The International Economy and Monetary Movements in France, 1493–1725
by Frank C. Spooner
Harvard University Press, 1972
Cloth: 978-0-674-45840-6
Library of Congress Classification HG976.S65
Dewey Decimal Classification 332.4944


This volume makes available the first English version of L’Économie mondiale et les frappes monétaires en France, 1493–1680, Frank C. Spooner’s original and distinguished contribution to economic and monetary history. Generously illustrated with maps and graphs, and abridged by the author, this study introduces the English-reading audience to the methodological approaches of the modern school of French economic history. In this edition, Spooner covers an additional forty-five years not included in his original work: the period 1680–1725 which marks the prelude to the great monetary reform and consolidation of France in 1726.

In addition to bringing the reader up to date on his continuing research, he presents a number of important conclusions concerning this economic era. Drawing from his vast insight into French monetary history and his thorough technical knowledge of French coinage and minds of the period, the author maps the historical and spatial perspectives of the two and a half centuries when France experienced successive periods of inflation as bullion, copper, and credit emerged into the forefront of economic affairs. To illustrate the way in which the sequence of these periods affected the structure of the French economy, he discusses how the relative supply and demand of the metals used in varying degrees as a medium of exchange increased the demand for the metal and influenced the credit system. Credit thus made a special contribution in coordinating and adjusting the various inconsistencies in the production and circulation of the different metals.

Throughout his study, Spooner attributes an important role to money as a significant factor in economic change and development in early modern Europe and focuses on the relationship between the supply of money and the level and pattern of economic activity.

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