The Mystery of Banking

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The Mystery of Banking
Mystery of banking 1st edition cover.jpg
1st edition cover
Author Murray N. Rothbard
Country United States
Subject Economics
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Richardson & Snyder
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 286 pp.
ISBN 0-943940-04-4
OCLC 10069727

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 1820s to the Civil War
  1. The Jacksonian Movement and the Bank War
  2. Decentralized Banking from the 1830s 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

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