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The Mystery of Banking is Murray Rothbard’s 1983 book explaining the modern fractional-reserve banking system and its origins. In his June 2008 preface to the 298-page second edition, Douglas E. French suggests the work also lays out the “...devastating effects [of fractional-reserve banking] on the lives of every man, woman, and child.”

Rothbard dedicated the book to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Holt Campbell, and Ludwig von Mises, all “Champions of Hard Money.”


Chapter I Money: Its Importance and Origins 1. The Importance of Money 2. How Money Begins 3. The Proper Qualities of Money 4. The Money Unit

Chapter II What Determines Prices: Supply and Demand

Chapter III Money and Overall Prices 1. The Supply and Demand for Money and Overall Prices 2. Why Overall Prices Change

Chapter IV The Supply of Money 1. What Should the Supply of Money Be? 2. The Supply of Gold and the Counterfeiting Process 3. Government Paper Money 4. The Origins of Government Paper Money

Chapter V The Demand for Money 1. The Supply of Goods and Services 2. Frequency of Payment 3. Clearing Systems 4. Confidence in the Money 5. Inflationary or Deflationary Expectations

Chapter VI Loan Banking

Chapter VII Deposit Banking 1. Warehouse Receipts 2. Deposit Banking and Embezzlement 3. Fractional Reserve Banking 4. Bank Notes and Deposits

Chapter VIII Free Banking and The Limits on Bank Credit Inflation

Chapter IX Central Banking: Removing the Limits

Chapter X Central Banking: Determining Total Reserves 1. The Demand for Cash 2. The Demand for Gold 3. Loans to the Banks 4. Open Market Operations

Chapter XI Central Banking: The Process of Bank Credit Expansion 1. Expansion from Bank to Bank 2. The Central Bank and the Treasury

Chapter XII The Origins of Central Banking 1. The Bank of England 2. Free Banking in Scotland 3. The Peelite Crackdown, 1844-1845

Chapter XIII Central Banking in the United States: The Origins 1. The Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States 2. The Second Bank of the United States

Chapter XIV Central Banking in the United States: The 1820's to the Civil War 1. The Jacksonian Movement and the Bank War 2. Decentralized Banking from the 1830's to the Civil War

Chapter XV Central Banking in the United States The National Banking System 1. The Civil War and the National Banking System 2. The National Banking Era and the Origins of the Federal Reserve System

Chapter XVI Central Banking in the United States: The Federal Reserve System 1. The Inflationary Structure of the Fed 2. The Inflationary Policies of the Fed

Chapter XVII Conclusion: The Present Banking Situation and What to Do About It 1. The Road to the Present 2. The Present Money Supply 3. How to Return to Sound Money

See also

External links

  • The Mystery of Banking, 1983 edition, online PDF[1]
  • The Mystery of Banking, 2008 edition, online at scribd [2]
  • Foreword to the 2008 edition of The Mystery of Banking by Joseph Salerno [3]


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