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Money and Banking

Throughout history, the state has typically monopolized the issuance of money. The various royal mints were once the exclusive sources of silver and gold coins, whereas today the national central banks alone are empowered to issue fiat currency. As private banks have developed alternatives to state-issued money (banknotes, transferable account balances), the state has typically placed them under considerable restrictions. Many otherwise free-market economists have taken state control over money and banking for granted or, in some particulars, justified it; to the extent they recommend altering these monopolies, it is merely to limit their abuses. Those who have rejected “state tampering with money and banks,” as Herbert Spencer titled his essay, have been far from unanimous about what a libertarian monetary and banking system would ...

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