By Wadan Narsey
Wadan Narsey explores how nice Britain sustained monetary supremacy within the foreign economic climate within the latter a part of the 19th century, whereas additionally preserving its dedication to holding the pound sterling absolutely convertible to a set volume of gold.
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Additional resources for British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency Systems
Generalized Misconception 17. The discretionary powers over the issue of currency could not be left safely in the hands of colonial governments; while there was no need to create colonial central banks which could foster monetary development, the British authorities did not discourage such institutions. There was no evidence that colonial governments, totally under the control of the Secretary of State for Colonies, were ever irresponsible. Yet all the evidence indicates vehement opposition to colonial central banks, even in large developed economies and the monetary markets such as in India.
Reserves were invested in securities in London, in order to maximize the income from, and most rapidly accumulate the colonial currency reserves, with complete safety. The evidence is that, even when the system was being created there was no expectation of significant income. During long periods of time, especially after the 1930s, income was minimized in order to ease Britain’s balance of payments. There was also no great safety in investing in London, especially when the securities depreciated heavily, when City holders discarded them for safer alternatives.
This rule was, however, abandoned somewhere between 1840 and 1843, with the Bank finding even this mild reserve requirement too costly (Horsefield 1953:52). Horsefield (1953:119) thought that Palmer’s rule was modified to refer to only notes, because of Ricardo’s view that bank deposits should be disregarded. However, most British banks of the time kept reserves which were only 50% of their notes – usually less than 10% of notes and deposits combined. 29 The Bank found Palmer’s Rule quite difficult, if not impossible, to implement.