|US 1/10 Gold Eagle, |
modern US $5,
older US $5
Moreover, a truly agoric coinage would announce only its weight and fineness and not be denominated in money of account. If by law the “dollar” is 412 ½ grains of silver, then the definition of the dollar can change by law. Historically, this is well-known. Debasements are the rule as government expenditures outrun their incomes. The coinage suffers as their denominations increase.
On the other hand, it is important to note certain seeming contractions to
Gresham’s Law in the 19th century . Silver half dimes circulated alongside nickel 5-cent coins. Silver and nickel 3-cent coins also passed equivalently. When the government changed the weight and fineness of the coins in 1834, it declared that all issues of whatever standard were alike legal tender and it made little difference. United States
In fact, the first gold coins of the
did not state their money of account value in dollars until 1807 ($5 half eagle), 1808 ($2½ quarter eagle) and then 1838 ($10 eagle). They were gold coins, nothing more or less. Likewise, the British sovereign did not and still does not have a mark of value. United States
|Size of a half dollar and|
potentially more useful.
But the government does not need to issue its own money. In 1800 and 1802 republicans in the Senate attempted to shut down the Mint as a drain on the Treasury. Trade and commerce were carried by foreign coins, largely Spanish dollars and their factions. Meanwhile, even into the 1830s, merchants along the East Coast kept their books in pounds-shillings-pence, not dollars and cents. Gold and silver coins from
Britain, France, Spain, and were legal tender until 1857. Portugal
Problems in money and banking generate much discussion among libertarians and objectivists. Working the Libertarian Party tent at the Ann Arbor Street Fair in 2009, I heard one of my comrades denounce the Federal Reserve and declare that only the government has the right to create money. Rather than engage in all of that, I offer these links.
- Money as a Crusoe Concept
- Mere Gold is Not Enough: Hayek's "Denationalisation"
- Money as Speech and Peacemaking
- Numismatics Informs Economics
- Numismatics: the standard of proof in economics
- Murray Rothbard: Fraud or Faker?
- Debt: the Seed of Civilization