Ludwig von Mises identifies the source of the disruption of the world monetary order as the failed policies of governments and their central banks (1934)

Ludwig von Mises

In 1952, the Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) argued that the disruption of the world monetary order was attributable to the policies of governments and their central banks:

The people of all countries agree that the present state of monetary affairs is unsatisfactory and that a change is highly desirable… The destruction of the monetary order was the result of deliberate actions on the part of various governments. The government-controlled central banks and, in the United States, the government-controlled Federal Reserve System were the instruments applied in this process of disorganization and demolition. Yet without exception all drafts for an improvement of currency systems assign to the governments unrestricted supremacy in matters of currency and design fantastic images of superprivileged superbanks… The inanity of all these plans is not accidental. It is the logical outcome of the social philosophy of their authors.

We continue our exploration of Liberty Fund’s “Library of the Works of Ludwig von Mises” in the middle of a very serious banking collapse. Mises wrote his great work on money and credit in 1912, its first English translation took place in 1934, and a second edition was published in English in 1952. In the 40 years between editions, Mises had witnessed the First World War and the inflation and economic collapse which followed, the German hyperinflation, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the Chinese hyperinflation. In the light of these events he unequivocally lays the blame at the door of the government: “The destruction of the monetary order was the result of deliberate actions on the part of various governments. The government-controlled central banks and, in the United States, the government-controlled Federal Reserve System were the instruments applied in this process of disorganization and demolition.” The cause of these failed policies, in his view, is a bad economic theory about how the economy works: “The inanity of all these plans is not accidental. It is the logical outcome of the social philosophy of their authors.” Mises hoped that his life work would provide a new economic theory which would never permit another serious collapse to happen again. 56 years after he wrote those words it did happen again.