This talk explores the fiscal origins of currency monopolies and the adverse consequences stemming from their establishment, including their tendency to promote booms and busts; reviews the origins of the doctrine that they should serve as “lenders of last resort“; and explains why last-resort lending tends in practice to generate moral hazard problems that lead to still greater financial instability. Some time is devoted to the special case of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. Recorded live at OCON 2015.


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George Selgin

George Selgin is a Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. He is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. His writings also appear on His research covers a broad range of topics within the field of monetary economics, including monetary history, macroeconomic theory, and the history of monetary thought. He is the author of The Theory of Free Banking, Bank Deregulation and Monetary Order, and several other books. He holds a B.A. in economics and zoology from Drew University, and a Ph.D. in economics from New York University.

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