DAMIN presentation

Tuesday 21 February 2012

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Everything you always wanted to know

The axis of the work is the study of the depreciation of silver in the second half of the XIXth century and its consequences in developed countries. We will study more specifically the differences between countries.

The brutal increase of silver production and the development of the gold standard in the 1870s originated a definitive decrease of the value of silver. The ratio gold/silver that was established at more or less 1/15 or 1/15.5 shifted to 1/16, 1/18 up to 1/32 at the end of the century. This decline of the silver increased the real cost of the sums estimated in gold. This evolution was a handicap for imports of silver-using countries, but an advantage for their exports. However, taxes to be paid to gold-using countries or refunds of loans to London were more and more heavy (it was the case of India – silver-using – and Great Britain – gold-using –, or loans of Japan in example). Several solutions were considered, including the creation of a large silver-using zone (India, Asia).

Little by little the main countries shifted from silver-using or bimetallism to gold standard (de facto or de jure) that was already adopted in United Kingdom (1816), Australia and Canada (1852-53), Portugal (1854): Germany (1871), Denmark (1872), United States of America, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland (1873), Norway and Netherlands (1875), Spain (1876), Serbia (1878), Austria (1879), Russia and India (1893) Japan (1897), etc.
All these transformations were at the origin of crises and financial speculations: the ratio gold/silver was not the same at the same moment in USA, Europe, India, China, etc.

The DAMIN program wants to analyze this important phenomenon that was, in fact, the first financial globalization, and to understand the reality of the gold and silver production, its consequences, the importance of each economic zone.
As trade and finance were globalized, the DAMIN program will include all countries concerned by the silver question: USA, Latin America, Europe, India, China, Japan and all the connected questions (prices, transportation, import/export, etc.).

The web site will contain all the details concerning the activities of the DAMIN program. It includes the books published in the framework of the program, pdf and working papers, and informations concerning the other publications, of the participants.

The DAMIN program includes regular video-recorded Round Tables :

The DAMIN program is also supported by the LabEx TransferS.


Georges Depeyrot - Program coordinator
Directeur de recherche CNRS


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