The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking by Saifedean Ammous

(Hoboken: Wiley, 2018), 274


Contents


Summary

Ammous' spends the first two thirds of his treatise on Bitcoin discussing the theory and history of money with an emphasis on the Austrian School of economics. Bitcoin's value is in its soundness as money having a fixed supply and being outside the control of any centralized authority. The monetary history of the twentieth century is the story of inflation of government currencies and the subsequent increase in government restriction of individual freedom. Bitcoin offers a digital solution to these issues and a means for reestablishing individual sovereignty and economic freedom.

Key Concepts

  • Inflation is ”expropriating the wealth of the savers”
  • Stock-to-flow as a measure of the hardness of money
  • "Sound money is chosen freely on the market for its salability, because it holds its value across time, because it can transfer value effectively across space, and because it can be divided and grouped into small and large scales. It is money whose supply cannot be manipulated by a coercive authority that imposes its use on others." (73)

    • protects value across time and lowers time preference

    • enables free trade with a stable unit of measurement

    • is essential for individual freedom

  • Government control of money results in expansion of the money supply making saving and investment less attractive than consuming, creating a culture of consumption and engendering a high time preference in both economic and moral life (141)
  • "Any person who owns Bitcoin achieves a degree of economic freedom which was not possible before its invention." (200)
  • "For as long as political authorities impose restrictions and limitations on individuals transferring money, and for as long as government money is easy money whose supply can be easily expanded according to the whims of politicians, demand for Bitcoin will continue to exist, and its diminishing supply growth is likely to lead to its value appreciating over time, thus attracting ever-larger numbers of people to use it as a store of value." (249)
  • "For the first time since the abolition of the gold standard, Bitcoin has made sound money easily available to anyone in the world who wants it." (261)

Chapter 1: Money

Summary: Money is a medium of exchange and store of value. Historically, harder money (high stock-to-flow) has produced more stable and prosperous societies.

  • problem of money: how to move value across time and space (1)
  • direct exchange (barter) challenge due to scale, location, and time frame —> indirect exchange (2)
  • money (medium of exchange) differs from an investment: no return, lowest risk, no transaction cost (3)
  • key characteristic of money is salability (ease of sale) according to Carl Menger (father of Austrian school of economics, *On the Origins of Money”) (3-4)
  • money is:

    • medium of exchange (3)

    • store of value (4), determined by hardness and acceptability (7) and unit of account (denomination of prices) (8)

  • hardness (difficulty in producing new monetary units) needed to preserve value over time (5)

    • stock: existing supply

    • flow: production

  • inflation is ”expropriating the wealth of the savers” (5)
  • types of money are always competing with each other and higher stock-to-flow has won historically (6)
  • single medium of exchange allows for economic growth and sophisticated production (8-9)

Chapter 2: Primitive Moneys

Summary: The story of Rai stones illustrate how walking away from hard money causes wealth to erode and even the fabric of society to fall apart.

  • Example of Rai stones on Yap Island

    • large imported limestone discs with high stock-to-flow, ownership known by everyone

    • David O'Keefe started importing them creating a drop in stock-to-flow and devaluation and conflict

  • similar to aggry beads in western Africa, seashells, and cattle

    • European import of beads devalued them and resulted in impoverishment of locals through transfer of wealth to producers (14)

  • easy money doesn't make society richer, but poorer by placing hard-earned wealth for sale in exchange for something too easy to produce (16)

Chapter 3: Monetary Metals

Summary: Gold is sound money (high stock-to-flow) which is needed for flourishing society. Rome's fall is largely the story of a devalued currency, while the return to solid gold currency helped crate flourishing Renaissance city-states. The modern (19th century) gold standard was not perfect but sustained a prosperous and free society—hard money wins and soft money loses.

Why Gold?

  • market demand (holding for its own sake) vs monetary demand (holding for exchange or to store value) example and bubbles (19-21):

    • increased (monetary) demand causes a rise in prices

    • rise in price drives further demand

    • continually rising prices incentivize increased production, increasing supply

    • increased supply brings prices down

    • as a result: everyone who bought at a price higher than the usual market price loses, meanwhile producers of the asset benefit

  • gold beats this trap and has won through history (21)

    • chemically stable and virtually impossible to destroy

    • impossible to synthesize (low supply)

  • "Human civilization flourished in times and places where sound money was widely adopted, while unsound money all to frequently coincided with civilizational decline and societal collapse." (25)

Roman Golden Age and Decline

  • Rome's story (25-27):

    • stable monetary supply with the silver denarius coin

    • peasants moved to Rome to live better for free on the dime of prosperous emperors buying popularity

    • Nero started devaluing the currency (similar to Keynes after WWI), providing temporary relief but starting a vicious cycle

    • von Mises: by trying to manage their economies the emperors only made matters worse (27)

    • urbanites then fled Rome to get land and attempt self-sufficiency while not paying taxes

    • taxation and inflation destroyed the wealth and savings of Europe, turning Roman citizens into feudal serfs (29)

Byzantium and the Bezant

  • the lengthy and proud history of the Byzantine solidus coin:

    • first minted by Docletian in 301

    • changed name to bezant and Islamic dinar

    • continues to circulate today

The Renaissance

  • city-states pulled Europe out of the Dark Ages into the Renaissance, helped by the sound money standard started with Florence's florin
  • silver and gold were complementary metals: silver for smaller transactions and gold for long-term storage of value and large payments (30)
  • "The history of China and India, and their failure to catch up to the West during the twentieth century, is inextricably linked to this massive destruction of wealth and capital brought about by the demonetization of the monetary metal [silver] these countries utilized...History shows it is not possible to insulate yourself from the consequences of others holding money that is harder than yours." (33-34)
  • Gold solved problems of salability across scales, space, and time by centralization, and therefore lost individual sovereignty and resistance to government control (34)

La Belle Époque

  • End of Franco-Prussian War in 1871 led to near worldwide gold standard and a golden age of human flourishing (34) with a very free society (36), lasting until WWI (37)
  • gold standard was the best, but not perfect: bank notes and currency reserves made it vulnerable to a run on gold (37), and tended toward centralization and government control (38)
  • key points (38):

    • "Wealth can't be generated by tampering with the money supply"

    • "Allowing a sovereign the control of the money can only lead to them increasing their control of everyone's life"

    • "Civilized human living itself rests on the integrity of money providing a solid foundation for trade and capital accumulation"

Chapter 4: Government Money

Summary: A brief sketch of the history of government money: Off the gold standard in WWI, a reason to focus on that over WWII as a turning point; Interwar years saw mismanagement of the Depression by Hoover and FDR and the rise of Keynesian government spending; WWII ends with the planned economy of Bretton Woods, and Nixon finally ends gold convertibility in 1971; Fiat money in the 20th century was not "sound" by Mises' definition due to government control, but Bitcoin is resistant to government control.

  • Government or fiat money was all originally redeemable in gold

Monetary Nationalism and the End of the Free World

  • WWI was different from prior wars in the suspension of gold convertability allowing the governments to appropriate their citizens' accumulated wealth through inflation to continue financing the war
  • Monetary Nationalism: Hayek's term for centrally planned interest rate, a symptom of not honestly revaluing currencies to gold after WWI

The Interwar Era

  • 1922 Treaty of Genoa sets USD and British pound as global reserve currencies, and governments move toward inflation for repayment of war debts
  • Refutes the popular narrative of the Great Depression and focuses instead on Rothbard's account: 1929 crash caused by diversion from the gold standard after WWI, and the Depression deepened due to Hoover and FDR's control and socialization of the economy, Keynes stepped in with a new economic narrative that suited the political climate

World War II and the Bretton Woods

  • Bretton Woods attempted to centrally plan (through the IMF) what had previously emerged naturally in the gold standard

Government Money's Track Record

  • 1971 Nixon ends dollar convertability to gold
  • "History has shown that governments will inevitably succumb to the tempation of inflating the money supply...expanding government power while reducing the wealth of the currency holders." (67)
  • Cantillon Effect: first recipients of new money are the beneficiaries of an expanding money supply, explaining why inflation hurts the poor and helps the rich
  • Why government controls money:

    • mandate taxes paid in fiat

    • government regulation of the banking system

    • legal tender laws

    • backed by gold reserves

  • "Government control of money has turned money from being the reward for producing value to the reward for obedience to government officials." (70)
  • "The twentieth century was the century of unsound money and the omnipotent state" (71)

Chapter 5: Money and Time Preference

Summary: Time Preference (discount rate) is how we value the present compared to the future. It is positive for us all (the present is more certain), but lower time preference leads to investment and increases productivity. Time preference determines our choices, and is greatly influenced by the expected future value of money. Deflationary fiat money leads directly to debt an lack of savings, and eventually to moral and family breakdown as a high time preference mentality pervades all aspects of our thinking. Modern art and architecture also exhibit the cultural decadence that results from soft money and high time preference.

  • "Sound money is chosen freely on the market for its salability, because it holds its value across time, because it can transfer value effectively across space, and because it can be divided and grouped into small and large scales. It is money whose supply cannot be manipulated by a coercive authority that imposes its use on others" (73-74). Sound money:

    • protects value across time and lowers time preference

    • enables free trade with a stable unit of measurement

    • is essential for individual freedom

  • Time preference: ratio at which individuals value the present compared to the future; lower time preference allows for investment (delay immediate gratification for the production of capital goods)

    • "The most important economic decisions to any individual's well-being are the ones they conduct in their trade-offs with their future self...The main factor determining a man's choices in life is his time preference." (77-78)

    • low time preference builds civilization (not just capital accumulation, but what capital accumulation allows humans to achieve)

  • Unsound money leads to high time preference in both economic life (spend more and save less) and moral life

Monetary Inflation

  • A theoretically ideal money would have a fixed supply
  • This is not the case for fiat currencies which have lost 97% of value compared to gold since 1971

    • --> thinking about prices in terms of sound money (gold, bitcoin), rather than USD

    • government money is unpredictable in value over the long term

Saving and Capital Accumulation

  • "Unsound money will offer little incentive for holders to keep it, as they become more likely to spend it or to borrow it." (90) --> compare interest rate vs rate of inflation...when does it make sense to borrow USD to buy hard assets (land, gold, bitcoin) to keep the value and depreciate away the debt?
  • Government control of the family: "As the reduction in intergenerational inheritance has reduced the strength of the family as a unit, government's unlimited checkbook has increased its ability to direct and shape the lives of people, allowing it an increasingly important role to play in more aspects of individuals' lives. The family's ability to finance the individual has been eclipsed by the state's largesse, resulting in a declining incentives for maintaining a family." (94)
  • Must understand Keynes' economics alongside his morality

Innovations: "Zero to One" Versus "One to Many"

  • Innovations per capita peaked in the nineteenth century under the gold standard

Artistic Flourishing

  • Times of sound money have produced artistic flourishing
  • Great discussion of the pretentiousness and obscenity of modern art (100-104)

Chapter 6: Capitalism's Information System

Summary: Prices are the fundamental information system in a capitalist system, organizing the economy in a decentralized manner and allowing trade and specialization. Socialist systems fail by centrally planning prices, but this is the unfortunate situation caused in modern capital markets by central banks setting interest rates. Scarcity is fundamental, and recessions are the inevitable outcome of interest rate manipulation. Unsound money creates these business cycles, as well as the currency wars and massive drag on global output caused by foreign exchange markets.

  • Hayek: the economic problem is a problem of knowledge, which is by its nature distributed
  • Prices are the knowledge and the signals that carry information

Capital Market Socialism

  • Mises: the fatal flaw of socialism is the inability to allocate capital goods because of the removal of prices
  • Modern central banks effectively create socialist capital markets in modern economies, their main tools being 1) setting the Federal Funds rate, 2) setting the required reserve ratio, 3) engaging in open market operations (buying/selling treasuries and financial assets), 4) determining lending eligibility criteria

Business Cycles and Financial Crises

  • Unsound money distorts prices, and recessions are the natural result of manipulating interest rates
  • "Scarcity is the fundamental starting point of all economics" (114), "there is no free lunch" (115), and "reality cannot be deceived forever" (115)
  • Unsound money prevents the emergence of accurate price signals; capitalism cannot function without a free market in capital
  • long refutation of Friedman's Monetary History of the United States (121-126)

Sound Basis for Trade

  • Monetary Nationalism began with the abandonment of the gold standard
  • "Impossible Trinity" describes the plight of central banks: "no government can successfully achieve all three goals of having a fixed foreign exchange rate, free capital flows, and an independent monetary policy" (128)

    • now we typically have independent monetary policy and free capital flows, but floating exchange rates, creating unnecessary challenges for business

  • This leads to a large foreign exchange market (25x global GDP!) and currency wars (c.f. Currency Wars by James Rickards)

Chapter 7: Sound Monetary and Individual Freedom

Summary: The modern economic consensus is that a government central bank should expand the money supply in a controlled way. Keynesians focus on government spending, and Monetarists (Milton Friedman) focus on tax cuts. Both want to expand the money supply to discourage saving and investment and encourage consumption, the result being higher time preference in all areas of life. Contrast this with the Austrian School: sound money requires the absence of government control, and is a prerequisite for a peaceful society and honest governments.

Should Government Manage the Money Supply?

  • "The fundamental scam of modernity is the idea that government needs to manage the money supply." (136)
  • Keynesians: recessions caused by reduction in spending, solution to for government to stimulate spending through increasing the money supply, increasing government spending, or lowering taxes
  • Monetarists (Milton Friedman): prefer tax cuts to stimulate the economy, the government needs to prevent deflation
  • Consensus view: the government should expand the money supply at a controlled pace, encourage people to spend more, and keep unemployment low
  • Expanding the money supply makes saving and investment less attractive than consuming, creating a culture of consumption and engendering a high time preference in all aspects of life
  • Classical tradition (Austrian school): money emerges in a market and absence of control by government is a necessary condition for the soundness of money

    • Austrian Capital Theory: cf Böhm-Bawerk, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Huerta de Soto, Salerno

    • low-time-preference societies will end up having higher levels of consumption in the long run as well as a larger capital stock

    • von Mises' malinvestments: unprofitable investments that only appear profitable during the period of inflation and artificially low rates

Unsound Money and Perpetual War

  • Unsound money leads to war:

    • creates barriers to trade, creating enmity between governments

    • removes the monetary constraint on a government's ability to wage war (can appropriate wealth of citizens indirectly through inflation)

    • promotes higher time preference leading to conflict

Limited versus Omnipotent Government

  • After WWI liberalism replaced by liberality: government becomes a wish-granting genie
  • Classical liberal government only possible with sound money, forcing governments to be honest and transparent (consumption comes after production)
  • Unsound money particularly dangerous in the hands of democratic governments facing reelection pressure
  • Keynes advocated government enslavement for its own sake, along with eugenics, currency control, etc.

The Bezzle

  • "The Bezzle": illusion of wealth caused by inflationary credit
  • Schumpeter and Taleb: no profit possible in free market without skin in the game

    • but government-issued unsound money keeps zombies alive that have no skin in the game and face no market test for their work

  • Banking has evolved to generate returns without risk to bankers while creating risks without returns for others
  • Centralized credit issuance accentuates the advantages of size above what it would be in a free market

Chapter 8: Digital Money

Summary: Bitcoin is the first digital money: it does not require trusting a third party and is a digital asset that is verifyably scarce. A decentralized peer-to-peer network and proof-of-work are components of the technology that enables this.

Bitcoin as Digital Cash

  • A short history of money:

    • Metallurgy was better money than beads, shells, etc.

    • Standardized coinage was better than lumps of gold

    • Gold-backed banking facilitated international trade

    • Centralizing gold led to government money backed by gold

    • This led to government control and expansion of the money supply, destroying its sovereignty and soundness

    • Now Bitcoin is the first digital solution to the problem of money

  • Until Bitcoin, cash payments were carried out in person, and digital payments required use of a third-party
  • Bitcoin allows for digital payments without relying on a trusted third-party, and the first digital object that is verifiably scarce
  • Bitcoin relies on proof-of-work (PoW):

    • Miner solves PoW and other nodes vote on the validity

    • Bitcoin security lies in the asymmetry between the cost of solving PoW to commit a transaction and the cost of verifying its validity

    • Bitcoin assumes 100% verification and 0% trust

    • Bitcoin relies on economic incentives making fraud far costlier than its rewards

  • Bitcoin is the first example of absolute scarcity

Supply, Value, and Transactions

  • Block reward for miners drops in half every ~4 years, with supply capped at 21M coins
  • 500k transaction limit (solutions to this discussed on 206), so most holders focus on Bitcoin as a store of value rather than medium of exchange

Appendix to Chapter 8

  • Technologies Bitcoin uses include:

    • Hashing: non-reversible formula to take any input data and produce a fixed-size hash, allows for identifying data in public without revealing it

    • Public key cryptography: the private key generates a public key that can be distributed; to authenticate hash data and with private key to produce a signature: allows secure value exchange over open unsecured network

    • Peer-to-peer network: all members have equal privileges with no central coordinator

Chapter 9: What Is Bitcoin Good For?

Summary: Given scalable resources, the truly most valuable (and limited) resource is human time. The great accomplishment of Bitcoin is creating a commodity whose supply is strictly limited, making it an excellent store of value. Bitcoin offers a means to opt out of the modern state (cf. The Sovereign Individual) and promotes a brand of peaceful anarchism. Bitcoin can become the means for settling international transactions and it could possibly become a global reserve currency.

Store of Value

  • Human time is the ultimate resource: the real cost of a good is always its opportunity cost in terms of goods forgone to produce it
  • Argument for larger population: ingenious ideas are rare, larger populations will produce more technologies/ideas and the benefits accrue to all, so better to have a larger population
  • Bubbles in an environment of monetary inflation re speculative bets for a useful store of value
  • The astonishing technical accomplishment of Bitcoin is the creation of a commodity whose supply is strictly limited

    • But doesn't the existence of other cryptocurrencies demonstrate that we can create unlimited types of assets with fixed supply? Answers follow on pages:

    • 229: altcoins are not immutable like Bitcoin, Bitcoin is effectively sovereign

    • 234: many altcoins support Bitcoin (faster transactions), but Bitcoin excels as digital sound money and digital cash, "there are no alternative technologies that can offer these two functions"

    • 250: no altcoins can compete with Bitcoin as sound money because of the spontaneous adversarial equilibrium between miners, coders, and users

Individual Sovereignty

  • "Any person who owns Bitcoin achieves a degree of economic freedom which was not possible before its invention." (200)
  • The Sovereign Individual
  • Source of productivity is increasingly in people's minds, making the threat of violence a less effective means of control
  • "Bitcoin offers the modern individual the chance to opt out of the totalitarian, managerial, Keynesian, and socialist states. It is a simple technological fix to the modern pestilence of governments surviving by exploiting the productive individuals who happen to live on their soil. If Bitcoin continues to grow to capture a larger share of the global wealth, it may force governments to become more and more a form of voluntary organizations, which can only acquire its 'taxes' voluntarily by offering its subjects services they would be willing to pay for." (203)
  • Bitcoin enables a form of anarcho-capitalism, a peaceful anarchy providing tools to be free from government control and inflation

International and Online Settlement

  • Bitcoin serves as a form of reserve currency for online transactions and allows cash payments over long distances and across national borders
  • Bitcoin could become a reserve currency for central banks, even if banks buy it for now only as insurance against it being successful
  • "BZitcoin serves as a monetary lifeboat for people forced to transact and save in monetary media constantly debased by governments. The real advantage of Bitcoin lies in it being a reliable long-term store of value, and a sovereign form of money that allows individuals to conduct permissionless transactions." (212)

Global Unit of Account

  • If Bitcoin achieves stability in value it would be better for global payment settlements than our current system of fluctuating national currencies

Chapter 10: Bitcoin Questions

Summary: Discussion of issues and questions surrounding the use and value of Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin Mining a Waste?

  • Proof-of-work (hard to solve, easy to verify) solves the double-spending problem without a trusted third party
  • Bitcoin is a technology that converts electricity to truthful records through the expenditure of processing power
  • A global distributed network of independent miners now protects the integrity of the Bitcoin ledger
  • Attacking the Bitcoin network would render the loot worthless
  • Does Bitcoin waste electricity? Bitcoin miners waste electricity no more than anyone else who pays for electricity for some consumer need.

Out of Control: Why Nobody Can Change Bitcoin

  • Nodes follow consensus of other nodes
  • All Bitcoin parties incentivized for status quo:

    • Coders: strong incentive to abide by consensus rules for changes to be adopted

    • Miners: need to abide by rules to receive compensation

    • Network members: strong incentive to remain on consensus rules to clear transactions

  • Bitcoin is effectively sovereign: runs by its own rules and outsiders cannot alter the rules

Antifragility

  • Bitcoin embodies Taleb's antifragility: gains from disorder, i.e. banning Silk Road and other exchanges only proves Bitcoin's value proposition

Can Bitcoin Scale?

  • There is a limit to the number of transactions Bitcoin can process while keeping the ledger small enough to run on a distributed network of nodes
  • Bitcoin's processing power is justified for digital sound money and digital cash (bearer instrument who can be transferred without third party)
  • Scaling Bitcoin for smaller transactions will come off-network

    • CoinJoin: group smaller transactions together

    • Digital mobile USB wallets

    • Bitcoin as "reserve currency" for services: transactions carried out off-chain and denominated in Bitcoin, only settled on-chain for deposit/withdrawal

    • Lightning Network: run payment channels off-chain and use Bitcoin ledger to verify balances rather than transactions

Is Bitcoin for Criminals?

  • Bitcoin is as anonymous as the internet: depends on how well you hid and how well others look
  • Bitcoin's blockchain structure is not ideal for privacy
  • Ransomware attacks: have occurred, but led to better security overall

How to Kill Bitcoin: A Beginners' Guide

  • high-profile threats to Bitcoin include:

    • Hacking: Bitcoins designed assuming everyone is dishonest, so asymmetry between cost of modifying and cost of verifying; possible to forge the record but economic incentives heavily aligned against it

    • 51% Attack: use large amounts of hashrate to generate fraudulent transactions and spend the same coin twice; economic incentives heavily against this, no successful attacks with 1 confirmed block

    • Nodes: rise in cost and drop in numbers: unlikely since it would require a hard fork to a larger block size, but the most serious technical threat in the author's opinion

    • Return to sound money: "For as long as political authorities impose restrictions and limitations on individuals transferring money, and for as long as government money is easy money whose supply can be easily expanded according to the whims of politicians, demand for Bitcoin will continue to exist, and its diminishing supply growth is likely to lead to its value appreciating over time, thus attracting ever-larger numbers of people to use it as a store of value." (249)

Altcoins

  • "it seems unlikely that any coin will recreate the adversarial standoff that exists between Bitcoin stakeholders and prevents any party from controlling payment in it." (251)
  • Bitcoin could be considered a sovereign piece of code, compared with the creator's control of altcoins which require investment to gain traction and therefore lead to control (Ethereum example of DOA hack and reversed payment)
  • "The growth of these altcoins [and how many other assets...?] cannot be understood outside the context of easy government money looking for easy investment, forming large bubbles in massive malinvestments." (257)

Blockchain Technology

  • the Blockchain is massively inefficient, which is an acceptable tradeoff for Bitcoin to eliminate the the need for trust in a third-party
  • Blockchain makes sense if 1) gains from decentralization justify the extra cost, and 2) the initial process is simple enough to run on many nodes
  • Blockchain applications:

    • Digital payments: it will always be more efficient to record transactions centrally for a centrally controlled currency

    • Contracts: successful applications are simple (multi-signature wallets), code cannot replace law

    • Databases and records: not feasible/advantageous


Bibliography

  • Ludwig von Mises

    • Human Action: The Scholar's Edition by Ludwig von Mises (3, 27, 37, 39, 79, 111, 142, 145, etc.)

    • The Theory of Money and Credit by Ludwig von Mises (70)

    • Socialism by Ludwig von Mises (109)

    • Ludwin von Mises on Money and Inflation by Bettina Bien Greaves (135)

  • Friedrich Hayek

    • Monetary Nationalism and International Stability by Friedrich Hayek (47)

    • The Use of Knowledge in Society by Friedrich Hayek (106)

    • A Tiger by the Tail by Friedrich Hayek (119)

    • Denationalization of Money by Friedrich Hayek (126)

  • Murray Rothbard

    • Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard (79)

    • America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard (49, 122)

    • The Austrian Theory of Money by Murray Rothbard (143)

    • Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure by Murray Rothbard (126, 145)

    • The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard (204)

  • Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls by Schuettinger and Butler (26, 119)
  • Gold Wars by Ferdinand Lips (27)
  • The Failure of the New Economics by Henry Hazlitt (52)
  • Economic Union and Durable Peace by Otto Mallery (53)
  • Democracy: The God That Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe (75)
  • Capital and Interest by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (79)
  • bad book by Friedman:

    • The Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz (121-126)

  • The Forgotten Depression: 1921 by James Grant (123)
  • The Scandal of Money by George Gilder (130)
  • From Zero to One by Peter Thiel (96)
  • From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun (103, 149)
  • bad books by Keynes:

    • The General Theory of Employment, Money, and Interest (137)

    • A Tract on Monetary Reform (139)

    • The End of Laissez-Faire (153)

  • On the Origins of Money by Carl Menger (142)
  • The Great Crash of 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith (155)
  • everything by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (157)
  • bad economics textbooks (159):

    • Economics: An Introductory Analysis by Paul Samuelson

    • Economics: Principles, Policies and Problems by McConnell

    • Paul Krugman

  • Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper (182)
  • The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon (human time, 193)
  • The Sovereign Individual by James Davidson and William Rees-Mogg (200)
  • 10 Hours of Bitcoin (footnote on 241)

Created: 2021-03-14
Updated: 2021-11-09

Please drop me a note to share your thoughts or if you have a book to recommend: m.kudija@gmail.com