himself suggests here that the general reader might wish to skip a particularly challenging chapter.