Lawrence White’s pioneering work, Free Banking in Britain, was first published in 1984. Between then and 1995, when this second edition was first issued, the literature on free banking expanded considerably. For the second edition, the author not only revised the text, but also added a new chapter incorporating a revised version of a reply to his critics first published in 1991.
The result was a significantly expanded edition of a book about privately issued currency which had especial relevance to the introduction of directly transferable ‘smartcard’ balances.
‘Larry White’s Free Banking in Britain is one of those books that alter forever one’s view of the history of monetary policy, the role of central banks, and indeed the need to regulate banking at all. Is banking really different from ordinary goods and services? I do not know whether White’s argument will stand the test of time, but I do know that we will go back to this book again and again whenever we consider the case for free banking.’ Professor Mark Blaug, University of Exeter