Silvio Gesell: The Natural Economic Order

Silvio Gesell (1862-1930)

Silvio Gesell

Silvio Gesell was born at St. Vith on the German-Luxembourg frontier of a German father and a French mother. In 1886 he migrated to Argentina, prospered as importer and manufacturer, and became interested in the currency question during the world depression of 1873-96. In his first work, "Currency Reform as Bridge to the Social State" (1891), Gesell made the celebrated proposal for unhoardable money. Further studies on the disastrous effects of deflation and the necessity for stabilizing the purchasing power of money followed. Retiring to Switzerland, Gesell brought out a periodical for currency and land reform and in 1906 wrote his main book, The Natural Economic Order.

In 1919 Gustav Landauer, one of the chief figures of the German Revolution of 1918-19, invited Gesell to become finance minister in the shortlived Bavarian Republic. Both men were arrested and charged with treason. Landauer was murdered in prison; Gesell was acquitted. He continued to publish actively in Berlin where he died in 1930.

About The Natural Economic Order:

Gesell's celebrated work on monetary and social reform is a modern attempt to provide a solid basis for economic liberalism, the creed of Adam Smith and almost all the great nineteenth century economists in contrast to the twentieth century trend of collectivism and planned economy - accompanied by 'austerity', 'import restriction', 'dollar shortage', 'pegging the exchanges' and 'credit squeeze'. Silvio Gesell There is now again trend toward economic liberalism: private initiative, free trade and free exchanges. Economic liberalism, believed to have been strongly influenced by Gesell's book, has produced the "West German miracle", the quickest and by far most complete recovery of any country that had been under the bombs.

The book gives the economist, the politician and the businessman clear insight into the mechanism and dangers of inflation and deflation and contains an authorative account of unhoardable money, money that causes its holder carrying costs - a completely original idea important in monetary theory and practice..

Some comments on the book:

"I believe that the future will learn more from the spirit of Gesell than from that of Marx."

J.M. Keynes

"Clarity and literary grace...Theoretically perfectly sound"

Hugh Gaitskell

"May I say at once how delighted I am that there is to be a translation of this book?"

Professor E.A.G. Robinson,
Joint Editor of the Economic Journal, 1957.


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