Front Page Titles (by Subject) Conflict of Monetary Systems. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Conflict of Monetary Systems. - William Stanley Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange 
Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1876).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Conflict of Monetary Systems.
The chief difficulty in establishing an international money, arises from the fact that there are several great nations, the French, English, Americans, and Germans, each with its own system of money, which, from motives worthy and unworthy, it is unwilling to give up. There is no overpowering advantage which marks out any one of these systems on its own merit as distinctly the best. There is accordingly a balance of power which produces a dead lock. Each of the three first-named nations has much to say in favour of its own system. The French system, founded on the franc, is an eminently perfect decimal coinage, and has the prestige of being recognized as international money in Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, besides being adopted with international currency as regards gold in Austria, and without it as regards silver in Spain, Greece, and some minor states.
The English may very properly urge that, though the subdivision of the pound is not to be recommended, the pound sterling is itself an excellent unit of value. It is the largest existing monetary unit, and on a gold basis, so that it seems to be peculiarly suitable for the growing wealth of nations. Though recognized only in a small corner of Europe, namely, Portugal, we must remember that Europe is rapidly ceasing to be the exclusive centre of trade and civilization. In the Australian, Polynesian, and African colonies are growing states which will make their might felt ere long, and they adhere to the pound. The world-wide extension of British commerce and British shipping makes the sovereign known in all the ports of the world.
On their part, however, the Americans might have much to say in favour of the dollar. It is decimally divided, and, as we shall see, in the most convenient manner. It corresponds to the coins which have for two or three centuries been most widely circulated and treated as units of account, so that there is much weight of experience in its favour. But, above all, it is firmly adopted as the money of a nation, which, as far as human wisdom can penetrate the future, is destined to be the most numerous, rich, and powerful in the world. That nation, which has arisen from the best stock of England, has absorbed much of the best blood of other European nations, and has inherited the richest continent in the world, must have an importance in coming times of which even Americans are barely conscious.