Money Mischief, By Milton Friedman

In the first chapter Friedman compares using gold as the basis for money to using stone discs:

For a century and more, the civilized world regarded as a concrete manifestation of its wealth a metal dug from deep in the ground, refined at great labor, transported great distances, and buried again in elaborate vaults deep in the ground. Is this one practice really more rational than the other?

Then he spends all but the final chapter detailing the pain and suffering inflicted upon societies using silver or bi-metal standards. I felt like much of the data (some in works with no citations) was cherry picked or tortured to fit his conclusions. If his conclusions are sound, and the evidence is so clear, then why does he need to work so hard to prove them? I nearly gave up the book. But the the last chapter turned out to be quite good, containing this little pearl:

It is natural for individuals to generalize from their personal experience, to believe that what is true for them is true for the community. I believe that that confusion is at the bottom the most widely held economic fallacies-whether about money or as an example just discussed, or about other economic or social phenomena.

The first and last chapters of the book are good. I think that only economists that drink from the same Kool-aid pitcher as Milton Friedman will enjoy the rest of the book.

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