Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money

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9781118877326: Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money

Explore the inevitable collapse of the fiat monetary system

Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money, Second Edition challenges the mainstream consensus on money and monetary policy. While it is today generally believed that the transition from 'hard' and inflexible commodity money (such as a gold standard) to entirely flexible and potentially unlimited fiat money under national central banks allows for superior economic stability, Paper Money Collapse shows that the opposite is true. Systems of highly elastic and constantly expanding money are not only unnecessary, even for growing economies, they are always extremely destabilizing. Over time, they must lead to substantial imbalances, including excessive levels of debt and distorted asset prices, that will require ever faster money production to sustain. Ultimately, however, there is no alternative to a complete liquidation of these distortions. Based on insights of many renowned economists and in particular of the Austrian School of Economics, the book explains through rigorous logic and in precise language why our system of flexible fiat money is incompatible with a market economy and therefore unsustainable. Paper money systems have always led to economic disintegration—without exception—throughout history. It will not be different for our system and we may be closer to the endgame than many think.

The updated second edition incorporates:

  • A new introduction and an extended outlook section that discusses various "endgames"
  • Responses to criticisms, alternative views, and a critical assessment of 'solutions'
  • Comments on recent policy trends, including attempts to exit the 'easy money' policy mode
  • An evaluation of new crypto-currency Bitcoin

Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money, Second Edition clarifies the problem of paper money clearly and eloquently, and proposes multiple routes to a solution.

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From the Back Cover:


“A brilliant treatise on the fundamentals of sound money and the destructive deviations of contemporary Keynesian central banking. Sophisticated, readable, thorough, and persuasive.”
—David Stockman

Paper Money Collapse was essential reading when the first edition appeared in 2011 and it is even more essential reading now. Not only has the underlying degree of global monetary instability continued to increase; Detlev Schlichter has now updated his original, excellent tome to incorporate contemporary developments, including the introduction of so-called ‘cryptocurrencies’ such as bitcoin, and he explores several plausible scenarios for the future of the faltering global monetary order. Readers will benefit from these insights, presented as they are in a highly readable, cogent style.”
—John K. Butler, author of The Golden Revolution and publisher of the Amphora Report investment newsletter

“A passionate, engaging, and depressing analysis of the approaching fiat money endgame.”
—Kevin Dowd, Durham University

“Detlev Schlichter’s book Paper Money Collapse, Second Edition develops a concise, clear, and at the same time deep economic analysis on the current elastic monetary system and why it is essentially incompatible with a free market economy. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in financial crises, economic recessions, and the future of capitalism.”
—Jesús Huerta de Soto, Professor of Political Economy, King Juan Carlos University (Madrid); author of Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles

“Stumbling forward under the baleful influence of wishful thinking, the world’s politicians and central bankers are blundering down just the path Detlev set out in his first edition. With the Austrian measure of the UK money supply now increasing by over 12% year on year, I expect Detlev’s masterpiece to be increasingly relevant.”
—Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, Member of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, and a co-founder of the Cobden Centre

“Detlev’s understanding and insight into central bank policy propelled him to being one of the world’s preeminent global bond managers. He cuts through the fog of central bank mystery by providing a clear description of their apparatus and methods. Going beyond the requisite professional skepticism, Detlev has trained his scholarly attention to highlighting the enormity of the potential further damage they may yet wreak on us.”
—Ken Leech, CIO, Western Asset Management Company

From the Inside Flap:

Now in its second edition, Detlev S. Schlichter’s bestselling Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money challenges the mainstream thinking on money and monetary policy. This revised and updated edition draws on solid research and clearly demonstrates that the present monetary system, based as it is on essentially limitless fiat money and unconstrained central banking, is inherently unstable and ultimately unsustainable.

By the standards of history and theory, our present paper money system is a peculiar political creation. For centuries, the money of the free market was gold or silver, commodities whose supply was fairly inelastic and outside of the control of politicians, bureaucrats, and bankers. Capitalist money was hard and apolitical, and although banks have always added to the money supply by issuing banknotes and bank deposits, the free market kept strict limits on overall money production. This changed throughout the 20th century, as money became increasingly politicized and “elastic,” a process that culminated in the closing of the “gold window” in 1971 and the beginning of the era of limitless paper money and uninhibited central banking.

Most modern economists tell us that elastic money is a boon. If handled correctly, it can allow for faster growth and a more stable economy. In a brilliant analysis that captivates through rigorous logic and accessible language, Detlev Schlichter explains why the consensus is wrong. Elastic money is a source of instability and the ultimate cause of the growing deformations in all developed economies: ever growing debt levels, periodic asset bubbles, overextended and weak banks, and an intensifying dependency on cheap credit. Like all paper money systems in history, our system too will face the choice between a voluntary return to hard and apolitical money or accelerated money printing that will ultimately end in hyperinflation. The time to choose is now!

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