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‘Country rag merchants’ and English local currencies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century

Frame, Iain (2015) ‘Country rag merchants’ and English local currencies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Journal of Law and Society, 42 (4). pp. 588-610. ISSN 0263-323X. E-ISSN 1467-6478. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00726.x) (KAR id:55713)

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In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, communities across England used country bankers’ notes almost as much as they used coins and Bank of England notes. Accounting for the relative success of these alternative currencies is challenging, however, due to the frequency of financial crisis during the period. If, during a crisis, all note holders attempted to enforce the promise to pay in gold coin against the issuing banker, the “law-finance paradox” would leave some note holders with gold coin, but would leave many more with merely “country rags” or worthless pieces of paper. Building on both the credit approach to money and the relational approach to contract, this article shows note using communities successfully responding to financial crisis. They frequently did so by formalising the bonds of reciprocity and trust tying the community to its note-issuing banker – bonds sometimes made all the stronger by legal enforceability.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00726.x
Uncontrolled keywords: local currency, alternative currency, history of finance
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sarah Saines
Date Deposited: 27 May 2016 10:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Frame, Iain:
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