Page:Cournot Theory of Wealth (1838).djvu/43

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29
OF THE THEORY OF WEALTH

CHAPTER III


OF THE EXCHANGES


13. The time will doubtless come when all civilized peoples will appreciate the benefit of uniformity of measures. One of the titles of the French Revolution to the gratitude of future generations, is that it initiated this great social improvement; and, in spite of national and political prejudices, this example has not lacked imitators.

The uniformity and stability of measures acquire a still greater importance when we have to do with the monetary system, so often turned upside down by the selfishness and bad faith of governments. Moreover, the state of society in the different countries of Europe makes impossible the return to the disorder in which so simple a thing in itself as the monetary system remained for so long a time and among almost all peoples. It would be superfluous to repeat observations on this subject, which have become perfectly familiar.

Let us suppose then that all commercial peoples have adopted the same monetary unit, for instance, one gram of fine silver, or, what amounts to the same thing, that the ratio of each monetary unit to a gram of fine silver be permanently estabUshed. Knowledge of these ratios forms a large part of what is known among those engaged in the