Friday, June 27, 2008

From where does the name of the dollar originate?

The following is an excerpt from Murray Rothbard's excellent "The Case for a 100% Gold Dollar"
- Allan

Names, therefore, whatever they may be, “Rothbard,” “Jones,” or even “dollar,” could not have arisen as money on the free market. How, then did such names as “dollar” and “peso” originate and emerge in their own right as independent moneys? The answer is that these names invariably originated as names for units of weight of a money commodity, either gold or silver. In short, they began not as pure names, but as names of units of weight of particular money commodities. In the British pound sterling we have a particularly striking example of a weight derivative, for the British pound was originally just that: a pound of silver money.[10] “Dollar” began as the generally applied name of an ounce weight of silver coined in the sixteenth century by a Bohemian, Count Schlick, who lived in Joachimsthal, and the name of his highly reputed coins became “Joachimsthalers,” or simply “thalers” or “dollars.” And even after a lengthy process of debasement, alteration, and manipulation of these weights until they more and more became separated names, they still remained names of units of weight of specie until, in the United States, we went off the gold standard in 1933. In short, it is incorrect to say that, before 1933, the price of gold was fixed in terms of dollars.

Also, do not forget about the academic endeavors of our friends in northern Europe at the Rothbard Institute.

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