Murray Rothbard first wrote What Has Government Done to Our Money? in 1964. A decade later, he wrote that ‘the chickens of the monetary interventionalists have come home to roost. The world monetary crisis of February–March 1973, followed by the dollar plunge of July, was only the latest of an accelerating series of crises which provide a virtual textbook illustration of our analysis of the inevitable consequences of government intervention in the monetary system.’
To understand the current monetary chaos, it is necessary to trace briefly the international monetary developments of the twentieth century, and to see how each set of unsound inflationist interventions has collapsed of its own inherent problems, only to set the stage for another round of interventions. The twentieth century history of the world monetary order can be divided into nine phases. Let us examine each in turn.…
Rothbard presents the ‘The Monetary Breakdown of the West’ in 9 phases:
- The Classical Gold Standard, 1815–1914
- World War I and After
- The Gold Exchange Standard (Britain and the United States), 1926–1931
- Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, 1931–1945
- Bretton Woods and the New Gold Exchange Standard (the United States), 1945–1968
- The Unraveling of Bretton Woods, 1968–1971
- The End of Bretton Woods: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, August–December, 1971
- The Smithsonian Agreement, December 1971–February 1973
- Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, March 1973–?
This week’s chapter marks the end of What Has Government Done to Our Money? But it’s not the end of the podcast! Next week we present Rothbard’s detailed reform proposal, ‘The Case for a 100% Gold Dollar,’ Part 1.