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Liberating JudgmentFanatics, Skeptics, and John Locke's Politics of Probability$
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Douglas John Casson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144740

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144740.001.0001

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The Great Recoinage Revisited

The Great Recoinage Revisited

(p.253) Conclusion The Great Recoinage Revisited
Liberating Judgment

Douglas John Casson

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter reviews how Locke's attempt to establish a stable and trustworthy monetary standard was nothing short of a fiasco. When the secretary of the Treasury proposed to stabilize the currency by lowering its silver content coins, Locke rejected the idea. He argued instead that coins should not represent anything other than the “intrinsick value” of their silver content. If the government abandoned the “natural” worth of coins, they would further undermine the trust that people have in their currency. Locke's insistence that Parliament ensure the worth or trustworthiness of the currency by maintaining its weight led to the Great Recoinage of 1696. However, most contemporary economists believe that England would have been better off had Locke lost the argument and allowed the Treasury to debase the coin.

Keywords:   John Locke, Great Recoinage, monetary standard, intrinsick value, Parliament, Treasury, England

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