2013년 10월 22일 화요일

[G. Knapp's State Theory of Money] His Prefaces & Note by Translators

출처: Georg Friedrich Knapp, The State Theory of Money, London: Macmillan & Company (1924)

※ 발췌 (Excerpts):

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The State Theory of Money appeared first in 1905; the 2nd edition followed in 1918, the 3rd in 1921, the fourth in 1923. Our translation is based on the 4th. 

   When the work has appeared in Germany, it was reviewed in England by Dr. J. Bonar in the Economic Journal, March 1922.[n1] The somewhat unfamiliar features of the book could not have been more happily brought out than in this review.
[n1] Vol. xxxii, pp. 39-47. Mr. C. P. Sanger had reviewed it as early as June, 1906, in The Economic Journal, vol. xvi, p. 266-267.
   Thereupon The Royal Economic Society determined to set on foot an English translation, in an abridged form. The work consists of four chapters, of which only the first three will be found here, translated with masterly exactness in spite of all difficulties. The fourth chapter contains the history of currency in England, France, Germany and Austria, as shown in the Contents. The author would not have advised this omission; but the ground is perhaps one of expense and lies in any case beyond his criticism.

   Moreover, the same curtailment was made in the Japanese translation by Kiyozo Miyata, Tokio, 1922;ㅡit might seem as if German writers laid greater stress on history than foreign writers.

   In any case the author is grateful to the Society for carrying out the undertaking, doubtless at some sacrifice. In particular my thanks are due to Messrs. Keynes and Bonar, as well as to the honoured translator, Mrs. Lucas, and her adviser, Mr. Sanger. 

G. F. Knapp
May 16th, 1924


I gained my earliest impressions as to currency questions in 1861 from a summer journey in the Tirol, where there was only paper money in circulation. I had my first teaching on the subject the following winter in Munich from Staatsrat von Hermann. My teacher was a well-informed and clear-sighted man, a silver metallist and an upholder of the theory that the use of paper money was based on credit. In the winter of 1862-63 his favourite subject was currency conditions in the United States, and I was again among his hearers.

   When in Strassburg I myself began a small course of lectures on currency, I tried to keep theory in the background and to bring out clearly what is matter of rule and ordinance [n1] in the most important States, and I still think this heuristic method the best for lectures.
[n1] Das Pragmatische.
( ... ... )

   In the autumn of 1895, in a course of lectures in Berlin, I put forward my views fully for the first time, laying down: that the money of a State is not what is of compulsory general acceptance, but what is accepted at the public pay offices; and that the standard is not chosen for any properties of the metals, but for the deliberate purpose of influencing exchanges with the commercially important neighbouring States.

   Soon after this Georg Simmel brought out his able book on the ^Philosophy of Money^ (Leipzig, 1900). As it treats only of the sociological side of currency, I do not need to regard my work as competing with his. I feel myself nearer to Otto Heyn, whose work (1894) is entitled ^Paper Standard with a Gold Reserve for Foreign Trade^ (Paperwaehrug mit Goldreserve fuer den Auslandsverkehr). It was a book that appealed to public men and deserved more attention than it received. For myself, I came to give up any attempt to influence public men, and I give the first place to the theory or philosophy of the subject, at the risk of displeasing both schools of monometallists, not to speak of the bimetallists, who will not be any better satisfied.

   On the other hand, I hope for the approval and perhaps the help of those who take the monetary system (or, better, the whole system of payments) to be a branch of political science. I hold the attempt to deduce it without the idea of a State to be not only out of date, but even absurd, however widely these views may still obtain. To avoid polemics, I have always called this metallist view, and have opposed metallism as such without naming its supporters, and also without opposing the use of metal.

   I began to develop the State Theory of Money in September 1901, and I dare not confess how many false starts I made. A theory must be pushed to extremes or it is valueless. The practical man can, nay, must, content himself with half-truths. The theorists who stops short at half-truths is lost.

   In order to attain my end and replace the metallistic view by one founded on Political Science, I was forced to invent a terminology of my own. Even if new expressions could have been formed in German, it seemed important that in this branch of science, which has nothing national in it, terms should be found that could go easily into any language, as being erudite rather than popular.[n1] I have renounced the advantages of a pleasing style to obtain the greater advantage of scientific treatment. My aim is with clearness and certainty to reconstruct the ideas at the bottom of the prevailing rules and ordinances about money.

   I am sorry that I am not able to enter into the merits of my predecessors, Richard Hilderbrand, Ignaz Gruber, Karl Knies, Lexis and Bamberger, and many others. To write a full literature of the subject would be a special historical work in itself.

   I am making a first sketch, which others must complete.

   My heaviest debt is to G. Th. Fechner, who never wrote a line on currency, and indeed knew nothing about it. From him, for example, from his little book on the Soul. [n2], we learn how to distinguish the essential from the accidental, and, if anyone says that my own aim has been to discover the soul of money, well so be it.
[n1] They will be found to be usually Greeks, occasionally Latin, as in Chemistry and Botany (Tr.)
[n2] Ueber die Seelenfrage, Leipzig, 1861.
July 5th, 1905.


The present is an abridged version of Prof. Knapp's book. For reasons of cost the translation has been confined for the present to the theoretical part; and Prof. Knapp's illustrations have been considerably abridged, while every effort has been made to preserve his essential arguments.

   To show the scope of the whole book, translated and untranslated, we have given the "Contents" in the complete form, including Chapter IV and the Appendices, which are here omitted.

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CF. References:
  • J. Bonar, (1922) "Knapp's Theory of Money," Economic Journal, vol. 32, pp. 39–47.
  • Howard Ellis, (1934) German Monetary Theory, 1905–1933, Harvard University Press.
  • Ralph Hawtrey, (1925) Review of Knapp's The State Theory of Money, Economic Journal, vol. 35, pp. 251–55.
  • Betram Schefold, "Georg Friedrich Knapp,: in J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman (eds.) The New Palgrave, vol. 2, pp. 54–55.
  • Hans-Michael Trautwein, "G. F. Knapp: an economist with institutional complexion," in Warren Samuels, (ed.) European Economists of the Early 20th Century, volume 2, (2003) pp. 167–178.

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