What is Money? An Introduction to Austrian Monetary Theory

Why have money? In a small non-industrial economy, people might be able to barter their products (for example, eggs for bread). But when an economy gets to a certain point, barter is no longer acceptable, and a new form of exchange is needed.

For example, if Fred wants three loaves of bread from Barney, but Barney wants an HD television from Tom, then Fred has to get an HD television from Tom so he can exchange with Barney. Now imagine that, only doing that with every person you wanted something from. That’s what a world without money would look like.

Money, however, allows us to escape this unending cycle of barter. This simple unit of exchange allows people to indirectly exchange goods and services. One way this plays out is that my employer pays me for two weeks worth of services, and I then go out and use the money to buy food and pay the bills. I paid with my labor through the money I was given in my paycheck.

Money does not come out of thin air. It is either a producer or commercial good which is both i) highly valued, and ii) easily exchangeable. These qualities allow for ease of trade.

A Summary:

Hans-Hermann Hoppe on the Division of Labor and Money:

Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money?

Audiobook, PDF

WARNING: The following playlist is five hours in length.

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