677 Where trade is free, the filet de boeuf, for instance, is worth four times as much as the flesh of the ox's neck or throat; but prices fixed by a government can scarcely take cognizance of the difference. How easily might not a fixed price for beer, for instance, be evaded by diluting that beverage with water, or fixed prices for inn-keepers by dealing out portions smaller in quantity or of an inferior quality. Moreover, as early a writer as De la Court, Polit. Discoursen, 1662, c. 4, remarks that the establishment of fixed prices by governmental authority raises the average price of all commodities rather than lowers it, for the reason that the few who are sellers by trade can do more to influence the authorities than the many buyers, whose interests are divided among numberless different commodities.
678 Schaeffle, Nat.-OEkonomie, II, 384 f.
679 Banfield, Organization of Industry, 120. "Where the economic life of a people is still undeveloped, and the production of one enterprise is not from the first based on the estimated consumption of another, the circulation of goods brings with it great profits and great losses; whereas, profits and losses grow smaller, but at the same time more uniform and regular, in proportion as the circulation of goods increases in rapidity and regularity." (Stein, Lehrbuch, 212.)
680 In Belgium, during the last forty years, the price of wheat has become more constant every year, while the price of rye has become more variable; for the reason that rye has gradually ceased to be an article of popular consumption, and therefore to be an important article in trade, and is consumed almost entirely and directly by its producers. (Horn, Statist. Gemaelde von B., 1853, 185.) Rodbertus rightly conjectures that the price of wheat was much more variable in ancient times than it is with us. (Hildebrand's Jahrb., 1870, I, 36.) That it was so may be inferred from the surprisingly large family supplies which were laid in, as appears from Digest, XXXIII, De Penu legato.
681 In Wuertemberg even officials etc. buy their own wine almost always directly from the vintner. This causes prices there to be exceedingly variable, frequently from hour to hour. (v. Reden, Statist. Zeitschrift, Nov. 1847, 1008.) How greatly the mere presence of a regular market has contributed to make prices more constant, may be seen in the suburbs of Hamburg, where fish offered for sale on the street are sold in the evening for one-third of the price asked for them in the morning. Besides, purchases made with a view to speculation may increase the variations of price, if the speculation is unskillfully conducted, especially when a low rate of interest, and of the profit of the person engaged in it, has produced a blind race among the speculators. Here the price of a commodity rises, not from any natural cause, but because it once rose before, and vice versa. (Senior, Outlines, 17 ff.; Hermann, 90 ff.)
682 That fixed prices suppose that men are engaged in the production of the commodity in question, as their calling in life, see Garve, Zu Cicero's Pflichten, III, 64 ff. Chess-like commerce of colporteurs, and in caravans etc. Concerning the dreadful higgling of the Bedouins, see Wellsted, Reise in Arabien, Roediger's translation, I, 147; and the still worse bantering in Cashmere, where the merchant, in the first place, always denies that he possesses the desired commodity, then begins to search for it, in order to discover what value the purchaser puts upon it etc. (K. Ritter, Erdkunde, III, 475.) On the practices in Indian fairs, see Th. Skinner, Excursion in India, 1832, I, ch. 6; on the bazaars in Asia, Andree, Globus XII, 7, 211. Herberstein says of the Russians in the sixteenth century: mercantur fallacissime et dolosissime nec paucis verbis ... mercatores nonnunquam non uno tantum aut altera mense suspensos detinent, verum ad extremam desperationem perducere solent. Hence the great variations in prices and commodities. (Rerum Moscov. Commentt., ed. Starczewski, 39 f.) Similarly also, in 1674, according to Kilburger: Buesching's Magazin, III, 249. But, on the contrary, it is said of the Plescovers, educated by intercourse with the Hanse; tanta integritas ... in contractibus, ut uno tantum verbo res ipsas indicarent omni verbositate in fraudem emptoris omissa. (Herberstein, 52.) In the England of the present day, the custom of marking each piece of goods with its price is very general. Concerning the rapidity and the paucity of words with which prices are settled in that country, where business men do not even salute their customers, nor customers the business man, see C. G. Simon, Observations recueillies en Angleterre, 1835, I, 129 f. The Athenian laws (?), that fixed prices should be asked, and that sellers should not sit down that that they might sell more rapidly, points to something similar. (Athen., VI, 226 f. Plato, De Legg., XI, 916 f.) Athenian law prohibiting mendacity in the markets. (See Demosth., Lept., 459.)
683 Thus the German book-trade has fixed prices. Many merchants never make an offer to their educated customers who are wont to do so with peasants etc.; because they are aware that the latter purchase only after they have compelled the seller to come down greatly from his first proposed price. Among the Quakers it has been a rule from the beginning, never to ask more for their wares than they were determined to accept. (Hume, History of England, ch. 62.)
684 Sir William Temple, Observations upon the Netherlands, Works I, 134, compares honor in trade to discipline in an army. Similarly, Law, Trade and Money, 209 f. Ferguson, History of Civil Society, III, 4. Where the seller is not obliged to make known the existence of certain defects in his wares to the purchaser before sale, there is always scope for fraud. Compare Digest De Edict. aedilit., XXI, I. On the meaning of the German legal maxims: Hand muss Hand wahren, and Ein Wort, ein Mann, see Eisenhart, Deutsches Recht in Spruechwoertern, 311 f., 319 f. It is a principle in matters of business, that the person who through malice or carelessness recommends a man of whose probity there is already some doubt, should bear the damage caused by his recommendation. (Martens, Grundriss des Handelsrechtes, 24 ff.) Many attempts at dishonesty are prevented by laws which in important contracts, especially in sales of land etc., require the presence of witnesses, and this particularly in the lower stages of civilization. (Meier and Schoemann, Attischer Process, 522; Roman, Emancipatio; Grimm, Deutsche Rechtsalterthuemer, 608 f.), or even a public proclamation before the assembled community, at least written documents invested with all legal formalities as practiced among civilized peoples. On Greek laws of this nature, see especially, Theophrast., in Stobaeus, Sermon., XLIV, 22. Very remarkable in Sparta. Schol. Aristophan., Aves, 1284.
685 Compare Lotz, Revision, I, 255 ff. In England the price of wheat scarcely ever varied more than from 1 to 2. In Ireland the price of potatoes varied from 1 to 6. (McCulloch, Comm. Dict., v. Potatoes.) Compare Engel, Jahrbuch fuer Sachsen, I, 491 ff. The custom of asking enormous prices with the expectation of being beaten down, is usual in Italy and carried to a frightful extent, and related to the bad custom prevalent there of begging a little after-payment to every little gratuity or drink-money which has been received.
686 Storch, Handbuch, I, 311. J. B. Say, Traite I, ch. 16. As to how commerce, when fully developed, is wont to be more moral than when only half developed, see Garve, loc. cit., and Versuche IV, 149 ff. How fortunate for the public economy of nations that the prices of corn especially have been growing more steady all the time since the middle ages. See Roscher, Ueber Kornhandel, 56, 61.
687 Trade by barter was very general in several states of the American Union about the close of the eighteenth century. In Vermont, for instance, it was usual for a doctor to exchange his medicines against a horse, and for the printer to buy corn, butter etc. with a newspaper. (Ebeling, Geschichte und Erdbeschreibung, II, 537.) In Maryland, the Assembly fixed by law the relative proportions at which tobacco, pork, corn and wheat should be exchanged the one against the other. (Ebeling, V, 435 ff. Douglas, Summary of the British Settlements in N. America, 1670, V, 2, 359.) Even as late as 1815, children were wont to run the streets of Corrientes, crying: "Salt for candles, tobacco for bread etc." It was commerce with England that first led to trade by money in the United States. (Robertson, Letters on South America, 1843, I, 52.) Similarly in Rhokand until the end of the eighteenth century, where the cities, as a consequence, presented the appearance of a fair the whole year round. In the beginning of this century, the khan introduced the use of copper money made from Persian cannons; and much later yet, there were scarcely a million rubles in money to a million men. (Ritter, Erdkunde, VII, 753.) Basil Hall found the uncivilized inhabitants of the Loo-Choo Islands ignorant of the use of money. (Voyage of Discovery, 1818.) Concerning trade by barter in the Homeric age, see the Iliad, VII, 472 ff. A supposed law of Lycurgus prohibited the use of money in purchases, and allowed barter only. (Justin., III, 2.) According to Pausan., III, 12, only barter existed in India (?) in his time.
688 The person who has been used to paying for four pounds of meat with twenty pounds of bread, and is asked to give twenty pounds of bread in exchange for some other article, must of course have some unit of measure in his mind to serve as a means of comparison between the value of that article and that of four pounds of meat. In Denmark, during the rule of the aristocracy, there were fixed prices sanctioned by the tradition of long usage, in accordance with which the prices of all commodities were estimated in relation to a ton of barley or rye—a natural consequence, apparently, of the want of a common measure to govern in the greater number of transactions. Bergsoe, Archiv der Polit. OEk., IV, 314; Graugan's Icelandic Code contains a remarkable fixed price of this nature in the supplement to the Kaupa-Balkr or Commercial Code, I, p. 500. Similarly among the ancient Persians. Reynier, Economie publique des Perses, 308.
689 That is, (200x(200-1))/2. Compare Rau in Storch, Handbuch, III, 253. The "at least" has reference to the fact, that in barter, the many different kinds of most commodities has to be borne in mind. (Knies, Geld und Credit, I, 218.)
690 This transportation of values supposes an equality of values of the money in two places, while the transportation of goods supposes different values of the same kind of goods in both places. (Knies, Geld und Credit, I, 218.)
691 While the words pecunia, danaro, dinero, and argent, are all derived from unessential qualities, the German word for money, Geld, corresponds with the essential quality of money, since it denotes that which is of value everywhere (gilt). On the other hand, nummus and νόμισμα from νόμος, (Boeckh. Metrolog. Unters., 310.), moneta (the English, money), are from the temple of Juno Moneta, in which the Roman coins were for a long time stamped. In old German, the word for money, Geld, means everything that is paid by any one. (Grimm, D. Rechtsalterth., 382.) The present meaning of the word is to be met with in a very old document of 1327. (Arnold, z. Geschichte des Eigenthums in den deutschen Staedten, 89.)
692 The wrong definitions of money may be divided into two classes: those which convey the idea that it is more than a commodity, and those which imply that it is less.
This was a point which was contested even among the Greeks. There were many who claimed that wealth consisted exclusively in the possession of much money; as we find, for instance, in the pseudo-Platonic dialogue Eryxias; while others insisted that money was something purely imaginary (λῆρος), and the creation, exclusively, of human laws. (Aristot., Polit., I, 3, 16, Schn.) Νόμισμα σύμβολον τῆς ἀλλαγῆς ἔνεκα. (Plato, De Rep., II, 371.) Anacharsis compares money to counters. (Plutarch, De Profectt in Virtute.) Aristotle, himself, subscribed to the second opinion, although he saw clearly, that only useful and current things (χρείαν εὐμεταχείριστον πρὸς τὸ ζῆν) could be used as money. (Polit., I, 3, 14 ff. Eth. Nicom., V, 5, 6, Rhet., II, 16.) Xenophon ascribed properties to money which no other commodity possessed; especially when he said that it could never be too plentiful, and that its price could never fall. (De Vectt. Ath., 4.) The finest ancient explanation of the nature of money is that of the jurisconsult Paullus, L. I.; Digest, XVIII, 1; and it well deserves the long commentary devoted to it by P. Neri, Osservazioni etc., in Custodi, P.A., VI, 324, ff.
Among the moderns, Melancthon., Corp. Ref., XVI, 498, and Seb. Frank, Chronik., 760, consider money as a mere symbol. On the other hand, the over-estimation in which the precious metals were held by the adherents of the Mercantile System was owing, without doubt, to their very superior utility as money; for we very frequently find that the adherents of that school insist that the precious metals must circulate. (See 9 and 210.) v. Schroeder, Fuerstl. Schatz- und Rentkammer, III f., considers new copper coins as an increase of the national wealth, but not other copper which is merely a commercial commodity. He frequently calls money, the pendulum commercii, and expresses ideas concerning it as enthusiastic as they are obscure (p. 86.) Horneck, in his Oesterreich ueber Alles wenn es will, 1864, calls gold and silver "our best blood, the very marrow of our strength," and "the two most indispensable universal instruments of human activity and existence." (p. 188.) Th. Mun, England's Treasure by forraign Trade, 1664, (ch. 2) considers cash-money and resources as synonymous in every way. Only, he says (ch. 4) that it is sometimes advisable to allow one's money to remain in foreign countries, and to use bills of exchange, banks etc., at home, as a substitute. F. Gee, Trade and Commerce of Gr. Britain, edition of 1738, laments the "stiff-necked folly of those who think money a commodity like any other." It is one of the most common demands of the adherents of the Mercantile System that the home mines of gold and silver should be worked at no matter what sacrifice, since the money employed in working them continues to remain in the country and the newly coined precious metal is clear gain. Compare Schroeder, loc. cit. 109 ff., 181. Horneck, loc. cit. 173. Broggia, Della Monete, 1743, cap. 33; v. Fusti, Staatswirthschaft, 1755, I, 246: Forbonnais, Finances de France, 1758, I, 148. Ulloa, Noticias Americanas, 1772, ch. 12. We seldom meet with the correct view on this subject in the seventeenth century. Sully, of whom Henry IV. said that he never found anything to be possessed of beauty which cost double its real value, had it at times. (Economies royales, LXXIII.) So had v. Seckendorff, Teutscher Fuerstenstaat, 1655, 5th edition.
It is in accordance with the usual course of human development that the exaggerations of the Mercantile System led to a reaction characterized by an exaggeration in the opposite direction. Even Davanzati, Sulle Monete, 1588, traces the value of money back to human convention and refuses to find it in nature. A natural calf, he thinks, is piu nobile than a golden one; although he elsewhere expresses his admiration of the precious metals, calls them cagioni seconde della vita beata, and lauds them because they procure us tutt'essi beni (20, 21, Cust.) Montanari (ob., 1687) demonstrates from the use of leather money etc., that the authority of the state is the only power which gives money its character as money. (Della Moneta, 35.) Davenant (ob., 1714) carries his inclination to call money "the servant of trade, measure of trade," so far as to compare it to a ticket or counter. (Works, I, 355, 444.) Strongly as Law, himself, opposes the convention theory (Trade and Money, ch. I; Sur l' Usage des Monnaies, 1720, p. 1.), his disciple Dutot, in his Reflexions polit. sur le Commerce et les Finances, 1738, 905, ed. Daire, contrasts not only paper money but also gold and silver as representative wealth, with real wealth. Berkeley, Querist, 1735, teaches that the real notion of money is not that of a "commodity, standard, measure, pledge, but [No. 23] ticket or counter, entitling to power and fitted to record and transfer such power." (441, 475.) Even if the names, livre, shilling etc., remain, and the metal is dropped, every article may still as well as before be counted and sold, industry promoted and the course of commerce preserved. (p. 440.) According to Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, XXI, 22, gold and silver are a richesse de fiction ou de signe. Compare Lettres persanes, II, 18. Benjamin Franklin also maintains that the value of gold, for instance, is principally a credit-value. Remarks relative to the American Paper-Money, 1765, Works, II, Sparks' edition. Forbonnais, Finances de France, I, 86 f., calls money, simply a means to put commodities, which alone have value originally, in circulation. Hence it is, in itself, a matter of indifference whether, for a given quantity of coin, a person gives one thaler, or ten. In the Elements de Commerce, I, 11, II, 67 ff., he draws a distinction between richesses naturelles (raw material), artificielles (manufactured products), and richesses de convention (money.) von Schloezer, Aufangsgruende, 1805, 100, 138, calls money something imagined; and Th. Smith, Essay on the Theory of Money and Exchange, 1807, asserts, that true money is only an ideal measure of value, of which coins in turn are only the representatives. Compare, however, Edinb. Review, Oct., 1808. Oppenheim, Die Natur des Geldes, 1855, grants that in the beginnings of trade, money possessed the character of a commodity; but says that as soon as the services of circulation of the money-commodity prevailed over its services in consumption, it lost all its importance for the latter purpose, and that all relations dependent thereon ceased. At present, he claims money is only the representative of commodities, but no commodity itself. See, on the other hand, Roscher's critical analysis in the Literarisches Centralblatt, 1855, December.
The true doctrine was advocated in a classic form by Nicolaus Oresmius (ob. 1382). See his Tractatus de Origine et Jure nec non et Mutationibus Monetarum, newly edited by Wolowski: Paris, 1864. See Roscher's essay in the Comptes rendus of the Academie des Sciences morales et politiques, vol. 62, 435 ff. Based on the latter we have Gabr. Biel (ob. 1495), De Monetarum Potestate simul et Utilitate, 1542, and G. Agricola, De Re metallica, 1556, I, 4 ff. This true doctrine was acclimated earliest in England and Holland, and before the mercantile system invaded them. Compare Hobbes, Leviathan, 24, in which the concoctio bonorum is described by means of money, and the full and clear chapter 12 of Salmasius, De Usuris (1638), who, among other things, shows how Midas, who turned everything into bread, died of thirst. Petty shows very clearly that national wealth does not consist exclusively nor mainly in money. Every country, he says, needs a certain quantity of money to carry on trade. It would be a waste to increase the former, the latter remaining the same. But the precious metals, by reason of their durability and universally recognized value, possess the character of wealth in a higher degree than other commodities.
On the whole, the use of money in a nation is like the use of fat in the individual. (Quantulumcunque concerning Money, 1682.) Compare Roscher, z. Geschichte der eng. Volkswirthschaftslehre, 80 f. Davanzati and Hobbes had compared it to the blood, as has recently Schmitthenner, Staatswissenschaften, 1839, I, 459. North calls money a commodity of which there may be an excess as well as a want. (Discourse on Trade, preface and postscript.) Compare Locke, Considerations on the Lowering of Interest, 1691, Works II, 13 ff., 19. Galiani, 1750, Della Moneta, IV, holds a very happy middle place between the alchymists and the philosophic contemners of gold. See, further, Quesnay, ed. Daire, 64, 75 ff. Turgot, Sur la Formation des Richesses, 30 ff, had many clear views on this subject. Verri, Meditazioni, 1771, II, 1, calls money the universally current commodity. The expressions, measure of value, pledge, representative of all commodities might be true also of all other wares. It cannot, however, be denied that most modern political economists have not borne sufficiently in mind the peculiarities which distinguish money from all other commodities, as is apparent from the doctrine of the balance of trade prevalent in Hume's and Adam Smith's time. To this extent, therefore, the semi-mercantilistic reaction instituted by Ganilh, Theorie de l'Economie politique, 2822, II, 380 ff., 426; St. Chamans, N. Essai sur la Richesse des Nations, 1824, ch. 3; and Colton, Public Economy for the United States, 1849, 203 ff., who bring into relief the difference between "money as the subject" and "money as the instrument of trade," was not wholly unfounded. Ad. Mueller exaggerates a correct thought, and causes it to degenerate into a species of mystic pleasantry, when he calls every individual in the state and every commodity that possesses value, in exchange or a social character, money.
The highest object of the state is to develop this money-character more and more. (Elemente der Staatskunst, II, 194, 199.) The statesman, he says, should be money. (III, 206.) A very valuable monograph on this subject is M. Chevalier's De la Monnaie, 1850, constituting the third volume of his Cours d'Economie polititique. Knies, Geld und Credit, I, 1873, is here most thorough and acute, especially in keeping separate, by well defined lines of demarcation, the five different functions of money: measure of value (by proper division into parts: price-measure), instrument of exchange, means of transportation of values, and means of storing up and preserving values.
693 Knies shows how the making of money legal tender by the state, although of only secondary importance, is by no means an irrelevant matter, since persons must then have it, even if they do not want it for purposes of use or exchange, to discharge their liabilities thereby etc., etc. (Tuebinger, Zetschrift, 1858, 272.)
In all these cases, barter-economy (Naturalwirthschaft) meets with greater and greater difficulties as civilization advances. How, for instance, could 50 days annually of socage-service or labor be redeemed by the achievement at one time of 1,000 days of socage-service or labor? The rich man requires money principally as a means of payment, the poor man as a medium of exchange. The requirement or need of a people of media of payment is much more susceptible of extension or contraction, than that of media of exchange, made especially so by the intervention of claim-rights instead of money. (Knies, loc. cit, 200 ff.) Ravit, Beitr. z. Lehre vom Gelde, emphasizes this feature of money altogether too much after the manner of a jurist. But he is entirely right in adopting the exclusion of the rei vindicatio against the honest possessor as necessary to the completion of the idea of money.
694 Sismondi, N.P., I, 131, very rightly remarks that this has made practice as much easier as it has theory more difficult.
695 Law, Trade and Money, 19. Hence, before the invention of money, scarcely anything but the things most indispensable to existence were produced. Were there no money, there would be very few scholars, artists etc.; for the classes who produce most of the things indispensable to existence make but few demands for them. Buesch, Geldumlauf, I, 11 ff., 36, II, 54.
696 Turgot, Formation et Distribution, 48 ff. Commodities which perish rapidly could be produced by persons devoting themselves to their production as a business only after the invention of small coin. (Lueder, N. OEk., 1820, 283.)
697 Compare Knies, Geld und Credit, I, 219.
698 Compare Schmitthenner, loc. cit., I, 457. One of the principal advantages of money consists in this, that every producer can discover what there is an over-supply or under-supply of in the nation, by means of the relation of the price in money of his products to the cost of producing them, estimated in money, (v. Thuenen, Isolirte Staat, II, 2, 235.)
699 Hence it is that so many socialists attack money. Th. More assures us that with the simple abolition of money, vice and misery would, for the most part, disappear of themselves. Hence in his Utopia, criminals are bound in golden chains and the chamber-pots are made of gold and silver in order to make these metals contemptible. (Ed. 1555, ff., 197 ff.) Similar views among the over-cultured Romans. (Compare 79, 204.) Auri sacra fames. Virgil, AEneid, III, 56. Pliny, too, would recall the days of trade by barter. (H. N., XXXIII, 3.) Even in Boisguillebert, Factum de la France, ch. 4, we find, together with many correct views on the nature of money, passionate declamation against it because of its darker side. Argent criminel. (Detail de la France, 7. Dissertation sur la Nature des Richesses etc.) More recently this darker side has been dwelt upon by F. Moeser, Patriot. Phant., I, 28; Ortes, Economia nazionale, II, 17, and the would-be restorer of the middle ages, Ad. Mueller. While the latter writer lauds the feudal system as a "sublime fusion of person and thing" (Elemente I, 221), the present system of wages, because it is a system of compensation, he blames, and prefers the feudal for the opposite reason (?). "The only merit which the state recognizes in our day is one of service." (III, 259.) Kosegarten, Geschichtliche systematische, Uebersicht der N. Oek., 1856, 146 ff., is no friend to the economic system to which money gives a distinctive character. Per contra, compare Bastiat, Maudit Argent, 1849.
700 Mirabeau, Philosophie rurale, 1763, ch. 2, adds as the third great invention the tableau economique of the Physiocrates. For a comparison of money and language, see Hamann, Werke, II, 135 ff., 509. Hehn, Kulturpflanzen und Hausthiere, finds it characteristic of the race, that wine, writing with letters, and money, all owe their origin to the monotheistic stem of the Semitic people.
701 Where every man becomes a merchant, and the society itself a commercial society. Ad. Smith, Wealth of Nations, I, ch. 4.
702 Just as descriptive is the German word billig (equitable) for cheap. Here it is plain that language takes sides with the possessor of money!
703 The contrast between barter-economy and money-economy is of great and fundamental importance. It repeats itself with so much regularity in the history of every highly developed nation, that political economists gifted with perception for the historical, could not possibly overlook it. Thus, Aristotle, for instance, establishes with the utmost care and accuracy the difference between οἰκονομικὴ and χρηματιστικὴ, that is, between natural economy and artificial economy, corresponding to the difference between value in use and value in exchange. (Polit., I, 3, Schn.) Similarly D. Hume, who allows a period of luxury, culture, industry, of trade and manufactures, of freedom and circulation of money, to be preceded by one in which the feeling of wants is not awakened, in which coarseness and idleness prevail, one in which agriculture is alone pursued, and monetary economy and freedom decline, and trade by barter obtains. (Discourses, passim, especially On Interest and on Money.) A similar contrast we find frequently, and as one of his fundamental thoughts, in J. Steuart.
As to how the transition from barter-economy to monetary-economy is generally effected, see F. G. Hoffmann, Lehre vom Gelde, 1838, 176 ff. In the Tyrol, as late as 1820, the greater portion of purely mechanical work, such as that of the smith, the carpenter, and the washerwoman, were purely feudal duties. On the other hand, payment in money was the rule, in the beginning of the fourteenth century. (F. Beidermann, Technische Bildung in Oesterreich, 3.) Yet, for a long time after, the functions of a measure of value were performed by pieces of land, and those of an instrument of exchange by cattle and natural products. (Arnold, Gesch. des Eigenth., 207.) In France, money-economy, i.e., trade by money, had grown to importance earlier. (Nitsch., Ministerialitaet und Buergerthum, im 11. und 12. Jahr., 143.) Even in the time of Mary Stuart, the Scotch estimated the rent of land in "cauldrons of victuals." (Moryson, Itinerary, 1617, III, 155.) In ancient Italy, during the first three centuries of Rome, there was, with the exception of the Greek colonies, only trade by barter. Mommsen, Roemische Gesch., I, 293, shows that the oldest ases were not money in the higher sense of the word, but belonged rather to the stage of barter-economy. On the other hand, we find in the time of the classic jurists, much as slavery had limited the sphere of action of money, the principle: pecuniae nomine non solum numerata pecunia, sed omnes res, tam soli quam mobiles, et tam corpora quam jura continentur. (L. 222, Digest L. 16; compare 4, 5, 178.) Similarly in Cicero, Top. 6. De Invent, II, 21. De Legg, II, 19, 21; III, 3. Compare Dionys. Hal., N.R. IV, 15.
704 Were money nothing but a measure of values in exchange, it should on that account, if on no other, have value in exchange itself, as a measure of length must necessarily have length itself. (We measure time on a clock by means of the revolution of the hands on the dial.) Again, value in exchange supposes value in use. The so-called "money of account," such as the East Indian lac de roupies, the Portuguese reis, and the earlier English pound sterling are no imaginary magnitudes, which would disappear with the figures of our system of counting (see Hufeland, N. Grundlegung, II, 33, in reply to Struensee, Abh., III, 501); but real coin-values which can not be represented by only single pieces of coin, units of value for the most part no longer recognized by the state, but which the people still retain. See M. Park's (Travels, 27) refutation of the fable circulated by Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, XXII, 8, that the regular standard money of the Mandingo negroes was a mere imaginary standard. Hobbes, Leviathan, 24, exhibits a very good knowledge of this subject.
705 Compare P. Neri, Osservazioni, 1751, VI, 1. Lord Liverpool, Treatise on the Coins of the Realm, 1805. The person who takes money as such must always harbor the hope of being able to dispose of it again as money. Hence, such an acceptance always supposes the existence of a certain amount of commercial confidence. The savage Goahiros, between Rio de la Hacha and Maracaibo, are too "distrustful" to take anything in trade but commodities fit for the most immediate use. (Depons, Voyage dans la Terrefirme, I, 314.) Similarly in the twelfth century, the heathen Laplanders. (Arndt, Liefl. Chronik, II, 3.) Commodities which barbarians can consume immediately are objects of the first necessity, whereas more civilized people, who are in a condition to undergo greater expense, look more to the technic qualities of money, such as divisibility, capacity for transportation and durability. v. Scheel shows in a very happy manner how, as commerce increases, money comes to be, as it were, subjected to a process resembling that of distillation: first mere increase of stores for use, next preponderating values in exchange, lastly mere orders for the same possessing no independent value. Hildebrand's Jahrbb., 1866, I, 16.
706 The last circumstance continues to be one of great importance for a long period of time in the frigid zones. Thus, the beaver-skin continues still to be the unit of measure of trade in much of the territory of the Hudson Bay Company. Three martens are estimated to be equal in value to one beaver, one white fox to two beavers, one black fox or a bear to four beavers, a rifle to fifteen beavers. (Ausland, 1846, No. 21.) The Esthonian word, raha, money, means in the related language of the Laplanders, fur. (Krug, Zur Muenzkunde Russlands, 1805.) Concerning skin-money in the middle age of Russia, see Nestor, Schloezer's translation, III, 90. The old word kung, money, means marten. By degrees it came to pass that instead of whole skins, only two "snouts" were given or other pieces of leather about a square inch in size, which were probably stamped by the government and redeemed in whole skins at the government magazines. Hence, there is here supposed a species of assignats, and of disturbances of credit. The Mongolian conquerors would not recognize them, and they therefore became suddenly valueless. In Novgorod and Pskow, the system continued some time longer, for the reason that these places had little trade with the Mongols. In the rest of the kingdom it now became necessary to introduce silver money, and in the north to return to real squirrel and beaver skins. Karamsin, Russ. Gesch., I, 203, 385; I, 96, 191 f. Voyage de Rubruquis, in Bergeron, Voyages I, 91. Herberstein, Rer. moscov. Commentt, 58 ff. Even in 1610, a Russian military chest was captured by the enemy, and in it were found 5450 silver rubles, and 7000 fur rubles. (Karamsin, XI, 183.)
707 When the Danes progressed so far as to practice agriculture, they used grain instead of cattle, in quantities corresponding to the value of one cow or one sheep, for money, to the end that their idea of a unit of measure might not become obscured. (Ravit, Beitraege, 3.)
708 Homeric determination of prices in oxen. Iliad, II, 449; VI, 236; XXI, 79; XXIII, 703 ff; Odyss., I, 431. Compare, however, II, VII, 473 ff. In Draco's time, money-fines were imposed in cattle (Pollux, IX, 60 ff.), and in Athens, before Solon's time, even the metal coins were, for the most part, stamped with the figure of an ox. Plutarch, Theseus, 25. Boeckh., Metr. Uuntersuch., 121 ff. Among the most ancient Romans (Cicero, de Rep., II, 35) the imposition of fines in property, the coins first stamped by Servius, boum oviumque effigie (Plin., H. N., XVIII, 3, Cassiodor., Var., VII, 32), and the words pecunia, peculium, peculatus, derived from pecus, point to something analogous. (Varro, De L. L., V, 19; De Re rust., II, 1; Cicero, De Rep., II, 9; Ovid, Fast., V, 281; Plutarch, Publicola, 11.) Old German fines in cattle, in Tacitus, Germ., 12, 21; Lex Ripuar, 36, 11; Lex Saxonum, 19. Ulfilas translates αργύριον δοῦναι (Mark, 14, 11), faihu giban. Very old German documents, of the seventh and eighth centuries, name horses as purchase-price. (Grimm, Deutsche Rechtsalterth., 586 f.) Otho the Great imposed cattle-fines. (Widuk Corb., II, 6.) Similarly, in King Stephen's laws of Hungary (Wachsmuth, Europaeische Sitturgesch., II), in the old Irish Brehon laws (Leland; History of Ireland, 36 ff.), as well as in the Scotch collection of laws, Regiam Majestatem, of 1330. (Honard, II, 263 f, 537.) Viva pecunia of the Anglo-Saxons in the laws of William I. In ancient Sweden, all property was estimated in fae=cattle (Geijer, Schw. Gesch., I, 100), just as now, in Icelandic, fe=property. In Berne, the German vieh, cattle, is used to express commodities. Among really nomadic races this is, of course, still more the case. Thus the Kirghises use horses and sheep as money, and wolf-skins and lamb-skins for small change. (Pallas, Reise durch Russland, 1771, I, 390.) Among some of the Tartar tribes, everything is stipulated for in cows. (v. Haxthausen, Studien, II, 371.) Among the Persian nomads, sheep are used as money; or when they are held in subjection in the cities, corn, straw and wool. (Ritter, Erdkunde, VIII, 386.) Oxen in use as money among the Tscherkessens. (Klemm, Kulturgeschichte, IX, 16.) W. B. Hermann doubts, however, whether cattle were ever used as a medium of exchange. He thinks rather they were employed only as a measure of price. (Muenchener Gel. Anz., 580.)
709 That of vanity which presents itself among some people sooner than that of clothing.
710 In Genesis, 1, 24, gold appears only as a valuable ornament. Abraham paid for his purchases in silver.
711 For this reason, zinc-money is just as natural with the Malays and Chinese as iron-money with the Senegambians. (Mungo Park, Travels, 27.) And so Plutarch, Lysand., 17, may be right when he calls iron the earliest universal means of payment. In Sparta, too, where industrious efforts were made to maintain the lower stage of culture, this medium of payment was longest maintained. Compare, however, St. John, The Hellenes, III, 260 ff. The first copper coins were stamped a short time before Philip, father of Alexander the Great. (Eckhel, Doctr. Numm, I, XXX ff.) On the other hand, Italy, partly because it had mines of its own, and partly because of its intercourse with Carthage (Cyprus), had become, at a very distant period, so rich in copper that the circulation of copper, or to speak more accurately, of bronze, was naturally introduced. Compare Niebuhr, Roem. Gesch., I, 475 ff. (Aes alienum, obaeratus, aerarium, aestimare.) Copper was all the more adapted to this end the more frequently it was found unmixed. It was generally used in preference to iron because of the greater facility of working it. (Hesiod., Opp., 150 f.; Lucret., V, 1285 f.) In modern nations copper money seems to have been employed only after silver money. Thus, it was not stamped in England before the time of James I. (Adam Smith, I, ch. 5), nor in Sweden before 1625. (Geijer, Schwed., Gesch., III, 56.) Money was struck from the metal of molten bells during the French Revolution!
712 In Russia, between 1763 and 1788, there were 76 million rubles of gold and silver coins struck, against 54 million of copper rubles. (Hermann). On the other hand, in France, between 1727 and 1796, there were struck only 40 million francs of copper, 10 million of billon or base coin, and 3967 million of gold and silver.
713 Michaelis, De Pretiis Rerum apud veteres Hebraeos, 183.
714 Strabo, VIII, 358. Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, found it exceedingly difficult to obtain gold. When the Spartans wished to make an offering of gold at Delphi they were obliged to have recourse to Croesus. (Herodot., I, 69; Theopomp., in Athen, VI, 231 ff.) Aristoph., Ranae, 720, calls gold "new" in contradistinction to the "old money," that is, silver.
715 Plin., H. N., XXXIII, 13. Compare, however, Dureau de la Malle, Economie polit. des Romans, I, 69, after Varro, apud Charisium, I, 81. (Putsch.) It is certain, however, that when Italy was conquered, the Romans had introduced a circulating medium of silver, and that it was the prevailing medium; but in the time of Caesar and Augustus, a gold circulation was the prevalent one. Yet the state treasure was deposited in gold during the period of silver circulation, because gold was, without question, better adapted to storing up and transportation.
716 Muratori, Antiquitt., IV, Diss., 28.
717 Henry was obliged to issue an order to the mayor and sheriffs of London, to get his gold into circulation; but he soon saw himself compelled to desist from executing his design. Edward III. was able only after a voluntary circulation of them had continued for a long time, to prohibit any one's refusing the rose-nobles. (L. Liverpool, loc. cit.)
718 German., 5. Still more striking is the example cited by Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale (1697), 485. Rubruquis, Voyage, ch. 13. In the time of Nadir-shah, the Kurds gave, without the slightest hesitation, a pound of gold for a pound of silver or copper. (Ritter, Erdkunde, VIII, 395.)
719 Recommended even by Adam Smith, ch. 5, and for Germany by F. G. Hoffmann, Drei Aufsaetze ueber das Muenzwesen, 1832. In Egypt, also, for a long time the wealthiest country of the middle ages, the circulation of gold prevailed until the twelfth century. (Macrisi, Historia Monetae Arab., cap. 3 ed., Tychsen.) Harun Alraschid's income was estimated at about 7,500 cwt. of gold. (Ritter, Erdkunde, X, 235.) Something similar related of the Carnatic, "the land of ancient emporiums." Ritter, Erdkunde, V, 564, after Ferishta.
720 The use of the cauris (Cypraea moneta) in India this side and beyond the Ganges, in upper Asia, and in southern Africa depends on their employment for purposes of ornament, on their greater uniformity, and on the rarity of copper which would otherwise be better suited to purposes of change. In Calcutta, 1280 cauris are equivalent to about half a shilling. (McCulloch.) Compare K. Ritter, Africa, 149, 324, 422, 1038; Asien, I,964; II, 120; III, 233, 739; IV, 53, 420; Salin, III, 62; Botz, in the Tuebinger Ztschr. Similarly among the fishing population of Northwestern America. (Stein-Wappaeus, Handbuch I, 352.) Salt as money on the Chinese-Birman boundary (Marco Polo, 38), but especially in the interior of Africa, where nature does not at all produce it, but into which it is brought by caravans from the deserts, where salt is found in great quantities. M. Polo, Travels, 305, found the current price of a salt-tablet, two and a half feet long, one foot, two inches broad, and two inches thick, to be equal to the value of two pounds sterling among the Mandingos. In Abyssinia, the salt-bars are generally six inches long, three inches broad, one and a half inches thick, and they are bound with an iron ring to protect them against fracture. Sixty of them are worth one thaler. (Ausland, 1846, No. 35.) Slaves used as money: Barth, Reise, III, 338, 344. Tea-blocks in upper Asia and Siberia; and they are given by the Chinese to the Mongols as pay for troops. (Ritter, Asien, III, 252,) In Keachta, a tea-block is equal in price to one paper ruble. (Ausland, 1846, No. 20. Timkowski, Reise nach China, 143.) Date-money in the Sivah oasis. (Hornemann, Reise, 21.) Also in the Persian date-country, where, formerly, the lowest silver piece of money was coined in the form of a date (Ritter, Asien, VIII, 752, 819.)
The ancient Mexicans used as money cocoa-nuts, in bags of 24,000 pieces, cotton-stuffs, small pieces of copper, and gold dust in quills. (Humboldt, N. Espagne, IV, 11.) Cocoa-beans are still used as small change there. (Ibidem, IV, 10.) On the Amazon, wax-cakes weighing one pound are used. (Smyth, Journey from Lima to Para, 1836.) Among the ancient inhabitants of Ruegen, linen (Helmold, I, 39); and still among the Icelanders, the so-called Vadhmal. During the middle ages, 120 ells of Vadhmal were equal in value to one milch cow or six milch sheep, or two and a half ounces of silver. (Leo in Raumer's histor. Taschenbuch, 1835, 515.) That the ancient northern mode of valuation, by the Vadhmal and in cows is older than by the mark is shown by Wilda, Gesch. des deutschen Strafrechts, I, 331. The cod-fish money used by the Icelanders was, on account of its great commercial importance as an article of export, an advance upon the use of the Vadhmal. Among the Caffirs, besides cauris, mats, javelins, glass corals, but particularly brass rings, are used as money. From three to four hundred of these rings are strung together, and two such strings are equal in value to one cow. (Klemm, Kulturgeschichte, III, 308, 320 f.) Ivory used as money in the neighborhood of the Portuguese colonies in Africa. (Martius, Reise, II, 670.) In Logone, Denham (1822) ff., had met with pieces of iron as a medium of circulation; but on the other hand, Barth (1849), with small strips of cotton from 2 to 3 inches in breadth, and shirts for larger sums. (A. R., III, 274, 297, 538.) In colonies, money of this nature is continued for a long time. Thus cod-fish used in Newfoundland, sugar in the English West Indies (Adam Smith, I, ch. 4), tobacco in Maryland and Virginia. (Douglas, V, 2, 389; Ebeling, V, 435 ff.) The last was related to the inspection and storage of the tobacco intended for exportation. Payment was made in orders on the stored and inspected tobacco, even as late as the end of the eighteenth century. In 1618, the forced circulation of tobacco was decreed in Virginia, and under severe penalties. (Gouge, History of Paper-Money and Banking in the United States, ch. 1.)
721 When the caravans no longer touched at the oasis Agades, gold and silver money fell into disuse, and grain, stuffs etc. did service as instruments of circulation. (Barth, Reisen und Endeckungen, I, 144.)
722 Ad. Mueller says very pertinently, but in a very mystical vein, that the precious metals combine in a very high degree and yet in a very simple manner, the principal qualities in which man's greatness finds expression: rarity, flexibility, uniformity, mobility, durability and beauty. (Elemente, II, 266.) In another place, he says, the highest ideal good is God, the highest material good, gold! (III, 65.) The mysticism of gold was most highly developed among the alchymists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
723 Iron beds are worked only when they contain at least 18 per cent. of metal. Generally it is estimated that the furnace should yield 30 per cent. In the copper mines of Mansfield, Norway, Agordo and Venice, it goes as low as from one to three per cent. On the other hand, silver mines which yield 0.17 per cent. of metal are considered worth working. Lastly, gold is so rare that generally it can be extracted only from time to time by the ordinary mining processes. As a rule, men are content to gather it where nature has charged itself with its refining. The extreme limit of the working of gold appears, according to Plattner and Haussmann, at Goslar, to be reached when in 5,200,000 parts of mineral earth there is one of gold. Spite of this, however, by reason of their great ductility, the precious metals have been able to penetrate even into the meanest huts in one form or another. It has been estimated that a silver leaf may be attenuated by beating to a thickness of only 0.00001 of an inch, and a gold leaf to 0.0000035 of an inch. An ounce of gold spread on a silver thread may attain a length of 13,000 English miles. (McCulloch.)
724 How easily, for instance, could leather-money, such as was used by the ancient Galls (Cassiodor., Varia, II, 32,) be increased to any desired quantity, and thus its price brought down.
725 Engel, at the usual tariff for land and railroad freight (10 and 5 pfennigs per mile and hundredths of a mile) estimates the enhancement of the price of the following commodities, for one mile of transportation of a custom-hundred-weight (Zollcentner) at the following percentage of their average value:
Gold, value 47610 German Reichsthaler per cwt., 0.000007 by land, 0.0000035 by railroad. Silver, value 3000, 0.00111 by land, 0.00055 by railroad. Cotton, value 45, 0.074 by land, 0.037 by railroad. Tin, value 24, 0.1389 by land, 0.0694 by railroad. Lead, value 8, 0.416 by land, 0.208 by railroad. Iron, value 2.5, 1.333 by land, 0.666 by railroad. Rye, value 2, 1.666 by land, 0.833 by railroad. Potatoes, value 0.6, 5.555 by land, 2.777 by railroad. Coal, value 0.12, 27.777 by land, 13.888 by railroad.
Their great specific gravity, also, makes the precious metals easy of transportation. Thus Cazeau calculates that a given value of gold is 17,222 times as easy to transport as the same value in wheat. But as, where the weight is the same, the labor of transportation is inversely as the volume, this number must be multiplied by 26, and we therefore have 447,772 times. In the case of silver, the relation to wheat is as 1:15,554. Concerning copper, see Storch, Handbuch 1, 488. Chevalier, Cours, III, 17 ff.
726 This, at bottom, is also true, of the various kinds of copper; only, here, complete refining is impracticable on account of the relation between the cost of production and the product-price.
727 On the other hand, copper, and still more zinc, tin and lead lose much of their value in the fire. Pearls may lose their entire value by fire, and diamonds more than half of it.
728 Aqua-regia, a mixture of nitric and muriatic acid, dissolves gold. Chlorine and bromine attack it. It has been noticed to vaporize at a very high temperature. A gold thread vaporizes when a strong electric current is passed through it. A small ball of gold gives off a great deal of vapor if placed between two carbon points and subjected to the action of a powerful galvanic pile. (K. F. Naumann.)
729 Compare Hatchett, Experiments and Observations of the various Alloys, On the specific Gravity and comparative Weight of Gold, 1863. The French five-franc pieces wear away, on an average, in a year, 0.00016; the English crown, 0.00018; the half crown, about 0.00173; and the shilling, about 0.00456. (L. Liverpool, Treatise on the Coins. 204; M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 128 ff.) The wear from use of the south German gulden is 0.292 per 1,000. (Rau, in the Archiv. N.F.X, 256.) According to Jacob, the average wear of coin is 2.38 per 1,000. (Historical Inquiry into the Production and Consumption of the Precious Metals, ch. 23.)
730 Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, I, ch. II, Digr.
731 Solera, Sur les Valueurs, 1785, 271 ff.; Custodi. Half an ox, for instance, is worth half the value of a whole one only for a few well defined purposes. As to how much the value of the diamond varies with the size etc., see Dufrenoy, Traite de Mineralogie, II, 77 f. On the other hand, the separated parts of a piece of metal are very readily reduced to a whole.
732 In the case of the ox, it is impossible to imagine a mark which might not be eluded by its losing flesh.
733 The cost of coinage since 1849 has been 3/4 of 1 per cent. in the case of silver, and in that of gold not quite 2 per 1,000. (M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 110.)
734 Platinum possesses many of the properties necessary to an instrument of exchange in as high a degree as gold and silver,—great value in exchange, great specific gravity and great durability. On the other hand, its pliability as to form is very small, and therefore the cost of coining it would be high. The conversion of platinum coins into utensils, and of utensils into coin, which would contribute to the supply of money when needed, and to a diminution of that supply when the demand decreased, would be much more difficult on this account; and also because of the small degree of beauty possessed by that metal, which renders it little adapted to purposes of luxury. Under these circumstances, the rarity in nature of the metal is a great drawback; for the discovery of a new mine would create a great perturbation in prices. For this reason, the Russian platinum coins have been generally very much undervalued since 1828 in the commercial world, and the whole experiment was given up in 1845-46. Compare J. Schon, National OEkonomie, 128 ff. Aluminum, discovered by Woehler, and which can be prepared from argillaceous earth, is capable of manipulation in a very high degree (malleable et ductile a peu pres sans limite, excessivement fusible), almost as indestructible as the precious metals, but easily distinguished from silver by a fine bluish color, which has been compared to that of tin; by its small specific gravity, from 2.5 to 2.67, and its ring like that of iron. Hence it is very doubtful whether aluminum can be made to play the part of a substitute for silver, and still more so whether it can be used for coining.
735 Lingot, bullion. In India, beyond the Ganges, and in China, bars are very much used. (Sycee.) In the latter country, besides these bars, there is no coinage except that of a mixture of copper and lead, for small change. (Th. Smith, An attempt to define some of the first Principles of Political Economy, 31. Timkowski, Reise nach China, III, 366.) Concerning Brazilian trade by bars, see Spix und Martius, Reise, I, 346 f. They are stamped with the national coat of arms, the sign of the mint, the number by which registered, that of the year and of the degree of fineness. Concerning the Persian bars, the laries, see Noback, Handbuch der Munzverrh., III, Taf. 29.
736 Concerning the utility of the precious metals for purposes of money, see Pliny, A.N. XXXIII, 3; Oresmius, De Mutatione Monetarum, ch. 2; Law, Sur l' Usage des Monnaies, 683 f. Daire, where we read that before the invention of money, silver had served all kinds of useful purposes, but that now it served its most important purpose, namely the making of the best material for money on many accounts. Yet Law's book, Money and Trade considered (1705) is based mainly on the idea that pieces of land are much better adapted for purposes of money than the precious metals (185)! Galliani, Della Moneta, 1750, I, 3, 4, and P. Neri, Osservazioni, 1751 ff, Cust., have very correct ideas on this subject.
737 North, Discourses upon Trade, 16. The capacity of money to act as a storer of wealth has been as much over-estimated by the so called Mercantile System, as its capacity to transfer wealth has been by the so called currency-school.
738 Adam Smith compares money to a large wheel, by means of which a due share of the means of subsistence and of enjoyment is distributed to each member of society. Elsewhere he compares its utility to streets and roads. (Wealth of Nations, II, ch. 2.) Hume, On Money, Pr., prefers to compare it to the oil with which the wheels of circulation are greased. Sismondi compares money to porters. (N. Principes, II, ch. 2.) "Money is to commerce what railways are to locomotion, a contrivance to diminish friction." (J. S. Mill.) According to Schmitthenner, 455, it bears the same relation to other commodities that the written language of a people's literature does to their dialects.
739 Law's views on money are, in part, excellent. Thus, for instance, he says that the debasement of the coin from financial necessity is as great a folly as it would be to try to enlarge a piece of goods too small for the purpose for which it was intended, by diminishing the length of the yard-stick. (Sur l'Usage des Monnaies, 697.) A country entirely isolated from all others could get along as well with one hundred pounds sterling as with a million. (Money and Trade, p. 88.) Elsewhere, he confounds money and capital to such a degree that he considers every increase of the amount of money in a country as an enrichment of the people, a means to give employment to the poor, to carry on manufactures etc. (Money and Trade, 23, 26 ff., 168.) A given quantity of money is capable of giving employment at most only to a certain number of men. (21.) A nation's power and wealth depend on the population and its stores of goods, these on commerce, and commerce in turn on the amount of money. (Pp. 110, 220.) The advice given, in 1848, to the National Assembly of France, but which it had the good sense to reject, to overflow all France with the so-called bons hypothecaires, is akin to Law's practical propositions. M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 8, rightly ridicules the literal construction of the words: l'argent est abondant, when merchants find it easy to obtain credit, and considers it as well grounded as it would be to infer from the maxim: l'argent est le nerf de la guerre, that rifles and bullets were made of silver.
740 Adam Smith was not entirely clear, in his own mind, on this point. Thus inconsistently enough, he calls money unproductive—"dead stock," for the reason that it leaves no material traces behind it of the goods which it has transferred from one hand to another. (II, ch. 2.) Is not the same true of trade itself? And yet Adam Smith calls trade productive. His error is doubtless a remnant of the Physiocratic doctrine, to which Smith still held. Compare Quesnay, 94, ed. Daire. Even Twiss says that money employed as money is unproductive, but that, when employed as a commodity, it is productive. (View of the Progress of Political Economy, since the sixteenth Century, 1847.) Besides it is not a peculiarity of money alone, that, after it has served the purposes of production, it comes out of the product unaltered. The same is true of quicksilver employed in amalgamation. (Hermann, 2nd edition, 302.)
741 Senior, Three Lectures on the Value of Money, 1840, is, in so far, not wrong when he says that the value in exchange of the precious metals is still ultimately determined by the want of such commodities as are luxuries. This last determines to what extent the production shall be extended by the working of the poorest mines, whereas the wants of circulation can be met as well by small as large quantities of the metals.
742 The good or bad result of this production depends on many different elements which may compensate on another. In California and Australia gold is to be found in large quantities, and is easily mined; but the workmen make large demands which the nature of the country renders it difficult to meet. In the Harz mines, where the cost is scarcely covered, (Lehzen, Hannover's Staatshaushalt, 1853, I, 139), the shafts are sometimes 175-1/2 fathoms deep, but this is made up for in a measure by the moderate demands of the workmen and their skill in mining. Among the Mandingos, the auriferous material is so rich that ⅓ per 1,000 of the weight of the sand is washed out into pure gold in ten minutes (M. Park, Journal, 53 ff., addenda, XIX), while in Europe, where the proportion is only 1/100 per 1,000, mines are still considered worth working. But then, what workmen there are there! In Peru, the burdensome height of the mines above the level of the sea and the want of combustible material more than counterbalance many favorable advantages, while in Norway the cheapness of wood compensates for a great many disadvantages. Another thing which contributes towards the uniformity of the price of the precious metals is the circumstance that the great amount of fixed capital required in the greater number of mining enterprises, postpones for a long time the working of good mines as well as the abandonment of poor ones.
743 Older writers have estimated the amount of money necessary in a country at 1/5, 1/10 (Petty), 1/15, and even 1/30 of the yearly income of a people (Adam Smith, II, ch. 2.) According to Cantillon, Sur la Nature du Commerce, p. 73, it is from 1/6 to 1/10 of the annual gross production of a nation.
744 Davanzati, Lezione sulle Moneta, 1588, 32 ff., Cust., thinks that all terrestrial things which serve to satisfy the wants of men are, by virtue of agreement, equal in value to all the gold, silver and copper; and that the parts comport themselves as the whole. The price of a commodity is based on this, that men find in it as much of their beatitudine as is afforded them by a given quantum of gold etc. Similarly, Montanari, who adds as a limitation the quantity of money spendibile in commercio. (Della Moneta, 45, 64, Cust.) The same opinion leads Locke to the singular conclusion, that, as there is now in the world, ten times as much silver as there was previous to the discovery of America, each single piece of silver, separately considered, and taken in relation to such commodities as have not varied, is worth only one-tenth of what it was then. Locke, here, starts out with the gross assumption, shared even by Ganilh, Theorie, II, 386 ff., that in the case of money the demand is always, relatively speaking, equally strong and just as great as the supply, or as the amount in the market. (Works, II, 23 ff.) Further, Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, XXII, 7, 8. Per contra, however, see Montesquieu, ibid. XXII, 5, 6, and Hume, On Money and on the Balance of Commerce, Essays II, 1752.
Hume knew perfectly well, that only circulating money and circulating commodities operated on price, but failed to take the rapidity of circulation into account. Similarly, Forbonnais, Elements du Commerce, II, 212; even Canard, Principes, ch. 6; Fichte, Geschloss. Handelstaat, 93 ff., and Stein, Lehrbuch, 58. Contested by Law, Trade and Money considered, 140, a work directed especially against the Mercantilistic essay, Britannia languens; 1680, by Melon, Essai politique sur le Commerce, ch. 22; Genovesi, Economia civile, 1764, II, 1, 15; Steuart, Principles, II, ch. 28; Verri, Meditazioni, XVII, 3 ff.; Buesch, Gedlumlauf, II, 40. The simple taking of an inventory of most private resources which possess so much greater value in other commodities than in money is enough to demonstrate the error of Davanzati's doctrine. Thus, in France, in Necker's time, the cash money in the kingdom was estimated at 2,200,000,000 livres, and the average value of the wheat crop alone at 1,000,000,000. Necker, Legislation et Commerce des Grains, 1776, I, 215. Recently, Michel Chevalier, estimated the amount of money in France at from 3-1/2 to 4 milliards, while the official estimate of its immovable property alone was over 83 milliards.
745 When money becomes dearer, less of it is of course needed; and when cheaper, more, for the same purpose.
746 In contradistinction to presents, acts of spoliation, but especially to barter.
747 The discoverer of this truth is supposed by many to be Bandini, Discorso economico, 1737, 141 f., Cust. Berkely, however, in the Querist, 1735, 477 f, writes: "A sixpence twice paid is as good as a shilling once paid." Much earlier yet, in 1797, Boisguillebert, Detail de la France, II, 19, had the germ of this doctrine, but he confounds circulation with consumption. And Locke, Considerations, II, 13 ff., presented it in 1691 with great clearness, although he did not always remain true to his theory. Compare Quesnay, ed. Daire, 64; Cantillon, 159 ff., 382.
748 If the number of annual exchanges effected by 1 dollar = u; the total number of dollars in the store of money = m; the rapidity of circulation, that is the number of exchanges effected on an average by each dollar in a year, = s: then is u = m s, s = u/m, m = u/s.
749 Since good money is so easily stored away and preserved, no one is in haste to get rid of it. St. Chamans, N. Essai sur la Richesse des Nations, 122 ff.
750 Among the Kurds, all the money in their camps is used for head-ornaments for their women. (K. Ritter, Erdkunde, X, 887.)
751 Thus, Sir David North, Discourse on Trade, 1691, Postscr.
752 Lotz, Handbuch, 377, is of opinion that even in England L100,000 employed in trade in land can scarcely effect exchanges to the amount of L1,000,000 in a year. The same sum employed for the same purpose in London, in stocks and in the trade in commodities, will effect exchanges to the amount of L160,000,000.
753 Cernuschi, Mecanique de l'Echange, 1865, 132 ff.
754 Thus Petty (ob. 1687) is of opinion that England needed as much money as 1/2 of all its ground-rents amounted to, as the 1/4 of all house-rents, and 1/52 of all the wages of labor for a year; for the reason that ground-rents are paid semi-annually, house-rents quarterly, and wages weekly. (Several Essays, 179; Political Anatomy of Ireland, 116.) Locke, on the other hand, assumes 1/50 of the wages of labor, 1/4 of all the revenue of land owners, and 1/20 of the amount cash money taken in in a year by merchants. Of these amounts, there should be always, at least, one-half in ready money on hand, if commerce would not be brought to a stand-still. If leases were to be paid for on short terms, a great saving of money would be possible. (Works, II, 13 ff.) Pinto, Traite du Credit et de la Circulation, 34, calls special attention to the case of Tournay, in which the commandant, during the siege of 1745, made 7,000 florins serve him for seven weeks to pay the garrison; by borrowing that sum anew every week from the inn-keepers etc.; which they, again, had received from the soldiers.
755 If all were to commit their payments to the care of the same banker, it would be possible to do with almost no money. But even now, if 100 separate merchants were obliged to keep each 3,000 dollars in their money-chests for unforseen contingencies, a banker might accomplish the same for them with 50,000 dollars, because it is not probable that the unforseen contingencies in question would occur to all at the same time.
756 In the London Clearing-House, in 1839, L954,401,600 were paid by means of the use of L66,275,600 as a circulating medium, for the most part notes of the Bank of England. (Tooke, Inquiry into the Currency Principle, 27.) From May, 1868, until May, 1869, L7,068,078,000. (Statist. Journal, 1869, 229.) The New York Clearing House, in 1867, effected payments to the amount of L5,735,031,900 (Ibid., 1867, 577), and in 1868, $30,880,000,000. (Hildebrand's Jahrb., 1869, II, 168.)
757 This system began in the middle of the seventeenth century. (A Discourse of Trade Coyn and Paper Credit, 64.) As early a writer as Sir J. Child, N. Discourse on Trade, 46, says, that for some time, every man who had from L50 to L100 in money, sent it to his banker, and that since that time, all the money flowed towards London and the country was deprived of it. (127 ff.) As a rule, the goldsmiths were also bankers. One such smith had at the time of the Great Fire of 1666, emitted L1,200,000 in notes. (A Discourse etc., 67.) The Bank of England, as a money center, dates from 1694. The London banks developed into intermediaries principally before the time of the French Revolution. (Thornton, Paper-Credit of Great Britain, 1802.) This remarkable institution had grown to vast dimensions even in Thornton's time, although it has been much enlarged since 1825. (Tooke, History of Prices, 152 f.) Similar conditions among almost all highly civilized peoples. Thus in Greece, compare Becker, Charicles, I, 294. Concerning a person who had 14 talents' worth of resources, 26 minae, and therefore three per cent. in cash, see Lysias, adv. Diog., 6. In Rome, compare Polyb., XXXII, 13. Cicero, pro Font., I, 1. For Italian analogous cases, part of which may be traced back as far as the twelfth century, see Lobero, Memorie storiche della Banca de S. Georgio, 1832; or the Dutch "cassiere" Richesse de Hollande, I, 376, ff. In France an ever increasing centralization of the money-trade is to be noticed in Paris (M. Chevalier, Cours., III, 418); and now of the money-trade of Germany in Berlin.
758 Compare Fullarton, On the Regulation of Currencies, 1845. Among the Dutch, the custom of using all commercial commodities as much as possible, as a basis of the circulating medium, was much earlier developed. (Child, Discourse on Trade, 65, 264 f.) In Great Britain, the aggregate amount of bills of exchange put in circulation was, in 1839, L528,000,000, which sum has been increased annually at the rate of about L24,000,000. (Tooke, Inquiry into the Currency Principle, 26.) Between 1828 and 1847, there circulated at the same moment, on an average, L79,127,000 in bills of exchange in England, and in Scotland, L17,380,000 (Athenaeum, 1850, No. 175), and in Great Britain and Ireland, from L180,000,000 to L200,000,000. (Tooke, History of Prices, VI, 588,) According to Macleod, the bills of exchange and promissory notes together amounted to L500,000,000; bills of exchange, bank-notes and bank-credits, to over L600,000,000. (Elements, 12, 325.) Macleod calls the currency the sum total of all debts due by every individual in the country. (Elements, 43.)
759 A case in England, in 1857, in which a house with L10,000 capital failed with liabilities amounting to L900,000. (Report of the select Committee on the Bank Act, 1858, XV.) Or where a speculator with L1,200 made purchases on credit to the amount of L80,000, and then failed with a deficit of L16,000. (Fawcett, Manual, 442 f.)
760 Remarked by as early a writer as Davenant, Works, IV, 106 ff. Compare, however, II, 238. Quesnay, ed. Daire, 75 ff. Lord King, Thoughts on the Effects of the Bank Restriction, 1804, 17 ff. Exhaustively treated by Chevalier, Cours., III, 397 ff. He very much laments the fact that the customs of France cause it to need from 31/2 to 4 milliards of cash money, while England does a much larger trade with 1,200 millions. (I, 207 ff.) In France, it is said that the amount of money, in 1812, was 1,500,000,000 francs(?). (Peuchet, Statistique elementaire, 473.) In Prussia, in 1805, it was 90,000,000 thalers. (Krug, Betracht. ueber den Nationalwohlstand des preuss. St., I, 244.) The annual amount of production in the former country was, 7,036,000,000 francs; in the latter it was estimated at 261,000,000 thalers, so that in Prussia the relation of money to national income was, as 1:2.9; in France, as 1:4.69.
761 It is scarcely possible to determine exactly the amount of money in a country; for the reason that, outside of the suppositions of bankers etc., there is no authority which can be safely relied on, unless it be the reports concerning the coinage, and of the emission of paper money. The information, no less necessary, to be derived from the statistics of the importation and exportation of money, the melting down of coin by gold smelters etc., can never be exactly obtained. In England, at the end of the sixteenth century, the circulating medium was estimated at L4,000,000 (Hume, History of England, ch. 44, App.); under Charles II., at L6,000,000, when the population was 6,000,000. (Petty, Several Essays, 179.) About 1711, Davenant, New Dialogues, 11 ff., mentions L12,000,000 as the amount; and Anderson, Origin of Commerce, a., 1659, L16,000,000 in 1762. The circulation of gold, shortly before 1797, was estimated by Rose at, at least, L40,000,000; by Lord Liverpool, at L30,000,000; by Tooke, at only L22,500,000. (History of Prices, V, 130 ff.) Moreau de Jonnes, 1837, assumed L43,500,000 (Statistique, I, 329), and Helferich (Schwankungen der edlen Met., 1843, 147), L45,000,000. Sir Robert Peel, estimated the amount in 1845 at L59,000,000, to which was to be added an average of L28,000,000 in bank notes, after deduction made of the metallic reserve. According to Jevons, the amount of British money is now L80,000,000 in gold, L14,000,000 in silver, L1,000,000 in copper; the sum total, including bullion and bank notes, after the deduction of their metallic representatives, L134,000,000. (Economist, December, 1868, July, 1869.) In France, Vauban, Dime royale, 104 (Daire), estimated the cash money at about 500,000,000 livres, over 750,000,000 francs, with which Voltaire, Siecle de Louis, XIV, ch. 30, agrees so far as the year 1683 is concerned. In 1730, Voltaire, assumes the amount to be 1,200,000,000 of the coins of that time. Necker, Administration des Finances, III, 66, estimated it, in 1784, at 2,200,000,000 livres; Mollien, about 1806, at 2,300,000,000. The valuations in Louis Philippe's time varied from 2,400,000,000 to 2,500,000,000 (Chamber of Deputies, April, 13, 1847), and 4,000,000,000. (Blanqui.) The valuations of 1870 were, according to Wolowski, 4 milliards; and to Bonnet, from 5 to 6 milliards. Compare Wolowski, L'Or et l'Argent, 383 ff., Euquete, 42. The German Zollverein is said to have had, at the beginning of 1870 (Soetbeer) 480,000,000 or 520,000,000 thalers (Weibezahn) cash money.
In Wirtemberg, Memminger, 1840, estimated the resources of the country at 1,600,000,000 guldens, of which 36,000,000 were cash; and the yearly gross income at 179,000,000 guldens; so that the money was 20 per cent. of the latter and 21/4 per cent. of the former. The annual sales = 226,000,000. Therefore the coin currency must have circulated on an average between six and seven times in a year. In the electorate of Hesse, there were per capita 4 thalers, 18 sgrs., 9 hellers, metallic money, and 3 thalers, 9 sgrs., 4 hellers, paper-money. (B. Hildebrand, Statist. Mitth., 1853, 185.) The amount of money in Naples, in 1840, was estimated at 42,000,000 ducats. (Scialoja.) It has been estimated that, in 1830, Spain possessed 1,725,000,000 francs. (Barrego von Rottenkamp, 330.)
762 Montanari, Della Moneta, 52 ff.
763 David Hume's very influential essay on the balance of trade does not give expression to this error, but he certainly was the occasion of making a great many of his disciples advocate it. It is related to the error mentioned in 123. Quesnay, 101 (Daire) saw this point in a much clearer light. So did Graumann, Gesammelte Briefe vom Gelde (1762), 12 ff.; 73 ff.
764 This is seen, for instance, when paper money is issued, in times when trade is thriving, and is withdrawn when this conjuncture ceases.
765 Very well elaborated by Fullarton, On the Regulation of Currencies, 71 ff., 139 ff. Compare, however, Becaria, Economica publica, IV, 4, 27. When England on the occasion of the removal of the bank restriction in 1821 and 1822, caused L9,520,759 and L5,356,788 to be stamped, this powerful demand scarcely affected the gold-agio in Paris. (M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 157.) And, on the other hand, the system of assignats, developed during the first French Revolution, on so large a scale, had no influence on the price of silver in the rest of Europe. (Lord King, Thoughts on the Bank Restriction, 1804.) And so, Tooke, History of Prices, I, 205, describes a very large increase of the medium of circulation, after which the prices of commodities remained unchanged, corn fell, colonial products rose in price, both as they had done before, and from causes inherent in the commodities themselves. During the first years of the bank restriction, 1799-1801, grain rose very rapidly in price, while all trans-Atlantic products sank. (Tooke, I, 232 ff.) The unusually large importation of wheat from January 1, 1846, to January 14, 1847, was paid in France by a decrease of the bank metallic reserve (encaisse) to the extent of 172,000,000 francs. (M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 470.) An experienced practitioner in England is of opinion that an increase of bank notes to the amount of about L5,000,000 would not raise prices nor increase the tendency to speculation, but only enlarge the deposits of the bankers. But, if on the other hand, L5,000,000, by any sudden contingency, were to be put into the hands of the working classes, this money would, for the most part, enter immediately into circulation; the price of commodities would, therefore, rise and continue to rise until that amount had come into closer fists, as it would after some time. (Tooke, III, 156 ff., II, 323.)
766 This explains the high price of gold in Farther Asia, which was formerly separated from America, the principal source of supply of the precious metals, by a journey around the earth, the then usual course of the world's trade.
The precious metals are generally higher in country places than in large cities, and in the interior than on the sea-coast. Since the public highways etc. in Germany have been so much improved, the difference in the value of money in upper and lower Germany has almost disappeared. (Rau, in the Archiv der polit. Oek., III, 338.)
767 Happy beginning of this doctrine in Hume, On the Balance of Trade. Further, Thornton, The Paper Credit of Great Britain, ch. 11. Adam Smith, on the other hand, claims that gold and silver, because they are costly superfluities are uniformly paid most dearly for, in the richest countries. (Wealth of Nations, I, ch. 11, 3: Digr.)
768 Similarly in China, and even in Upper Egypt, the China, so to speak, of antiquity! Compare Herodot., II, 112 ff; Homer, Od., IV, 354 ff. The religion of the Egyptians prescribed to them a mode of life which was scarcely practicable in foreign parts. They were systematically inspired with a horror for everything foreign. They had a strong antipathy for salt, fish and pilots. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris represents the Nile, Typhon the desert and the sea! (Plutarch, De Iside, 32.)
769 The other party, of course, makes a profit also. He is in a better condition than if he wished to produce the desired commodity in his own country.
770 The first clear germ of this doctrine, which is one of the most important theoretical principles of international-trade politics, is to be found in David Hume, On Interest; Cantillon, Nature du Commerce, 226, 369 ff. Ricardo, Principles, ch. 7. "Gold and silver having been chosen for the general medium of circulation, they are, by the competition of commerce, distributed in such proportions amongst the different countries of the world, as to accommodate themselves to the natural traffic which would take place if no such metals existed, and the trade between countries were purely a trade of barter." Rebenius, Oeff. Credit, I, 29 ff. Still further developed, especially by John Stuart Mill, Elements, 1821, III, 4, 13 f.; Torrens, The Budget, 1844. John Stuart Mill, Essays on some unsettled Principles of Political Economy, 1844, No. 1, and Principles, III, ch. 19, 3, 5th ed.: "The opening of a new branch of export trade from England; an increase in the foreign demand for English products, either by the natural course of events or by the abrogation of duties; a check to the demand in England for foreign commodities, by the laying on of import duties in England, or of export duties elsewhere; these and all other events of similar tendency, should make the imports of England, bullion and other things taken together, no longer an equivalent for the exports; and the countries which take her exports would be obliged to offer their commodities, and bullion among the rest, on cheaper terms, in order to re-establish the equation of demand; and thus England would obtain money cheaper, and would acquire a generally higher range of prices."
Obscurely surmised by Beccaria, E.P., 3, 18, and even by Galiani, Della Moneta, II, 2. Senior's admirable work, Three Lectures on the Cost of Obtaining Money, 1830, follows up the thought that every country obtains indigenous and foreign products at a cost which grows smaller in the same proportion as the productiveness of its people's labor is large. This would, certainly, explain why it is that perhaps one hundred English days' work in cotton manufactures will exchange against as much silver as is produced by two hundred days' work in Mexican mines and foundries. This would not, by any means, produce a lowering of the price of the precious metals relatively to other English commodities, but the influence would be felt equally by all the products of English national industry.
771 To be found in germ in Cantillon, Nature du Commerce, 1755, 249 ff. 307. Buesch, Geldumlauf, 14. Kaufmann, Untersuchungen, I, 75 ff. Many of the doctrines of the so-called Mercantile System, of which I shall treat in my projected work on the Political Economy of Commerce, have given expression to this truth in an inexact and exaggerated way; but they were not entirely erroneous, as is supposed by the adherents of Hume and Smith. However, J. S. Mill, Principles II, ch. 19, 2, does not fully admit the degree of the cheapness of money in England usually assumed. According to him it is wants of luxury (luxury-wants) become such through habit, that produce "the dearness of living in England."
772 Petty considers the search for a measure which could be applied both to land and labor as one of the principal problems of Political Economy. (Political Anatomy of Ireland, 62 ff.) Sir J. Steuart, Principles, III, ch. I, took the matter very easy by considering the so-called "coin of account," for instance, "bank-money," as an invariable value-magnitude. Compare Jacob, Grundsaetze der National OEkonomie, II, 441 ff. Cazaux, Economie politique et privee, 1825, 16 ff., has a not uninteresting study on this subject; but he goes, throughout his argument, on the assumption that the rate of interest is the price of money! If the rate of interest in two countries = I and i, the prices of the same commodity = P and p, the true thing-values, V and v; then we have v: V:: i p: I P!
773 Law, Trade and Money, 181. Before him, and quite correctly, Montanari, Della Moneta, I, p. 84 ff., compares the means employed of measuring one commodity by another, to the means used to estimate time in terms of space, as when it is measured by the revolutions of the hands of a clock, and again, space in terms of time.
774 The solvability or capacity to pay of buyers cannot be taken into consideration here, because it is synonymous with the amount of counter-values which are to be measured.
775 Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, I, ch. 5. Similarly Luther, vom Kaufhandel: Werke, ed. Walch, X, 1098 f. B. Franklin considered the labor employed in the production of wheat as the best measure of prices. (Letter to Ld. Kames: Works, ed. Sparks, VII.) As Adam Smith, so also Sismondi, Richesse commerciale, I, 371 f.; Kraus, Staatswirthschaft, I, 84,; v. Schloezer, Anfangsgruende, I, 41. Also Malthus, in the second and succeeding editions of his Principles, ch. I, 6, and Definitions, ch. 8, 9. The Measure of Value, 1823. Zachariae, Vierzig Buecher, VII, 53 f., maintains that, at least within the limits of every separate nation, the average labor-power of one man is invariable. Assuming this principle, therefore, to be true, the means of subsistence necessary to support a laborer for one work-day constitutes, indirectly, a measure of prices. Tooke, History of Prices, I, 56, says that the amount of a day's wages is always a better measure of the price of the precious metals than the price of wheat. Even in 1750, Galiani, Della Moneta, II, 2, had denied the impossibility of an entirely invariable measure of price in this world of change, but he considered man himself the least variable of measures, and in a country where slavery prevailed, slaves. He thought that the macuta of the negroes were a part of the average price of slaves. Practically, Adam Smith's proposed measure was used in the French constitution of 1791, in as much as it provided that participation in primary assemblies should depend on the participant's paying an annual tax equal to the wages of three days' work, and eligibility as an electeur, on the possession of an income equal in value to the wages paid for two hundred days' day-labor. Owen endeavored to base the value of the paper money in circulation in his Utopian commonwealth, not on any metal of a certain weight or stamp, but on hours of labor as the unit. (Reybaud, Reformateurs Contemporains, I, 255.)
776 The wretched condition, until within a short time since, of the Irish working class, is well known; how they dwelt in mud cabins without windows, board-floors or chimneys etc., in the same apartment with their pigs; how they lived almost exclusively on potatoes, and went about in rags. These same Irish, coelum, non animum mutantes, received in North America for the coarsest kind of labor, 50 to 75 cents wages, besides wheat bread and meat three times a day, coffee and sugar twice a day, butter once, and seven or eight glasses of whisky or brandy. (M. Chevalier, Lettres sur l'Amerique du Nord, I, 159.)
777 Thus in Mauritius, the immigration of the coolies has produced a decrease of negro wages, but an increase of negro industry. In the Barbadoes, the negroes are more industrious and their wages lower than in Jamaica. The wages of good workmen, as for instance during the commercial crisis in Manchester, often sink, while the wages of bad workmen rise; as, for example, in a village through which a railroad is made to pass. Compare Lauderdale Inquiry, ch. 1; Sartorius, Abhandlungen, 1806, I, 16 ff.; Lotz, Revision, I, 99 ff.; M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 88 f.
778 Besides the passages cited in 107, compare also Harris, On Money and Coins, II, 1757 f.; Jacob also preceded Ricardo. See the German translation of Say, II, 435, 507.
779 The introduction of the words "the socially necessary time of labor" into the formulae does not make the measure any more practical for political economists or for socialists.
780 Cantillon, who reduces all the cost of production to land and labor, considers the "at par" between these two to be this: that the labor of the meanest slave corresponds to the quantity of land which the owner is obliged to employ for his support, and the support of the slave and of the children who are to take his place. (Nature du Commerce, 42.) The Physiocrates thought that the internal (innere) value of two commodities stood in the same relation to each other as the area of land directly or indirectly necessary to their production. Schlettwein, Grundfeste der Staaten, 1792, 230.
781 The so-called Sachwerth (thing-value, real-value) of Hermann, St. Untersuchungen, 101 ff. Thus Poulett Scrope recommended a "tabular standard," to be officially established and renewed from time to time, to serve as an anchor to those persons who wished permanently to fix their money in such a manner as to make it exchangeable for an equal value in things. (Principles of Political Economy, 1833, 406.) Something of this kind was tried for 50 commodities, between 1833 and 1837, by Porter, Progress of the Nation, 1st ed., II, 236 ff., then for 40 commodities by Jevons in the Statistical Journal, 1865. Of course, all commodities of a given price are not equally important in this respect. Thus, for instance, a fluctuation in the price of diamonds would have no effect on the thing-value or real-value of a day's wages, but it certainly would on the thing-value of a princely income. There are some excellent remarks on this very important subject in Lowe's work, On the Actual Condition of England, chs. 8 and 9. The controversy carried on between Jevons, A serious Fall in the Value of Gold, and its social Effects, 1863; Statist. Journal, 1865; and Laspeyres, Hildebrand's Jahrb., 1864, 81 ff.; 1871, I, 296 ff; in which the former recommends the geometric mean of the relative prices of separate commodities at different points of time, in order to calculate the average relative price: and the latter, as usual, the arithmetical mean, is very thoroughly reviewed and criticised by Drobisch, who shows that neither of these methods is sufficient, but that the quantity of every separate commodity must also be taken into account, for which he furnishes practical formulae. (Math. phys. Berichte der K. Saechs. Gesellsch., 1871, I, 143 ff, 416 ff.) It is certain that a fixed income in money could maintain its real value or thing-value (Sachwerth) just as little if the cwt. of bread rose by as many dollars as the cwt. of pepper had fallen; as if the increasing price of bread depended on a decreasing price of pepper.
782 Senior, Outlines, 187. In addition to this, we may draw from the thing-value of a day's wages a right conclusion as to the economic condition of the majority of the people; and assuming the customary division of the national wealth, also as to the degree, to which the people have subjected the forces of nature to their service.
783 Ricardo, ch. 22, refuted, indeed, only the view that an increase in the wages of labor produced by the higher prices of corn, would necessarily make all goods or products of labor, correspondingly dearer.
784 Compare 103. In Paris, in 1817, the setier of wheat cost March 5, 551/2 francs; April 2, 57 fr.; April 23, 60 fr.; May 14, 63 fr.; May 21, 66 fr.; May 28, 75 fr.; June 4, 82 fr.; June 11, 92 fr. (Tooke, History of Prices, II, 17.)
785 Locke, 98. When Condillac asserts that wheat is the best measure of prices, he adds, when free trade in wheat obtains. (Commerce et Gouvernement, 1, 23.) Fichte, on the other hand, while advocating the despotic guidance of all trade by the state, would employ wheat as the fundamental measure of prices. (Geschl. Handelstaat, 47 ff.) That grain does not afford a good measure of prices in very highly cultivated nations nor in barbaric ones, see Hermann, II, Aufl., 451.
786 The average price must be based on the prices of a great many years, since crops vary not only from year to year in price, but from decade to decade. See Roscher, Nationaloekonomik des Ackerbaues, 152, and Roscher, Kornhandel und Theuerungspolitik, 47 ff. Great wars are wont to disturb agriculture in such a manner that the price of corn is very much increased by them. Hence, it is not unfrequently possible to use the prices of grain as a species of barometer to determine the real pressure of a war upon the economic life of a people. Judging by this standard, England suffered much less from the War of the Roses in the fifteenth century, than from the civil wars in the seventeenth; and less than France from the religious wars of the sixteenth. The war year 1631-2, in which Gustavus Adolphus and the emperors had to spare the country, must have been far less oppressive for Saxony than the later Swedish campaigns. Roscher, in the Tuebinger Zeitschrift, 1857, 471.
787 Most countries go through these successive periods in their corn trade: in the first, exportation preponderates; in the second, there is an equilibrium; in the third, importation preponderates. (M. Chevalier, III, 74 ff.) Compare Tacit., Ann., XII, 43. Omitting the two dearest and the two cheapest years, the Prussian provinces were circumstanced as follows:
In The Whole Kingdom, the price of Rye, 1816 to 1837, was 40. silver groschens. The population per square mile, 2,776 In Prussia, 32.2 silver groschens, and 1,827 In Posen, 34.3 silver groschens, and 2,180 In Brandeburg, Pomerania, 38.4 silver groschens, and 2,093 In Saxony, 40.3 silver groschens, and 2,366 In Silesia, 38.0 silver groschens, and 3,612 In Westphalia, 47.7 silver groschens, and 3,600 In Rhine Province, 49.4 silver groschens, and 5,078
Rau, Lehrbuch, I, 183. As to when it may be assumed that the price of corn has remained unchanged, see Hermann, loc. cit., 125 ff.
788 Petty recommended the average daily food necessarily required by one man as the measure of price, estimated on the basis of the cheapest means of subsistence. (Polit. Anatomy of Ireland, 62 ff.) Thaer used as such a measure the smallest day's wages; as he supposed, expressed in rye, that is, 1/9 of the Prussian scheffel. Similarly, Malthus, in his first edition, and Buquoy, Theorie der Nationalwirthschaft, 240. But this is simply to substitute for wheat an arbitrarily determined quantity and quality of the same as a measure of prices. For practical experiments of this kind, made by the depreciation of paper money during the French Revolution, see M. Chevalier, Cours, III, 98; and Constitution de 1795, V, 68, VI, 173. Count Soden, Nat. OEk., II, 338 f., demands that all taxes, salaries of state officials etc., should be regulated in accordance with the price of corn. This same view has been suggested recently in many German States.