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Peter Bernholz

Subtitle: History, Economic and Political Relationships, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham U.K., 2003, 210 pgs., index. sources, tables, paperback


Reviewer Comment - The author does not include enough attention to ancient and medieval economic history. He does discuss paper money and its impact on inflation in relation to currency, but does not consider credit. He appears to consider as 'money' only currency. And he continues the typical myth about barter . His study of modern monetary inflations is detailed and excellent. But he cites Gresham's Law a dozen times when discussing currency debasement. It appears to be is 'all purpose' cause. The 'law' states that 'bad' money will drive 'good' money out of circulation. He uses this idea repeatedly, but then he also writes of situation for 'referse' GL - namely that 'good' money drove 'bad' money out of cirulation. Does he also believe there are cases of 'reverse gravity'?

The specific cases do have historical records. The idea is that when a sovereign 'debases' that is mints a new coin with less silver and more other metal but establishes its official 'value' at the same level, the pubic will use the debased currency and horde the old, but where does the old go and why. But we know that some of the specific cases were that the original 'good' silver coins were going out of country - from Rome to China or from Europe to China - and it was the resulting shortage of coins for daily use that required the soverign to remint and increase the quantity of coins. In other cases, it was the sovereign who called in the 'good' coins and reminted them debased as 'bad' coins. So of course the 'good' coins disappeared - right into the mint. The book is an econometrican product, full of math and tables and models.


1 Introduction


Chapter 2 - Inflation and monetary regimes


Chapter 3 - Inflation under metallic monetary regimes


Chapter 4 - Moderate paper money inflations


Chapter 5 - Characteristics of hyperinflations


Chapter 6 - Currency competitions, inflation. Gresham's Law and exchange rate


Chapter 7 - Ending mild or moderate inflation


Chapter 8 - Currency reforms ending hyperinflations




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