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Demise and fall of the Augustan monetary system

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Chapter Summary

The distinction between 'money' and 'currency' is mostly limited to the role of cheques and bank money. The difference, however, is more fundamental and crucial to a proper understanding of how money and currency functioned. The essence of money is the social institutionalisation of its primary tokens (whether coins, cowrie shells, bullion, bank notes or anything else). 'Money' exists qua money only when the acceptance of its tokens as tokens (and not for instance as bullion in the case of metal coins) in exchange for goods and services is taken for granted. These institutional aspects are money's deepest soul and secret. No monetary system can survive if the acceptance of its tokens is not self-evident. This chapter discusses the demise and fall of the Augustan monetary system. The most innovative feature of the Augustan system, was the regularity and abundance of its gold currency.

Keywords: Augustan monetary system; gold currency; social institutionalisation



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