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Cover of The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought

The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought

Volume 20, Issue 1, Feb 2013
Pages 1-28

  • DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2011.565359
  • Print ISSN: 0967-2567
  • Online ISSN: 1469-5936

An unpublished letter of David Ricardo on the double standard of money

Université Paris 8-LED and Université Paris 8-LED


This article transcripts and comments a hitherto unpublished letter by David Ricardo, dated 19 January 1823 and addressed to Grenfell. In this letter Ricardo opposes the adoption of a double standard of money, two years after the return to convertibility of banknotes and in the midst of an economic recession that pressed for drastic monetary changes. It contains an argument – linking the double standard of money, the seignorage on the silver coin, the behaviour of the Bank of England, and the fall in the value of the pound – which is to be found nowhere else in Ricardo's works.