1st Edition

Ricardo on Money A Reappraisal

By Ghislain Deleplace Copyright 2017
    434 Pages
    by Routledge

    434 Pages
    by Routledge

    Despite his achievements, David Ricardo’s views on money have often been misunderstood and underappreciated. His advanced ideas had to wait until the twentieth century to be applied, and most historians of economic thought continue to consider him as an obsolete orthodox. The last book devoted in tribute to Ricardo as a monetary economist was published more than 25 years ago.

    Ricardo on Money encompasses the whole of Ricardo’s writings on currency, whether in print, unpublished notes, correspondence, or reported parliamentary speeches and evidence. The aim of the book is at rehabilitating Ricardo as an unorthodox theorist on money and suggesting his relevance for modern analysis. It is divided into three parts: history, theory and policy. The first describes the factual and intellectual context of Ricardo’s monetary writings. The second part puts the concept of standard centre stage and clarifies how, according to Ricardo, the standard regulated the quantity – and hence the value – of money. The final part shows that Ricardo relied on the active management of paper money rather than on flows of bullion and commodities to produce international adjustment and guarantee the security of the monetary system.

    Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the publication of On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, this book will be of great interest to all historians of economic thought and scholars of monetary economics.

    List of tables



    1. Why a book on Ricardo on money?





    2. An evolution in Ricardo’s theory of money

    The relation with the theory of value and distribution

    Ricardo’s mature theory of money in brief

    3. The content of the book: history, theory, policy

    Part I. History

    Part II. Theory

    Part III. Policy

    4. Two hundred years after

    PART I History

    1 The historical context

    1.1 The English monetary system at the time of Ricardo



    1.2 International monetary relations in Europe: London, Paris, Hamburg

    1.3 From Hume to the Bullionist Controversy

    David Hume and James Steuart

    The Bullionist Controversy

    A central question: the role of note-issuing in monetary disorder

    1.4 The first round of the Bullionist Controversy (1797‒1803)

    The search for analytical foundations

    Thornton’s Paper Credit of Great Britain

    Appendix 1: Ricardo on the bullion and foreign exchange markets

    1. Ricardo contradicts Bosanquet on the rise of gold on the Continent

    2. Ricardo contradicts Vansittart on the state of the exchange with Hamburg in 1760

    2 Ricardo’s battles on currency and banks

    2.1 Ricardo and the Bullion Controversy (1809‒1811)

    The second round of the Bullionist Controversy

    Ricardo’s positions

    2.2 Ricardo and the resumption of convertibility (1816‒1823)

    The third round of the Bullionist Controversy

    Ricardo’s two plans

    2.3 Conclusion: the legacy of Ricardo’s monetary battles

    Appendix 2: Attacks and weapons

    1. Attacks: critical opinions on Ricardo

    2. Weapons:


    Ghislain Deleplace is Emeritus Professor of Economics at University Paris 8 at Saint-Denis, France. His fields of research are the history of monetary thought (Steuart, Ricardo, Marx, Keynes, Sraffa), the history of the international monetary system (sixteenth century, nineteenth century), and the Post-Keynesian theory of money.