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Bagehot’s Classical Money View: A Reconstruction

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Read in the context of his time, Bagehot’s book Lombard Street appears as an attempt above all to reveal the dynamic of globalization when global money was sterling.

Bagehot is difficult for modern economists to read with understanding, for three reasons. He was a classical economist not neoclassical, his orientation was global not national, and, most importantly, his intellectual formation was as a practicing country banker not an academic. This paper adopts all three perspectives, and uses this frame to reinterpret his mature work, both Lombard Street and the unfinished Economic Studies, as the origin of the key currency tradition which continues as a minority view in modern economics.

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