British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency by Wadan Narsey

By Wadan Narsey

Wadan Narsey explores how nice Britain sustained monetary supremacy within the foreign economic system within the latter a part of the 19th century, whereas additionally preserving its dedication to maintaining the pound sterling totally convertible to a set quantity of gold.

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Generalized Misconception 19. British authorities were not behaving in any exploitative ‘imperialist’ fashion with colonial currencies, but devising the most appropriate currency and monetary system for the colonial economies and people. This is discussed in the concluding chapters. Outline of chapters Chapter 2 outlines the two centuries of evolution of Britain’s own currency between 1698 and 1893, its formal adoption of the gold standard in 1816, and rejection of bimetallism and silver for itself, despite European consensus on the need to maintain the bimetallic system.

Eventually, when sterling went into decline, far from colonial currencies being regarded as completely convertible, colonies were paradoxically regarded as foreign countries whose currency reserves were a potential drain on Britain’s balance of payments, even though they were net earners of dollar and gold surpluses used by Britain. Generalized Misconception 13. Reserves were invested in securities in London, in order to maximize the income from, and most rapidly accumulate the colonial currency reserves, with complete safety.

85–7, 104). In early 1839, the gold reserves of the Bank of England were three-fourths gone, but the crisis was alleviated through the assistance of Paris and Brussels. 33 The currency/banking debate: the 1844 Bank Charter Act The numerous reserves crises of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, gave rise to the ‘Currency/Banking’ debates on optimal reserves policy, bank credit and note issue, and their impact on inflation. Although Currency Policies for Britain 1660–1892 29 this debate has many dimensions, the focus here is on its implications for reserves policy for the notes of the Bank of England, which will later be contrasted with the rigorous 110% cover enforced for colonies.

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