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Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement$
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Alan Houston

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300124477

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300124477.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

. Commerce

. Commerce

Chapter:
(p.22) 1. Commerce
Source:
Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement
Author(s):

Alan Houston

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300124477.003.0001

This chapter describes Benjamin Franklin's thought on commerce in America. Commerce concerned the circulation of raw materials and finished goods, rough ideas, and refined sentiments, and involved much more than simply buying and selling. According to Franklin, commerce, or the exchange of one commodity or manufacture for another, is highly convenient and beneficial to mankind because it eliminates the inefficiencies and instabilities of barter exchange. Money is simply a socially agreed-upon medium of exchange and the true standard for value is provided by labor. A plentiful money supply does, however, enable efficient market institutions to develop, spurring immigration and serving as a stimulus to growth. Scarce money, by contrast, frustrates commercial exchange and encourages recourse to barter.

Keywords:   Benjamin Franklin, commerce, America, selling, barter, labor

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