This chapter discusses the history of central banks, with emphasis on the case of the Bank of England. For a long time after John Law, Frenchmen remained deeply suspicious of banks and bank notes, of any money that was not made of metal. The chapter considers the reforms that occurred in the banking industry, led by the Bank of England, which gradually emerged as the guardian of the money supply as well as of the financial concerns of the government of England during the period 1720–1780. It also examines the 1811 debate on the nature of money and its management, focusing on David Ricardo's arguments about money in relation to the gold standard. Finally, it looks at the Bank of England's role in introducing the use the two historic instruments of central bank policy: open-market operations and the bank rate.
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