January 1, 1996

Free Banking in Britain: Theory, Experience, and Debate, 1800-1845

  • Lawrence H. White

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
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Free banking, generically speaking, denotes a monetary system without a central bank, under which the issuing of currency is left to private banks. This book explores how this could work in practice by examining how this has worked historically, specifically in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century. After building a theory of free banking, its central chapters explore the history of Scotland’s experience of free banking and the contemporary policy debate over the question of whether Parliament should allow free banking in England.

Download or purchase the volume at the Institute of Economic Affairs.