Bimetallism: An Economic and Historical Analysis

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This book presents a history of Western monetary systems and explains why the system was preferred to a gold standard before 1800. Professor Redish argues that the technological ability to issue fiduciary monies, and a commitment mechanism to prevent opportunistic governments changing the ratio between the currency and a unit of gold, were (frequently overlooked) prerequisites for the emergence of the Classical gold standard. The simplicity of the gold standard, a monetary system where there is a fixed ratio between a weight of gold and a unit of currency, makes it an obvious focus for discussion of commodity money systems, and for contrasts with today's fiat money regimes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Any historian of monetary standards needs not only to read Bimetallism: An Economic and Historical Analysis but also to keep a copy nearby...Redish has produced a wonderful book that any scholar of monetary standards will admire. All in all, my reaction to Bimetallism: An Economic and Historical Analysis is unqualified admiration." EH.Net

"Redish has produced a lovely and enlightening study of money systems from the medieval period to the present...The work is beautifully enriched by Redish's excellent integration of historical and economic analysis...A most commendable publication. Highly recommended for lower-division undergraduate through faculty collections." ls Choice

"The book provides an anlytical and descriptive history of the monetary standard...'The book attempts to straddle the gap between these two literatures, to allow for more complex monetary system than the economists' 'commodity money' and to find generalities that are buried in the historians' details'. Redish succeeds admirably in this goal." Lawrence H. Officer, Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521028936
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Series: Studies in Macroeconomic History Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. From the Carolingian penny to the Classical gold standard; 2. The mechanics of commodity money; 3. Bimetallism before the nineteenth century; 4. The issue of small-denomination coins; 5. Token coinage and the gold standard in the United Kingdom; 6. Transition to the gold standard in France; 7. Bimetallism in the United States; 8. Conclusions; References; Index.

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