That instability was bad for trade was something felt by everyone from the humblest peddler to the businessman well versed in monetary mechanisms. In fact, all too often the effects of a crisis became one with the causes, and the paralysis resulting from a lack of currency was hard to distinguish from that deriving from the uncertainties that accompany any change, even if the latter claims to be a remedy for the insufficiency. But there was also belief in the miracle cure that could breathe life back into the currency: "Thus, trade, which is dead or slack, would be entirely recovered by means of the black coinage and the extensive issue that will be made of them."
This was the advice given to Philip the Fair by the money changers of Tours, Troyes, Orleans, and Poitiers: salvation would come with the multiplication of coinage, even if it was base silver. Quantity, not quality, was the answer. During this period, others less competent than these money changers even recommended a return to the old heavy coin.
Ordinary people were ignorant of the workings of the monetary system. They saw the changes in the coinage made by the prince not as a reaction to fluctuations in the economic climate but as an expression of his will. They believed that the prince made changes in the currency for the profit he might derive; to benefit the landowners, in the rare cases where the money of account was strengthened; or to ruin the nobility or the clergy, in the more frequent cases where money was devalued. It went without saying that any change would benefit the speculator. In any case, the high