In Good Money , George Selgin tells the story of a fascinating and important yet almost unknown episode in the history of money; British manufacturers’ challenge to the Crown’s monopoly on coinage.
In the 1780s, when the Industrial Revolution was gathering momentum, the Royal Mint failed to produce enough small-denomination coinage for factory owners to pay their workers. As the currency shortage threatened to derail industrial progress, manufacturers began to mint custom-made coins, called 'tradesman’s tokens.' Rapidly gaining wide acceptance, these tokens served as the nation’s most popular currency for wages and retail sales until 1821, when the Crown outlawed all moneys except its own.
Good Money not only examines the crucial role of private coinage in fueling the Industrial Revolution, but it also challenges beliefs upon which all modern government-currency monopolies rest. It thereby sheds light on contemporary private-sector alternatives to government-issued money, such as digital monies, cash cards, electronic funds transfer, and spontaneous ‘dollarization’.
'"Good Money" is a pleasure to read, and offers economic and historical scholarship of the highest quality.’ Professor Tyler Cowen, Director of the James Buchanan Center at George Mason University
‘This book is an outstanding achievement, reminiscent of the best in popular history and science.’ Professor Kevin Dowd, Professor of Economics, University of Nottingham
2008, Published by the University of Michigan Press in Association with the IEA
ISBN 978 0 472 11631 7, 400pp, HB
The Denationalization of Money by F. A. Hayek
Free Banking in Britain by Lawrence White
Less Than Zero by George Selgin
Private Money: The Path to Monetary Stability by Kevin Dowd