This book is an enquiry, made by economists, into the historical origins of modern money. Read More
European monetary space was in the 16th century the very heart of the world trading space.
Contrary to the traditional point of view, according to which money was a simple instrument for commercial exchanges obeying their rules, the authors show the existence of an autonomous monetary space, that of currency exchange, whose functioning determined to a large extent the circulation of goods.
This monetary geography was characterized by a connection between two pôles : a few family « multinational » firms practicing currency exchange as well as commerce or finance, and emerging state powers, having the right of coinage. The main fair, Lyons, then « Bisenzone », was where the tensions of the continent were polarized into a system of national currency exchanges. Monetary relations thus appeared as a new mode of individual use of the social languages which the units of account represent, a mode which both complemented and fought the fragmented state powers.
One century before the émergence of banks of issue, currency constituted a spécifie link between private practices and public prérogatives.