Bank of England poised to take bond-buying plan above $1 trillion

Bank of England poised to take bond-buying plan above $1 trillion

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  1. The fall of Rome as an empire largely tracks the systematic [debasement of its coinage](

    >The major silver coin used during the first 220 years of the empire was the denarius.

    >This coin, between the size of a modern nickel and dime, was worth approximately a day’s wages for a skilled laborer or craftsman. During the first days of the Empire, these coins were of high purity, holding about 4.5 grams of pure silver.

    >However, with a finite supply of silver and gold entering the empire, Roman spending was limited by the amount of denarii that could be minted.

    >This made financing the pet-projects of emperors challenging. How was the newest war, thermae, palace, or circus to be paid for?

    >Roman officials found a way to work around this. By decreasing the purity of their coinage, they were able to make more “silver” coins with the same face value. With more coins in circulation, the government could spend more. And so, the content of silver dropped over the years.

    >By the time of Marcus Aurelius, the denarius was only about 75% silver. Caracalla tried a different method of debasement. He introduced the “double denarius”, which was worth 2x the denarius in face value. However, it had only the weight of 1.5 denarii. By the time of Gallienus, the coins had barely 5% silver. Each coin was a bronze core with a thin coating of silver. The shine quickly wore off to reveal the poor quality underneath.

    Maybe some staunch Keynesian can tell me how money printing, ‘quantitative easing’ and bond-buying is any different from debasing your own currency?



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