Money as mumeraire: doctrinal aspects and contemporary relevance
At the beginning of the twentieth century, most economists took it for granted that the primary function of money is its role as a medium of exchange and that moneyshould consist of, or be backed by, gold, or silver, or both. This paper discusses three writers--Alexander Del Mar, Georg Knapp, and John Maynard Keynes--who took a different tack. By endeavouring to explain what money is, they focused on the capacity of money to have value. In so doing, they gave primacy to the unit-of-account function of money and originated the theory of chartalism. We show that the primacy placed on the numeraire by those writers provides insights into present-day analyses of general equilibrium, neutral money, business cycles, and currency-area formation.
Volume (Year): 59 (2006)
Issue (Month): 239 ()
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