Free Banking (Vol. II) History by Lawrence White (ed.)

By Lawrence White (ed.)

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It has frequently been said that a good many aspects of Smith's thought were not rigorous in the integrative sense; that his mixture of theory and institutional treatment yield a picture that is highly elliptical. This is certainly true of banking. It was necessary, of course, that his views on the subject be consistent with his general approach to the economy, resting as it did on the market mechanism operated by men who enjoyed free entry and minimal supervision. The banking expression of Smith's system of natural liberty was a set of institutions composed of many enterprises, none capable of monopolistic power or even leadership, each guided by prudential rules, and all trading within an environment of law provided by the state.

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The equalization of rates of return on various stores of value plays no role in their model. Instead. they perceived the welfare gains of laissez-faire as accruing from the t\\·o other functions of money. the unit of accollnt and the medilllll of exchange. Early Experiences and Discussions of Monetary,Separability Some degree of separation of the means of payment from the accounting unit is a typical feature of monetary systems from primitive times to the French Revolution (see Einzig J9fifi). ed from the media of exchange: In former times.

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