Front Page Titles (by Subject) Decimalization of English Money. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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Decimalization of English Money. - 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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Decimalization of English Money.
Since Lord Wrottesley in 1824 proposed in parliament to adopt a decimal subdivision of the pound sterling, an immense amount of discussion has taken place upon various schemes for a new arrangement of our money. The advantages of several plans are so nearly balanced, and the difficulty of carrying any one into effect is so great, that no practical result has yet been achieved by half a century of debate. The two principal schemes, which perhaps need alone be noticed now, are the Pound and Mil scheme, and the Penny and Ten-franc scheme.
The former of these schemes reposes upon the fact that the farthing is nearly the thousandth part of the pound. Since 960 farthings make a pound, it would only be necessary to alter the farthing 4 per cent. to obtain the lowest decimal submultiple, to be called the mil. The penny would be five mils, like the French halfpenny or five centimes; as some have supposed a new coin, in value 2.4d., would have to be introduced, as the hundredth part of the pound; but this is unnecessary, and the florin would be one hundred mils, and the half-sovereign five hundred mils. The great advantage of this method is, that it retains the pound as the principal unit, together with several other familiar coins. Against it has been urged, (1) the supposed fact that it excludes the most familiar of all coins, the shilling and sixpence, and (2) that the mil is somewhat too small a submultiple to begin with. This is, however, not necessarily the case. The shilling might remain, as coin of circulation, of the same weight, fineness, and value as at present, but would be translated, as coin of account, into fifty mils instead of forty-eight farthings, and the sixpence into twenty five mils instead of twenty-four farthings. This subdivision is not more complex than the one successfully, and in the almost parallel forms of fifty and twenty pfennige, centimes, lire, öre, etc., pieces, carried out in the new coinages of Germany, Scandinavia, or of the monetary allies of France. As to the mil being too small a submultiple, it seems to be overlooked that it is 2½ times as large as the initial submultiple of the French system, and 2 1/25 times as large as that of the new German system.
The second scheme was suggested by the late Professor Graham, and by Mr. Rivers Wilson, in their Report upon the Proceedings of the International Monetary Conference of 1867. It is founded upon the fact that the ten-franc piece is within ¾d. of eight shillings, and only differs 4 per cent. from one hundred pence. Thus it would only be requisite to introduce a gold piece of ten francs, temporarily serving as a token for eight shillings, to obtain a link with the French system. The subsequent reduction of the penny by 4 per cent., and the replacement of the shilling by a franc or tenpenny-piece, would give us a truly decimal system. A great advantage of this proposal is, that it retains, almost unaltered, so familiar a coin as the penny, and makes it, as it is for the most part at present, the lowest money of account. It is, moreover, in close accordance with the French monetary system. The main difficulty is that it involves the abandonment of the pound, which becomes two and a half of the new unit; and that, of all our present coins, only the florin, penny, and halfpenny, would fall in conveniently. To convert sums of money from pounds sterling into the new currency, it would be requisite to multiply by the factor 2½, which would be regarded by most people as a very troublesome process.
When the decimalization of English money was first proposed, the notion of international money had never been seriously entertained, and hardly indeed conceived. So much progress has now been made, that it is impossible to consider the one reform without reference to the other. The difficulty of making any change whatever is so great, that it would not be worth while to achieve a partial reform.