George Selgin explores the fiscal origins of currency monopolies and the adverse consequences stemming from their establishment, including their tendency to promote booms and busts. The talk also 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 particular case of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

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