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Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown [Hardcover]

Detlev S. Schlichter
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Sep 2011
The case for the inevitable failure of a paper money economy and what that means for the future All paper money systems in history have ended in failure. Either they collapsed in chaos, or society returned to commodity money before that could happen. Drawing upon novel new research, Paper Money Collapse conclusively illustrates why paper money systems—those based on an elastic and constantly expanding supply of money as opposed to a system of commodity money of essentially fixed supply—are inherently unstable and why they must lead to economic disintegration. These highly controversial conclusions clash with the present consensus, which holds that elastic state money is superior to inflexible commodity money (such as a gold standard), and that expanding money is harmless or even beneficial for as long as inflation stays low. Contradicting this, Paper Money Collapse shows that: The present crisis is the unavoidable result of continuously expanding fiat money The current policy of accelerated money production to "stimulate" the economy is counterproductive and could lead to a complete collapse of the monetary system Why many in financial markets, in media, and in the policy establishment are unable (and often unwilling) to fully appreciate the underlying problems with elastic money This compelling new book looks at the breakdown of modern economic theory and the fallacy of mathematical models. It is an analysis of the current financial crisis and shows in very stark terms that the solutions presented by paper money–enthusiasts around the world are misguided and inherently flawed.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (23 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118095758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118095751
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Paper Money Collapse was the 2012 getAbstract International Book Award Winner! ‘...An excellent introduction to the dangers of our current monetary system.′ (therealasset.co.uk, January 2012)

From the Inside Flap

The recent financial crisis has exposed the instability of our financial system. While there is plenty of talk of reform, few commentators are yet willing to consider that the root cause could be the transition from commodity money to limitless paper money, although the track record of paper money systems is uniformly discouraging: Throughout human history, all paper money systems have either collapsed in chaos, or society has returned to commodity money (usually based on gold) before a total currency disaster occurred. This book shows why this was the case and why this is also the choice we are facing today. Drawing upon ground breaking new research, Paper Money Collapse conclusively demonstrates why paper money systems—those based on an elastic and constantly expanding supply of money, as opposed to a system of commodity money of essentially fixed supply—are inherently unstable and why they must, by their very nature, lead to economic disorder. These highly controversial findings clash with the general consensus that elastic state money is superior to inflexible commodity money, and that expanding money is harmless or even beneficial as long as inflation remains contained. In an engaging style based on extensive study and analysis, this compelling new book exposes the fallacies of mainstream macroeconomics and debunks erroneous conventional wisdom. It explains why many people working in financial markets, in the media, and in policy establishment positions are unable (and often unwilling) to fully appreciate the underlying problems with elastic money and the danger it presents. Paper Money Collapse shows in the starkest terms that the recent crisis is far from over and that the solutions presented by the advocates of paper money around the world are misguided and inherently flawed, in particular the current policy of accelerated paper money production to "stimulate" the economy. If these policies are continued, a complete currency catastrophe will be inevitable. An absolute must–read for economists, individual investors, and anyone with an interest in finance, Paper Money Collapse will change the way you think about our financial system—and about how to take control of your own financial future.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Logic and Compelling Evidence 18 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover
Schlicter's analysis is certainly controversial, and I must admit that I started reading Paper Money Collapse with a degree of scepticism. However, the logic of his argument is compelling and, upon concluding the read and reflecting, the reason behind many recent world economic events becomes evident. A good example is the inability of western economies such as Japan and the US to stimulate growth, despite repeated attempts at monetary expansion.

He begins with a clear explanation of what money is and how it works; how it began as a pure commodity currency, morphed into a paper currency backed by gold, changed again through the process of Fractional-Reserve Banking and has today (as it has in past times before collapsing) become a fiat currency where Central Banks can create money at will and at no cost. Currency created through Fractional-Reserve Banking is somewhat elastic and that created by Central Banks is infinitely so.

It is this elasticity that allows monetary expansion to distort and unbalance the economy, and to induce short term stimulus in certain sectors but zero real growth overall in the long term. It also has the important side effect of generating inflation. As the process continues monetary stimulus is destined to have less and less effect whilst the inflationary consequence is intensified, with the inevitable result of hyperinflation and currency collapse.

Schlicter underpins his analysis with descriptions of historic paper money systems, all of which failed. Our present system of paper money, particularly after 1971 when the US abandoned The International Gold Standard, displays numerous symptoms analogous to the historic examples cited.

What is the solution?
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I agree with the bit on the cover of this book where it says that this is not an easy read. For me, it has not been, and not just because the truths Schlichter spells out and explains are so not-easy to take. I am a huge fan of his, and have been ever since I first heard him talk about the analysis in this book in London about a year ago, but he makes me work hard. This book is heavy on logical exposition, much lighter on diverting anecdote. For the latter sort of Schlichter stuff, you must read his blog.

One way to describe Paper Money Collapse might be to say that it is the sort of book that the great Austrian School economist and economic historian Murray Rothbard might have written, had he lived a bit longer. Last year I read Rothbard's Man, Economy and State. While doing this, I kept hoping that I would read a theoretical analysis of our current financial woes, as opposed merely to Rothbard's general take on Austrian Economics as a whole. I realise that this was a lot to ask of a book published several decades ago, and not surprisingly I was, although in general much educated, largely disappointed on that particular count. Well, what I was only hoping to read in that Rothbard book was what I did read in Detlev Schlichter's much shorter book, which I heartily recommend to anyone willing to really get stuck into it. Here is a conceptual analysis, in very much the painstaking Rothbard manner, of how non-commodity-backed currencies behave when they collapse, and why they do collapse, always, inevitably. In other words it is about the times we now live in.

I learned a lot from reading Paper Money Collapse.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book is not comforting reading, nor is it always easy to read. You have to concentrate. But it is a "must-read". For me, one of the most valuable insights of this book is how it explains how the general price level in an economy can appear to be stable but that injections of fiat money into the system can derange relative prices for consumption, intermediate and production goods. This point is vital. It explains why those central banks, such as the Bank of England, got dangerously complacent in the 90s and noughties when the inflation targets they had been set appeared to behave. But all the while, the surges in money supply growth created a bloated financial sector and property market bubble.

He also rebuts the argument, sometimes used by opponents of commodity, or "inelastic" money, that a growing economy needs a growing supply of money to ensure stability. Untrue. At most, an expanding economy, with growing innovation, division of labour and productivity growth, should see a mild deflation over time (which is good for people who want to save by holding cash). But as Schlichter explains, there is no reason in logic or evidence why a mild price deflation should hamper economic progress once people get used to the idea that their money will buy a rising stock of goods and services through time. He uses the analogy of computers. In recent times, the hourly wages needed to buy, say, a mobile phone have slumped. Has that stopped people from going out and buying these devices? Of course not.

Schlichter's explanation of how fractional supply banking works is crystal clear and, in my view, he explains it slightly better than say, Murray Rothbard did in his The Mystery of Banking, although the latter book is still well worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather extreme views but it awaked an interest in money matter in me...
Much of this book is derivate of MIses theory of money and credit but in a much more accessible manner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DIOMIDES MAVROYIANNIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelieveable book
I have known about the Austrian business cycle. But never had it been explained in such clarity and relevance to the current economic conditions and thinking. Read more
Published 2 months ago by BigLemon
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed and unconvincing
With so many chancers turning out garbage about the economy at present, it must be hard for the layman to actually see that no new economic theories are required to explain the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dr Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Analytical Austrian-school argument for why paper money economies are...
The sky is falling, and so are the dollar, the pound and every other currency not linked to an independent, immutable source of value, like gold. So says economist Detlev S. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
They often say that "cometh the hour, cometh the man." In our case, the man is Detlev Schlichter, perhaps one of the best Austrian school economists in the UK and whose razor-sharp... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Ds Phillips
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting critique on current monetary arrangements
The worst thing about this book is the totally idiotic forward by Wiggin. He states grandly "if you agree with (everyone he disagrees with) then ... Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2012 by Ioannis Glinavos
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad book on an interesting subject
The question of the sustainability of a fiat currency is interesting and worth making, unfortunately Schlichtel's book is riddled with fallacies that completely undermine its... Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2012 by AlexHanin
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying and convincing
Much of that the author says in this book will be familiar to any readers of economists like Ludwig von Mises and Freidrich Hayek and he admits as much - this is a book about the... Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2012 by Emilio Mestiga
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
Essential reading for those wanting to understand what is currently taking place in the world economy and just how it is all going to play out/end. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2012 by Nicholas Winstanley
4.0 out of 5 stars very useful from economic point of view
The truth about what happened all this years with the fiat money system and why this system would collapse sooner or later.
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by KARANASIOS
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