Credit Where Credit Is Due: Henry Thornton and the Evolution of the Theory of Fiduciary Money
AbstractPerceptive thinkers have been writing intelligently about money for at least five centuries. However, nearly all of the early thinkers developed theories designed to explain the behavior of full-bodied metallic money or the opposite extreme, fiat money issued by governments. However, late in the eighteenth century Great Britain gave rise to a fiduciary monetary system in which the assets regularly used to make commercial payments were debt instruments issued not only by the Bank of England but also by a myriad of country banks. Furthermore, a variety of privately issued commercial paper was regularly used to make commercial payments. While thinkers of the stature of David Hume and Adam Smith utilized the quantity theory of money or the real bills doctrine to explain the monetary system, Henry Thornton broke new ground by developing a theory that recognized the essential truth that most of the “monies” used in England (and Scotland) were merely promises to pay.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Duke University Press in its journal History of Political Economy.
Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (Fall)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Duke University Press 905 W. Main Street, Suite 18B Durham, NC 27701
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?viewby=journal&productid=45614
Henry Thornton; theory of fiduciary money; English financial system; Adam Smith; David Hume; John Law;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.