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The Great Fractional Reserve/Freebanking Debate

Back in the 1990s there was a fascinating debate carried on among various Austrians, mostly in the pages of the Review of Austrian Economics (RAE) or Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (QJAE), on the issue of fractional-reserve banking and so-called free banking. On the one hand were Rothbardians such as Hoppe, Hülsmann, Huerta de Soto, and Salerno; on the other, supporters of freebanking such as Selgin, White, Dowd, and Horwitz. The Rothbardians believe fractional-reserve banking is unstable and fraudulent; the free bankers disagree. My own take is that the Rothbardians are right on the economics, although I think the fraud charge could be obviated with sufficient warnings to customers and recipients of FRB notes.

I’ve compiled below a chronological listing of these pieces, and a few other works, with links to online versions, where available, for those who feel like reading up on this interesting issue. This is basically a (skeletal) ebook.

If anyone is aware of any significant material I have omitted, please let me know.

Update: I’ve combined most of the “main debate” and “subsequent discussion” files into a single PDF.

Background material:

Main debate:

Two books that came out after the initial debate had mostly died down:

Subsequent/other blog discussions and articles:

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