Counteracting counterfeiting? False money as a multidimensional justice issue in 16th and 17th century monetary analysis
AbstractFalse money appeared as the general common issue in monetary debates that occured in European countries in the 16th and 17th centuries. It first refered to sovereignty, in a time of state-building, as well as to a serious economic problem. Beyond sovereignty and economy, justice and, then, the public faith, were endangered by those who devoted themselves to produce false coins. The thesis of this communication is that one cannot understand clearly the general topic of false money by reading texts of the time with today's general definition of false money. We propose, then, to identify the multiple dimensions of false money : counterfeiting (by individuals), degradations of coins (by individuals and officers of the Mint) and debasement and enhancement (by princes). These dimensions appeared in monetary discourses like Bodin's, Mariana's and Locke's ones, with sometimes a lack of clarity. Then, a general claim to counteract counterfeiting may conceal a claim to suppress any possibility of debasing currency. Making clearer monetary discourses on that topic and establishing a hierarchy between the three dimensions of false money helps to understand why the false money issue was firstly a matter of monetary justice by the prince himself. In order to do so, we pay special attention to Bodin, Mariana and Locke.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00160880.
Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Publication status: Published - Presented, 11th ESHET Conference, "Justice in Economic Thought", 2007, Strasbourg, France
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History of monetary thought; monetary history; modern times; counterfeiting; debasement;
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