chapter  7
18 Pages

The Burdens of Tradition: Debasements, Coinage Circulation and Mercantilist Public Policy Debates in Seventeenth-Century Aragon

Both of these arguments implicitly assume the emergence of an ever more coherent monetary policy in the leading European states of this era. However, these states were still in the process of formation, and the authority of the monarch and government di ered widely in the various territories under their control. e limited nature of royal power is revealed in the coexistence of two kinds of coins in many seventeenth-century states. us, the monarchy would usually issue the principal coinage associated with the state in the regions that were more directly under its control, and from which it obtained the majority of its tax revenues. Other subordinate regions, however, enjoyed greater political autonomy and a separate institutional framework, so that they conserved the

right to issue their own domestic coinage, which usually coexisted in the market alongside the principal currency. In these states and regions, the monarchy had to negotiate its monetary policies, as it did its scal policies (taxes) with the local public institutions. When the monarchy was forced to negotiate debasements for scal rather than purely monetary purposes, and thus usually under far more di cult conditions, depreciation was either postponed or failed to be implemented, for lack of consensus. If debasements were nally introduced, usually in exchange for tax concessions, their e cacy in stimulating economic recovery depended on the interest of the elites who had agreed with the monarchy to implement the reforms.