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Money in the Western Legal TraditionMiddle Ages to Bretton Woods$
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David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.001.0001

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Money in Medieval Philosophy

Money in Medieval Philosophy

(p.53) 4 Money in Medieval Philosophy
Money in the Western Legal Tradition

Fabian Wittreck

Oxford University Press

This chapter delves into the influence of medieval philosophy, specifically scholasticism, on the development of early monetary law. Scholasticism is a method of critical thought that focuses on three issues concerning money. The first pertains to the notion, function, and basic morality of the use of money itself. The second addresses the central issue of usury and the closely related notion of the ‘just price’ (iustum pretium). The third deals with the effect of sovereign power on money, notably the conceptions of valor impositus and the formal debasement of coinage. The chapter also looks into the notions of one of the foremost Scholastics, St Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas established money as a necessary instrument with a capacity for fulfilling important functions for the common good. At the same time, he tried to draw normative boundaries for the public and private handling of this ‘instrument of justice’.

Keywords:   medieval philosophy, scholasticism, monetary law, critical thought, money, just price, valor impositus, Thomas Aquinas

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