09.10.2018

Seminar on paper money and the origin of the modern economy

A seminar on this subject will be held in Sölvhóll, a meeting room in the Central Bank of Iceland on Tuesday, 9 October at 3 PM

Speaker: Sverrir Jakobsson, Professor of history at the University of Iceland 

Abstract: The history of paper money is also the history of the development of different economies towards more complicated and more diversified business models and also towards deeper thinking about monetary matters. In the seminar the origin of paper money will be traced to East Asian societies in the middle ages and later introduced in Western societies during the latter half of the 17th century. The public opinion of paper money while it was still novelty, i.e. until the middle of the 18th century, will be analysed.

The story of paper money and its developement has been told in the Western world as if it suddenly came into the world like Athena who sprang fully grown from Zeus head. Specialists in the history of China have analysed the prehistory of paper money in China but it has rarely been integrated into an analysis of the economic history of these societies, as will be done in the seminar. A comparison of experiments with paper money in different societies can shed a light on the conditions for it to thrive.

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