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The 1520-1640 “Great Inflation†: An Early Case of Controversy on the Nature of Money


  • Philip Arestis
  • Peter Howells


The causes of the “great inflation†of the sixteenth century have long been the subject of controversy. Since some major work in the 1930s, historians have argued over a “monetary†and a “real†interpretation. What we show in this paper is, first, that there was a dissenting opinion even then; second, that recent scholarship shows that the dissenters’ view of events was probably the more accurate as to fact; third, that the monetary interpretation of the day drew intellectual support from aflawed source; andfinally, that the dissenters were mounting the earliest argument for the endogenous origins of money.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Arestis & Peter Howells, 2001. "The 1520-1640 “Great Inflation†: An Early Case of Controversy on the Nature of Money," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 181-203, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:postke:v:24:y:2001:i:2:p:181-203
    DOI: 10.1080/01603477.2001.11490322

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. L. R. Wray, 1990. "Money and Credit in Capitalist Economies," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 474.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cohen, Joseph N & Linton, April, 2010. "The historical relationship between inflation and political rebellion, and what it might teach us about neoliberalism," MPRA Paper 22522, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Matias Vernengo, 2005. "Money and Inflation: A Taxonomy," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2005_14, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    3. Jérôme Blanc, 2011. "La réforme monétaire française de 1577 : les difficultés d'une expérience radicale," Post-Print halshs-00656436, HAL.

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