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New World GoldCultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain$
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Elvira Vilches

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226856186

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226856193.001.0001

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The New World of Money

The New World of Money

Chapter:
(p.145) 4 The New World of Money
Source:
New World Gold
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226856193.003.0005

This chapter focuses on the price revolution and the new monetary economy during the first half of the sixteenth century. Although credit was central to the networks of continental commerce, the general public believed that the financial instruments introduced by money changers and banking firms had created a strange and opaque monetary order. They suspected the deceitful transactions that were going on in the money market, which increased the price of commodities and dissolved gold and silver pieces coming from the New World into the uncertainty of credit. The progressive abstraction of money and inflation led to the belief that money itself was beginning to break down altogether. By causing puzzlement and confusion, money gave rise to extensive parliamentary petitions, economic treatises, and literary reflections. The chapter considers such writings in chronological order, including those by Cristóbal de Villalón and Luis Saravia de la Calle, in order to assess the cultural and intellectual anxiety that accompanied the growth of the credit economy. The Indies became associated with the new commercial practices and acquired a prominent role in economic writing.

Keywords:   monetary economy, credit, New World, commerce, financial instruments, money, banking, money market, inflation, credit economy

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