Die russische Papierwährung. Eine volkwirthschaftliche und finanzpolitische Studie, nebst Vorschlägen zur Herstellung der Valuta.

Riga, N. Kymmel, 1868.

8vo, pp. xv, [1] blank, 292, [3] errata, [1] imprint; a very good copy, uncut and unopened in the original printed wrappers.


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First edition in book form: the work first appeared in the Baltische Monatschrift 1867–8; a Russian translation by Bunge, later minister of finance, was published in Kiev in 1871.

Adolph Wagner (1835–1917) numbers amongst the most important economic theorists and social scientists in the second half of the nineteenth century. He ‘tried to steer a middle course between the historical school and its theoretically oriented opponents. At a time when economic theory was neglected in Germany, it was to Wagner’s merit that he helped avoid its almost complete disappearance from economic discussion’ (The New Palgrave). Wagner began his career as an expert on money and banking; the present work gave an impetus to other writers on the question of paper money in Russia.

‘Paper money (assignaty) was introduced in 1769, and inevitably public confidence in it fell fairly rapidly: by 1801 a paper ruble was worth 66k in silver, by 1817 after the outlays of the Napoleonic war, only 25k … For a time, gold and silver were the basic means of exchange, but the huge debts of the Crimean War were again covered by the issue of assignaty. Another attempt at monetary reform in the early 1860s ran aground on the expense of suppressing the Polish rebellion’ (Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire 1552–1917, p. 106).

Einaudi 5946; Masui, p. 840; Menger, col. 386; Stammhammer, p. 221

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