On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold
As a result of Peel’s Bank Act of 1844 and the discovery of gold in California in 1848 a dramatic increase in the amount of gold entered into circulation. Richard Cobden translated an expanded version of Chevalier’s essay in order to bring to world attention the thoughts of this French free market economist on the impact these events would have on the value of gold and other commodities.
On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold: The Commercial and Social Consequences which may ensue, and the Measures which it invites. Translated from the French, with preface, by Richard Cobden, Esq. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1859).
The text is in the public domain.
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Table of Contents
- TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
- SECTION I.: preliminary observations.
- CHAPTER I.: the question stated
- CHAPTER II.: preliminary observations on the rise of prices which has characterised the last few years.
- SECTION II.: an appeal to some of the fundamental notions upon the nature and characteristics of money.
- CHAPTER I.: what we ought to understand by value and price.—twofold definition of money.—the standard or fineness of money.
- CHAPTER II.: of the meaning of the word standard.— the metal-standard is that from which is derived the monetary unit.—the two ideas standard and monetary unit imply each the other.
- CHAPTER III.: of the character of exchanges as affected by the invention of money —how the rise and fall of the precious metals are manifested in the course of trade.—phenomena of the rise and fall in commodities.
- CHAPTER IV.: on the possibility of conferring the quality of standard upon two metals at once.
- CHAPTER V: of the meaning of certain words specially applicable to money and the precious metals.—price, value, premium, dearness, cheapness
- SECTION III.: of the present production of gold and its outlet.
- CHAPTER I.: of the increase in the present production of gold as compared with the past —the extended coinage of gold which has followed.
- CHAPTER II.: diminished coinage of silver in france—gold is already at a discount in comparison with silver.
- CHAPTER III.: extraordinary exportation of silver from the civilised countries of the western world towards india and china —to what extent it is likely to continue.
- CHAPTER IV.: france serves temporarily as a parachute to retard the fall of gold.
- CHAPTER V.: whether the extraordinary production of gold ought to be considered as an ephemeral accident.—the crushing of the quartz veins —mines in siberia and elsewhere.
- SECTION IV.: on the new outlet that may be expected for the production of the new gold mines, and whether it will be in proportion to the extent of this production.
- CHAPTER I.: of the outlet afforded by those countries which at present have evidently an insufficient proportion of metal in their currencies.
- CHAPTER II.: of the increase of gold money which may arise from the development of business, and the increase of population.—of wear and tear.—of hoarding.—of shipwrecks.
- CHAPTER III.: on the employment which habits of luxury may offer to the gold of the new mines.
- CHAPTER IV.: conclusion of the preceding chapters.—the fall of gold very probable, if not inevitable, in relation to all other commodities.
- SECTION V.
- CHAPTERS I. to V.: on the part assigned to gold in the monetary legislation of france.
- SECTION VI.: consequences of the fall in the value of gold.
- CHAPTER I.: a general distinction between those private incomes which will, and those which will not be affected. of a certain collective loss which the people of france will suffer.
- CHAPTER II.: of the sufferings and difficulties which will accompany the transition.
- CHAPTER III.: on the gain which would result to certain classes of persons, and to society, from the fall in gold. the saving to the state from the payment of the dividends on the public debt.
- SECTION VII.: of the measures to be taken to avert the evil effects of the fall of gold.
- CHAPTER I.: case of a state like england, where gold is the standard, and where there is no other money but gold.
- CHAPTER II.: case of a state such as france, where there is a silver standard, but also a gold currency.
- CHAPTER III.: the measure here recommended is a necessary complement of the law of germinal, year xi.
- CHAPTER IV.: on some inconveniences inherent in the combination, respecting a gold currency, recommended in this work.
- CHAPTER V.: of a plan recommended for maintaining the parallel circulation of silver and gold.
- CHAPTER VI.: of the resolutions of a commission appointed by the minister of finance in mdccclvii.
- CHAPTER VII.: of various acts which the legislation of the ancient regime upon money treated as crimes, and with regard to which some persons of our day propose to establish penalties. —selecting, and melting; trade in coins; exportation.
- CHAPTER VIII.: of a different solution which has been recommended, and which would consist in the adoption of a gold standard.
- CHAPTER IX.: appreciation of the system which consists in adjourning indefinitely the legislative solution.