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Extra resources for Currency Convertibility: The Return to Sound Money

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This gave bankers an additional means of adjustment. If their reserves of bullion were falling, instead of calling in their loans (or reducing their volume by raising the rate of interest that they charged to borrowers) they could raise the rate of interest which they offered for deposits of bullion, thereby attracting new deposits. The periodic failure of banks caused considerable disruption to business, and governments were keen to prevent such occurrences. However, by the nature of their business it was always in the short-term economic interest of bankers to expand their note issues, at the cost of increasing the risk that circumstances might arise later in which they would be unable to redeem all the notes presented to them.

1 1400 1600 1700 1500 Price index for S. England over seven centuries Reproduced by kind permission of Dr Peter Smith of the University of Southampton. 1300 Shaded areas indicate periods during which convertibility of sterling was suspended. 1 38 Currency Convertibility for adjusting exchange rates according to an internationally agreed formula can overcome this difficulty. 3. Although fixing the price of gold, and hence the value of money in terms of gold, could prevent continuing inflation by limiting the increase in the money supply of any country involved, it would not prevent the continuation of serious instability in the prices of other goods, and hence in the value of money in terms of other goods.

1. The great temptations which it offers to over issue and consequent depreciation. 28 Cu"ency Convertibility 2. The impossibility of varying its amount in accordance with the requirements of trade. Over Issue of Paper Money It is hardly requisite to tell again the well-worn tale of the over issue of paper money which has almost always followed the removal of the legal necessity of convertibility. Hardly any civilized nation exists ... which has not suffered from the scourge of paper money at one time or other ...

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