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Global silver: bullion or specie? Supply and demand in the making of the early modern global economy

Irigoin, Alejandra (2018) Global silver: bullion or specie? Supply and demand in the making of the early modern global economy. Economic History Working Papers (285). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

In the early modern period the world economy gravitated around the expansion of long distance commerce. Together with navigation improvements silver was the prime commodity which moved the sails of such trade. The disparate availability of, and the particular demand for silver across the globe determined the participation of producers, consumers and intermediaries in a growing global economy. American endowments of silver are a known feature of this process; however, the fact that the supply of silver was in the form of specie is a less known aspect of the integration of the global economy. This chapter surveys the production and export of silver specie out of Spanish America, its intermediation by Europeans and the re-export to Asia. It describes how the sheer volume produced and the quality and consistency of the coin provided familiarity with, and reliability to the Spanish American peso which made it current in most world markets. By the 18th century it has become a currency standard for the international economy which grew together with the production and coinage of silver. Implications varied according to the institutional settings to deal with specie and foreign exchange in each intervening economy. Generalized warfare in late 18th century Europe brought down governance in Spanish America and coinage fragmented along with the political fragmentation of the empire. The emergence of new sovereign republics and the end of minting as known meant the cessation of the silver standard that had contributed to the early modern globalization.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/Economic-History
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E4 - Money and Interest Rates > E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E4 - Money and Interest Rates > E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E5 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N10 - General, International, or Comparative
N - Economic History > N2 - Financial Markets and Institutions > N20 - General, International, or Comparative
P - Economic Systems > P5 - Comparative Economic Systems
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 14:56
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 05:08
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/90190

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