Monetary Theory before Adam Smith

Monetary Theory before Adam Smith

Monetary Theory before Adam Smith

Monetary Theory before Adam Smith

Excerpt

Few aspects of modern economic discussion have their roots so deeply in the past as the theory of money. Not only were most phases of it discussed before the time of Adam Smith, but some of our ideas concerning it may almost be called commonplaces since the beginning of the Modern Age. A knowledge of this material is, therefore, indispensable for a proper appreciation of the work of later writers. No survey of early monetary theory has been available in English, however, and no adequate one in other languages. This was brought home to me some years ago, when I was trying to evaluate the work of certain early American pamphleteers, and as a result I abandoned my original project and undertook the present study.

As will be clear from the table of contents, this is a history of theories rather than of theorists or of their times. The ideas of each writer, instead of being presented as a whole, have been considered in connection with various convenient and significant subdivisions of the subject. This heightens the impression of continuity, facilitates the comparison of ideas, and brings out relations which might otherwise escape notice. Brief general estimates of the work of particular writers are given in the several introductory chapters. To spare the reader the tedium of repetition and diffuseness considerable rearranging of scattered ideas has been necessary, but care has been taken not to read anything into a writer that is not consistent with his work as a whole. References to general and monetary history have been kept at a minimum; for, although such information often helps to explain the interests, policies, and even the errors of the writers . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.