Summary of Central Banks: Reform or Abolish?

Cato Institute,

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Central Banks: Reform or Abolish? summary
For stability, revive the gold standard, dismantle central banks and let “free banks” compete to issue currency.


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In this contrarian critique of central banks, Cato Institute senior fellow Gerald O’Driscoll makes a compelling case for letting competing banks issue their own forms of exchange and for a return to the gold standard. O’Driscoll doesn’t identify a source of political will for such an upheaval, but he embraces the notion with zest. getAbstract recommends his ideas to investors, policy makers, business students and anyone seeking insights about central banking.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why economist Milton Friedman argued in favor of monopolistic central banks
  • Why competing currency issuers are a better idea


Central banks’ monopoly on money leads raises a simple question: Should central banks exist? Economic theory holds that a monopoly should exist only for a good reason. In 1960, economist Milton Friedman – believing that free and open competition leads to an unfettered issuance of money – held that only...
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About the Author

Gerald O’Driscoll is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is an expert on global monetary and financial issues.

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