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Part Three: Money and Banking > Chapter 17. Fiduciary Media and the Demand for...

7. The Influence of Fiduciary Media on Fluctuations in the Objective Exchange-Value of Money

Thus there is no such thing as an automatic adjustment of the quantity of fiduciary media in circulation to fluctuations in the demand for money without an effect on the objective exchange value of money. Consequently all those arguments are ill founded which seek to deny practical significance to the quantity theory by reference to the alleged elasticity of the circulation of money. The increase and decrease of the stock of fiduciary media in a free banking system have no greater natural connection, direct or indirect, with the rise and fall of the demand for money in the broader sense, than the increase and decrease of the stock of money have with the rise and fall of the demand for money in the narrower sense. Such a connection exists only insofar as the credit banks deliberately try to bring it about. Apart from this, the only connection that can be established between the two sets of variations, which are in themselves independent of each other, is like that of the policy which, say, in a period of increasing demand for money in the broader sense aims at an increase of fiduciary media in order to counteract the rise in the objective exchange value of money which might otherwise be expected. Since it is impossible to measure fluctuations in the objective exchange value of money, even only approximately, we are not able to judge whether the increase of fiduciary media that has occurred during the last century in nearly all the countries of the world has together with the increase in the quantity of money kept pace with the increase in the demand for money in the broader sense, or fallen behind it, or outstripped it. All that we can be sure of is that at least a part of the increase in the demand for money in the broader sense has been robbed of its influence on the purchasing power of money by the increase in the quantity of money and fiduciary media in circulation.

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