Front Page Titles (by Subject) Poulett Scrope\'s Tabular Standard of Value. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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Poulett Scrope's Tabular Standard of Value. - William Stanley Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange 
Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1876).
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Poulett Scrope's Tabular Standard of Value.
A very similar scheme was independently proposed, about eleven years later, by Mr. G. Poulett Scrope, the well-known writer on geology and political economy. In a very able but now forgotten pamphlet, called "An Examination of the Bank Charter Question, with an Inquiry into the Nature of a Just Standard of Value" (London, 1833), Mr. Scrope suggests (p. 26) that a standard might be formed by taking an average of the mass of commodities which, even if not employed as the legal standard, might serve to determine and correct the variations of the legal standard. The scheme was also described in Mr. Scrope's interesting book on the Principles of Political Economy, published in the same year (p. 406), and in the second edition of the same book, called "Political Economy for Plain People," issued two years ago, (p. 308). The late Mr. G. R,. Porter, without referring to previous writers, gave the same scheme in 1838, in the first edition of his well-known treatise on "The Progress of the Nation," (Sections III, and IV. p. 235). He added a table showing the average fluctuations of fifty commodities monthly during the years 1833 to 1837.
Such schemes for a tabular or average standard of value appear to be perfectly sound and highly valuable in a theoretical point of view, and the practical difficulties are not of a serious character. To carry Lowe's and Scrope's plans into effect, a permanent government commission would have to be created, and endowed with a kind of judicial power. The officers of the department would collect the current prices of commodities in all the principal markets of the kingdom, and, by a well-defined system of calculations, would compute from these data the average variations in the purchasing power of gold. The decisions of this commission would be published monthly, and payments would be adjusted in accordance with them. Thus, suppose that a debt of one hundred pounds was incurred upon the 1st of July, 1875, and was to be paid back on 1st July, 1878; if the commission had decided in June, 1878, that the value of gold had fallen in the ratio of 106 to 100 in the intervening years, then the creditor would claim an increase of 6 per cent in the nominal amount of the debt.
At first the use of this national tabular standard might be permissive, so that it could be enforced only where the parties to the contract had inserted a clause to that effect in their contract. After the practicability and utility of the plan had become sufficiently demonstrated, it might be made compulsory, in the sense that every money debt of, say, more than three months' standing, would be varied according to the tabular standard, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary.