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The Development of Monetary Economics: A Modern Perspective on Monetary Controversies

The Development of Monetary Economics: A Modern Perspective on Monetary Controversies

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`As O'Brien says, fashions in monetary economics move in cycles, and right now the idea that the quantity of money is an all important influence on inflation, and on much else as well, is none too popular. These always thoughtful and often original studies of the development of economists' ideas about money and monetary policy from the late 16th to the late 19th century do much to restore intellectual balance to the latest phase of an age-old debate, and deserve to stand alongside the classic contributions of Jacob Viner and Frank Fetter.'
- David Laidler, University of Western Ontario, Canada

The literature of monetary economics has been characterised by controversy and changes in the received wisdom throughout its history. The controversies have related not merely to the effects on incomes and prices of changes in the money supply, but even to the question of whether causality runs from money to incomes and prices or vice versa. This book begins with the pioneering work of the sixteenth century French writer Jean Bodin, followed by the celebrated John Law, and John Locke (and his eighteenth century critics). It considers both the theory and the evidence involved in the controversy between the Currency and Banking schools. Closely related to this was the work of two writers, Thomas Joplin and Walter Bagehot, both of whom provided perspectives strikingly different from those of the main controversialists and, in so doing, advanced the subject of monetary economics.

The book seeks, through the examination of monetary controversies, to provide an historical perspective on modern understanding of monetary policy. It will be essential reading for economists with an interest in monetary economics and the history of economic thought.