Most economists believe that a growing economy requires a growing money stock, on grounds that growth gives rise to a greater demand for money, which must be accommodated.
Failing to do so, it is maintained, will lead to a decline in the prices of goods and services, which in turn will destabilize the economy and lead to an economic recession or, even worse, depression.
Since growth in money supply is of such importance, it is not surprising that economists are continuously searching for the right, or the optimum, growth rate of the money supply.
Some economists who are the followers of Milton Friedman – also known as monetarists – want the central bank to target the money supply growth rate to a fixed percentage. They hold that if this percentage is maintained over a prolonged period of time it will usher in an era of economic stability.
The idea that money must grow in order to sustain economic growth gives the impression that money somehow sustains economic activity.
According to Rothbard,
Money, per se, cannot be consumed and cannot be used directly as a producers’ good in the productive process. Money per se is therefore unproductive; it is dead stock and produces nothing.
Money’s main job is simply to fulfill the role of the medium of exchange. Money doesn’t sustain or fund real economic activity. The means of sustenance, or funding, is provided by saved real goods and services. By fulfilling its role as a medium of exchange, money just facilitates the flow of goods and services between producers and consumers.
Historically, many different goods have been used as the medium of exchange. On this, Mises observed that, over time,
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