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Organization of Debt Into Currency and Other Papers

March 21, 2006

Tags Money and BanksCapital and Interest TheoryMoney and Banking

Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1964.

From Murray Rothbard's History of Economic Thought:

"One of the most unusual — and most advanced — of the American admirers of Fredéric Bastiat was the Boston merchant Charles Holt Carroll (1799–1890). A staunch adherent of free trade and laissez-faire, Carroll, in articles in mercantile and financial magazines from 1855 until 1879, concentrated on questions of money and banking. In essence, Charles Carroll was the last Jacksonian, continuing to argue the ultra-hard money cause long past the tremendous setback it received during the Civil War, when greenbackism and the national banking act necessarily led sound money men to concentrate on sheer return to the gold standard. Moreover, Carroll was not content to advocate 100 per cent banking; he perceptively and consistently urged 100 per cent banking for demand deposits as well as notes. Carroll, indeed, was particularly clear in demonstrating that bank demand deposits mainly arise from the extension of loans by the banks. He also pointed out the fallacy of the Smithian 'real bills' justification for fractional-reserve banking. Further­more, Carroll realized that central banking, epitomized by the Bank of Eng­land, allows far more room for the expansion of fractional reserve and ‘ficti­tious’ money than would a system of free banking. But in addition, Carroll went beyond most hard-money advocates by calling for the elimination of such potentially dangerous currency names as ‘the dollar’ (which give the illusion that these units are goods-in-themselves), and their replacement as the currency unit by regular, ordinary-language definitions of weight in gold, e.g. in numbers of toy ounces. For international currencies, that is, for currencies not redeemable in a common metal, Carroll worked out the essence of the purchasing-power-parity theory for the underlying determination of exchange rates on the world market."

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