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Making MoneyCoin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism$
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Christine Desan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709572.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 September 2021

Epilogue to the 18th century

Epilogue to the 18th century

The Gold Standard in an era of inconvertibility

(p.404) 11 Epilogue to the 18th century
Making Money

Christine Desan

Oxford University Press

Crisis at the end of the 18th century caused the British to suspend the redeemability of bank currency. During the “era of inconvertibility” that followed, the British recognized that currency as the domestic unit of account. Influential commentators also advocated its discipline by the Gold Standard, a mechanism that tied money production to international trade in bullion. The chapter considers the aim of the mechanism to be self-equilibrating and the credit-based dynamics that undermined that hope. The British ended the era by attempting to resolve the constitutional dilemma they created when they distributed authorship of a public resource to private hands. According to the settlement represented by the Gold Standard, the legitimacy of the government’s actions would depend on how effectively they protected individuated incentives rather than collective needs.

Keywords:   Gold Standard, Bullion Committee, inconvertibility, gold, gold compass, self-equilibrating, asset bubble, lender of last resort

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