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What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Murray N. Rothbard

III.
Government Meddling With Money

13. Government and Money

Many people believe that the free market, despite some admitted advantages, is a picture of disorder and chaos. Nothing is "planned," everything is haphazard. Government dictation, on the other hand, seems simple and orderly; decrees are handed down and they are obeyed. In no area of the economy is this myth more prevalent than in the field of money. Seemingly, money, at least, must come under stringent government control. But money is the lifeblood of the economy; it is the medium for all transactions. If government dictates over money, it has already captured a vital command post for control over the economy, and has secured a stepping-stone for full socialism. We have seen that a free market in money, contrary to common assumption, would not be chaotic; that, in fact, it would be a model of order and efficiency.

What, then, have we learned about government and money? We have seen that, over the centuries, government has, step by step, invaded the free market and seized complete control over the monetary system. We have seen that each new control, sometimes seemingly innocuous, has begotten new and further controls. We have seen that for governments are inherently inflationary, since inflation is a tempting means of acquiring revenue for the State and its favored groups. The slow but certain seizure of the monetary reins has thus been used to (a) inflate the economy at a pace decided by government; and (b) bring about socialistic direction of the entire economy.

Furthermore, government meddling with money has not only brought untold tyranny into the world; it has also brought chaos and not order. It has fragmented the peaceful, productive world market and shattered it into a thousand pieces, with trade and investment hobbled and hampered by myriad restrictions, controls, artificial rates, currency breakdowns, etc. It has helped bring about wars by transforming a world of peaceful intercourse into a jungle of warring currency blocs. In short, we find that coercion, in money as in other matters, brings, not order, but conflict and chaos.

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