In this article, we will outline some of the best resources to learn why failed economic practices led to the invention of Bitcoin by examining the first principles of economics from the perspective of the Austrian economy.
- “Economics in a Lesson” – Henry Hazlitt
- “Ethics of Money Production” – Jörg Guido Hülsmann
- “The Origin of Money” – Carl Menger
- “Anatomy of the State” – Murray N. Rothbard
- “Human Action” – Ludwig von Mises
Economics in one lesson
In Economics In One Lesson, Hazlitt argues that we need to consider the unintended, often invisible, consequences of government policy and economic activity. He illustrates this point with the “broken window fallacy” and points out that the economy will be damaged if the baker has to spend money to replace a broken window. Instead of using that money to invest in a new oven or paint job for his bakery, which will help him and other companies, his money is used to replace the window, which only helps the local glazier. Since we see broken windows help the glazier and fail to see the damage it is doing to the overall economy, many of us assume that broken windows are good for economic growth. But that’s obviously not true. In short, whenever the government or criminal window-breakers are diverting funds from the individual, the economy suffers.
The ethics of money production
The Ethics Of Money Production argues that money production should be privatized, just as most goods are produced. In this book, the author Hülsmann refutes common misunderstandings about the administration of money by the state. State control does not lead to stability, but to inflation, counterfeiting and instability. And a decentralized market is better placed to determine the value of the currency than the government. Hülsmann also points out that paper money was not voluntarily accepted when it was introduced into society. The government had to force people to use it, sometimes with the death penalty. People should be able to use any medium of exchange as long as it is voluntary. Forcing people to join a currency monopoly is unethical, restricts freedom and property rights, and opens the door to corrupt, monopoly practices.
The origins of money
In this essay, Menger argues that money does not need to be created and enforced top-down, as it comes naturally from human action. Individuals in the early economies slowly moved from directly bartering products and services to using various intermediaries to more easily obtain their desired products and services. The market testing various intermediaries will eventually dissolve into one or two popular mediums that turn into money. For most civilizations, these were gold and other precious metals. Menger’s central thesis is that money does not have to be created by human hands, but rather arises as a by-product of individuals trying to act as efficiently as possible.
Anatomy of the state
“Anatomy Of The State” follows the government’s libertarian view that the government is a parasite that needs to be checked regularly. It steals value from productive members of society and defines as greedy those who want to amass “too much” money or keep their money. From a libertarian point of view, the government needs propaganda on its behalf to justify its existence and actions, and its primary focus is on maintaining and expanding its power, not protecting or helping its citizens.
In his aptly named treatise “Human Action”, Ludwig von Mises sums up economic growth and decline as a result of human activity. Individuals create, destroy, trade and compete in an economy, and profits are inexplicably linked to progress and economic success. When individuals make a profit, they are offering a product that the market demands and are rewarded for it. When individuals lose money, they are punished for consuming resources and making a product that the market doesn’t want. According to von Mises, at the center of all economic action and progress / regression is the entrepreneur who creates something, and economic activity and entrepreneurship will not stop until the market is satisfied. This is unlikely to ever happen because market satisfaction implies that individuals are saturated with the products and services they have, and humans are insatiable creatures.
If you can make it through all of these books including the 881-page giant “Human Action” we have even more great books on Bitcoin-related topics listed in our bookstore.
This is a guest post by Siby Suriyan. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.