"Superficial critics of the capitalistic economic system are in the habit of directing their attacks principally against money... and yet they want this exchange to be achieved without any medium, or at least without a common medium, or money. They obviously regard the use of money as harmful and hope to overcome all social evils by eliminating it...
All the processes of our economic life appear in a monetary guise; and those who do not see beneath the surface of things are only aware of monetary phenomena and remain unconscious of deeper relationships. Money is regarded as the cause of theft and murder, of deception and betrayal. Money is blamed when the prostitute sells her body and when the bribed judge perverts the law. It is money against which the moralist declaims when he wishes to oppose excessive materialism. Significantly enough avarice is called the love of money; and all evil is attributed to it.
The confused and vague nature of such notions as these is obvious. It is not so clear whether it is thought that a return to direct exchange by itself will be able to overcome all the disadvantages of the use of money, or whether it is thought that other reforms will be necessary as well. The world makers and world improvers responsible for these notions feel no obligation to follow up their ideas inexorably to their final consequences. They prefer to call a halt at the point where the difficulties of the problem are just beginning. And this, incidentally, accounts for the longevity of their doctrines; so long as they remain nebulous, they offer nothing for criticism to seize upon."
--The Theory of Money and Credit, Chapter 6
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
the money quote
I have perhaps read a fraction of Ludwig von Mises's effusive output, but I have already corrected myself of the initial misconception that Mises wrote punctilious yet boringly dry economic texts. To witness;