Democracy and Money: Lessons for Today from Athens in Classical Times, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Democracy and Money

Lessons for Today from Athens in Classical Times, 1st Edition

By George C. Bitros, Emmanouil M. L. Economou, Nicholas C. Kyriazis

Routledge

360 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367509170
pub: 2020-07-13
SAVE ~$31.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 13th July 2020
$155.00
$124.00
x


FREE Standard Shipping!

Description

The authors of this book argue that post-war fiscal and monetary policies in the U.S. are prone to more frequent and more destabilizing domestic and international financial crises. So, in the aftermath of the one that erupted in 2008, they propose that now we are sleepwalking into another, which under the prevailing institutional circumstances could develop into a worldwide financial Armageddon.

Thinking ahead of such a calamity, this book presents for the first time a model of democratic governance with privately produced money based on the case of Athens in Classical times, and explains why, if it is conceived as a benchmark for reference and adaptation, it may provide an effective way out from the dreadful predicament that state managed fiat money holds for the stability of Western-type democracies and the international financial system.

As the U.S. today, Athens at that time reached the apex of its military, economic, political, cultural, and scientific influence in the world. But Athens triumphed through different approaches to democracy and fundamentally different fiscal and monetary policies than the U.S. Thus the readers will have the opportunity to learn about these differences and appreciate the potential they offer for confronting the challenges contemporary democracies face under the leadership of the U.S.

The book will find audiences among academics, university students, and researchers across a wide range of fields and subfields, as well as legislators, fiscal and monetary policy makers, and economic and financial consultants.

Table of Contents

List of Exhibits

List of Figures

List of Tables

Preface

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Deficits and debts in contemporary democracies

1.2 Complacency and acquiescence of central banks

1.3 Conclusion

Chapter 2: Money-related institutions in classical Athens

2.1 Public governance and Archai in charge of the currency

2.1.1 Making the best out of the Laurion mines

2.1.2 Minting of coins and maintaining their integrity

2.2 Financial intermediation in the private sector

2.2.1 Trapezai (banks)

2.2.2 Argyramoiboi or Kollybistai (moneychangers)

2.2.3 Enechirodanistai (pawnbrokers)

2.3 Summary

Chapter 3: The system and the tenets of public finance

3.1 A brief overview of the fiscal administration

3.1.1 Setup of the state’s financial services

3.1.2 Sources and uses of public funds

3.1.3 Democratic control of financial magistrates

3.1.4 Balancing the budget through war and peace

3.2 Public budget and lenders of last resort

3.3 Summary

Chapter 4: Main currency-related policies

4.1. Economics of minting in classical times

4.1.1. Taxing through reminting

4.2. Regulatory frameworks of coinage

4.2.1 Coinage Decree (449 BC)

4.2.2 The Decree of Kallias (434/3 BC)

4.2.3 Law of Nicophon (375/4 BC)

4.2.4 Currency issues in ancient Greek federations

4.3. Summary

Chapter 5: Structure and evolution of the economy

5.1 The state sector

5.1.1 Governance

5.1.1.1 Civil service

5.1.1.2 Defense and power posture

5.1.1.3 Courts and law enforcement

5.1.1.4 Financial, regulatory and other services

5.1.2 Infrastructural and cultural facilities

5.1.3 Social welfare

5.2 The private sector

5.2.1 Household production for own-use and sale

5.2.2 Trade oriented production of goods and services

5.2.2.1 Mining

5.2.2.2 Handicraft and manufacturing

5.2.2.3 Shipping

5.2.2.4 Money and banking

5.2.2.5 Construction

5.2.2.6 Paideia

5.2.2.7 Health care

5.2.2.8 Other public services

5.2.3 Distribution of goods and services

5.2.4 Export-import trade

5.3 Summary

Chapter 6: Money in a market economy without a central bank

6.1 Demand and supply of currency and bullion

6.2 Demand and supply of primary deposits by banks

6.3 Demand and supply of bank credit

6.4 Equilibrium in the money market

6.5 Summary

Chapter 7: An assessment of comparative performance

7.1 Price stability

7.1.1 Inflation in part and in general

7.1.2 Relative prices and economic flexibility

7.2 Unemployment

7.3 Economic growth

7.4 The interest rate

7.4.1 Real interest rates in the U.S and ancient Athens

7.4.2 Public goods and the rate of interest

7.5 The two currencies from an international perspective

7.5.1 The U.S. dollar in the postwar period

7.5.2 The Attic drachma in classical times

7.6 Summary

Chapter 8: Alternatives to established central banking

8.1 Central bank as the fourth power of the state

8.2 Currency and credit based on free banking

8.3 Attic drachma: Private currency with state standards

8.4 On the evolving prospects of electronic money

8.5 Leads for money from classical Athens

8.5.1 Central banking with a non-convertible paper currency

8.5.2 Free banking with commodity-based currencies: The Athenian vs. the Scottish model

8.5.3 Free banking with digital currencies

8.6 Concluding assessments

8.7 Appendix: On the inversion of Gresham’s law in classical Athens

Chapter 9: Why back and how to direct democracy

9.1 Core weaknesses of contemporary democracy

9.1.1 The self-interest of politicians

9.1.2 Bureaucracy

9.1.3 Uncoordinated administrative polycentrism

9.1.4 Rent-seeking

9.1.5 Regulatory and state capture

9.2 Sources of inherent weaknesses in contemporary democracy

9.2.1 Impossibility of representation in groups

9.2.2 Asymmetry of information

9.2.3 The deleterious role of political parties

9.2.4 Deficit spending

9.3 The superior advantages of direct democracy

9.3.1 No representation, no political parties, no voter alienation

9.3.2 Procedural counterbalancing of informational asymmetries

9.3.3 Election, accountability and personal responsibility of all officials

9.3.4 Resiliency through multiple checks and balances

9.4 The long march back to citizen sovereignty

9.4.1 Gradualist pathways to substantive democracy

9.4.2 Radical return to direct democracy

9.5 Summary and concluding remarks

References

Ancient Greek authors

More recent literature

Contemporary literature in Greek

Index of Subjects

Glossary of Greek terms

About the Authors

George C. Bitros is Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, Athens University of Economics and Business.

Emmanouil M.L. Economou is Adjunct Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Thessaly.

Nicholas C. Kyriazis is Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Thessaly.

About the Series

Banking, Money and International Finance

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS023000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History
BUS039000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Macroeconomics
BUS069000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUS069010
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Comparative
BUS069030
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory
BUS079000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
HIS002010
HISTORY / Ancient / Greece