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More Money and Morality

January 9, 2004

From the great Spanish scholastic Juan de Mariana, writing in the late 15th century:

"It is not rare for the iniquitous and equally useless suggestion of altering the value of money to be whispered in the king's ear.  With this measure, they say, no one will suffer direct harm.  The intrinsic value of money will be lower, but the legal value will remain the same.  Can you imagine any more easily executed or faster means of extracting the prince from his terrible plight?  But how can such learned men come to believe in such a mistake and to applaud such a nonsensical plan?  A nation, a prince, should never act against justice.  Such means, considered from every perspective, are and always will be plunder."

Elsewhere, Mariana wrote that the only party that benefits from inflating the currency is the prince, "and we should not always look after the prince's interests, and least of all when he uses these methods." 

 

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