Front Page Titles (by Subject) International Monetary Negotiations. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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International Monetary Negotiations. - 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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International Monetary Negotiations.
It is quite impossible that I should in this brief work give any sufficient sketch of the long series of discussions, meetings, congresses, associations, negotiations, and conventions which resulted in the actual establishment of an international money among the nations of western continental Europe. I must refer the reader, desirous of more information, to the excellent pamphlet of the eminent actuary, Mr. Frederick Hendriks, which first made the subject well known in England. It is called "Decimal Coinage; a Plan for its immediate Extension in England in connection with the International Coinage of France and other Countries," and was privately printed in 1866. Mr. Seyd's "Treatise on Bullion and the Foreign Exchanges" may also be consulted, and the Journal des Economistes is full of information on the subject.
The International Association for obtaining a Uniform Decimal System of Measures, Weights, and Coins, was founded in Paris in 1855, and the English branch carried on active operations. In 1858 the United States made proposals towards the assimilation of currencies. In 1860 and 1863 important international congresses were held in London and Berlin, and, at the latter one especially, important resolutions were adopted which we shall have to consider. It was, however, the close contiguity of the countries, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Italy, and the fact that French gold, and even silver coin, could not be prevented from passing the frontiers, which forced the question forwards, and led in December, 1865, to an actual Convention for International Currency.
The report of the Congress of 1863 concerning currency is a highly important document. It point out the superior convenience of a gold standard, with a subsidiary coinage of silver and bronze; advocates uniform fineness of nine parts in ten for all standard coins; suggests a definition of weights of coins, on the metric system; and, finally, propounds a scheme by which the existing monetary units could be brought into simple relations with each other.
In 1870, a short time previous to the declaration of war with Germany, France summoned a fresh Imperial Commission, presided over by the Minister of Commerce and the Minister President of the Council of State (M. de Parieu), to take evidence from all sides on the various questions connected with the standard and its bearing upon international coinage. No less than thirty-seven witnesses were examined, and the results of the inquiry, printed by the French government in two very large volumes in 1872, show that the majority of the witnesses and of the Commissioners were decidedly in favour of a single gold standard.
Owing to a purely accidental coincidence, the principal monetary units already closely approximate to simple multiples of the franc. The following table shows the present relative values of these units and the multiples to which it is proposed to make them exactly conform.
It is only requisite to raise the florin 1.21 per cent., and to lower the dollar and pound sterling respectively 3.5 and 0.88 per cent., to establish very simple ratios between them. Thus, without any appreciable change of monetary systems, it would be possible to reduce statements from one mode of expression into another; moreover, the coins might themselves have international currency, the pound sterling serving as a twenty-five franc piece in France, and as a five-dollar piece in America, the American gold dollar reciprocally circulating as an écru in France, and a four-shilling piece in England.
The congress abstained from recommending any one unit for universal adoption, but urged that every nation, not possessing one of the four units named, should select that which pleased them best. Had this scheme been accepted by all nations in an intelligent and liberal spirit, we should ere now have probably seen our way clearly to the selection of the best unit. Since 1865, unfortunately, both the German empire and the Scandinavian kingdoms have made alterations not in accordance with these principles. A great assimilation of moneys has taken place, but it is in the direction of groups of national, rather than of international currencies, although, as has been demonstrated by Mr. Hendriks in several articles in the Economist, the new coins have many fresh and important points of contact and of agreement with the metrical and decimal systems, so that some real progress has actually been accomplished.