Those good people at the Institute of Economic Affairs have put this fine study of free banking, as it existed in Scotland until the middle of the 19th Century, back into print. It is examined in great detail, with lots of figures and examples of how these banks operated, how many bank failures there were, and so forth. There are a few equations but nothing that should faze all but the most mathematically challenged. Historical scholarship of this detail and depth is vital. It is as vital, in fact, as those studies that showed that in Victorian Britain, before the Welfare State came along, Britain already had an extensive network of mutual aid societies. Without this historical memory, it becomes easier for politicians to sell the lie that the solution to X or Y lies in ever bigger government.
Readers can either read the pdf for free or, if it is tough on the eyesight, as it is for me, readers can get a publication-on-demand sorted out for just £10.
I do not suggest that free banking is necessarily the panacea for the current troubles. But it seems to me that a point lost on the anti-globalistas as well as many of the other critics of the current financial system is that they fail to grasp how banking, as it is practised in most instances today, has deviated from a genuine example of laissez faire capitalism. What we need is sound money, administered by banks operating under the constant blast of competition in proving the soundness of that money. When you think about it, it is not very hard to grasp the idea, is it?