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A Treatise on the Alteration of Money

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138 pages
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In this treatise we find an insightful analysis concerning how monetary debasement and inflation increase prices, which proceeds to illustrate how such increases do not affect everyone equally—in effect, causing a revolution in fortunes. In a parallel argument, Mariana explains how government, if given control of other forms of private property, would also debase the values of those forms and use them according to its own interests.


Introduction by Alejandro A. Chafuen

  1. Does the King Own His Subjects’ Goods?
  2. Can the King Demand Tribute from His Subjects Without Their Consent?
  3. Can the King Debase Money by Changing Its Weight or Quality Without Consulting His People?
  4. The Twofold Value of Money
  5. The Foundations of Commerce: Money, Weights, and Measures
  6. Money Has Frequently Been Altered
  7. Advantages Derived from Alteration of Copper Money
  8. Different Maravedis of Varying Values in Castille
  9. Disadvantages Derived from This Alteration of Copper Money
  10. The Major Disadvantages Derived from This Alteration of Money
  11. Should Silver Money Be Altered?
  12. Concerning Gold Money
  13. Is There Some Way to Assist the Prince in His Need?

About Juan de Mariana

Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and theologian. He occupied the chair of theology at the University of Paris from 1569-1574 before returning to Toledo in Spain, where he remained until he died. Mariana’s intellectual contributions are numerous. In addition to his work on politics and economics, he is remembered for a magisterial work on the history of Spain.

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