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Money and the Mechanism of Exchange

Money and the Mechanism of Exchange

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William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882) was Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Political Economy at University College London (UCL). His fertile academic writings include books on many fields like logic, the method of science, social philosophy, public policy, business cycles and economic theory.

The impact of Jevons on economics can hardly be exaggerated. As the father of Neoclassical economics, his legacy is secure; simultaneously with Carl Menger and Léon Walras he launched the Marginalist Revolution, which brought new tools to analyze and to understand human economic behavior.

In Money and The Mechanism of Exchange, Jevons discusses the metallic currency, paper currency and the system of commercial exchange. The author lays great stress upon the law first discovered by Sir Thomas Gresham, that poor money drives away good. On this ground Professor Jevons rejects the suggestion of Spencer and others who would have the coinage made a matter of public privilege. Based on this law too, he pioneered the idea that the United States could settle the adoption of a coinage which shall be of uniform value in all countries. According to Jevons, this will give the United States the opportunity to accomplish a work that will be as profitable to this country as beneficial to the world.

This book is so simple and clear in style that it is only upon reflection that we recognize the erudition and sound thinking for which the author is celebrated. The information he gives comes so naturally that it is hard to realize that the apparent self-evident truths he demonstrates are really the accumulation of many men's wisdom. Most people will be in sympathy with his conclusions, and all will find their perusal profitable.