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By Ross M. Starr

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Extra resources for General Equilibrium Models of Monetary Economies. Studies in the Static Foundations of Monetary Theory

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By W. Stanley Jevons Jevons presents the original formal statement of the problem of double coincidence of wants. "The earliest form of exchange must have consisted in giving what was not wanted directly for that which was wanted. This simple traffic we call barter . . and distinguish it from sale and purchase in which one of the articles exchanged is intended to be held only for a short time, until it is parted with in a second act of exchange. The object which thus temporarily intervenes in sale and purchase is money.

By means of those operations the princes and sovereign states which performed them were enabled, in appearance, to pay their debts and to fulfil their engagements with a smaller quantity of silver than would otherwise have been requisite. It was indeed in appearance only; for their creditors were really defrauded of a part of what was due to them. All other debtors in the state were allowed the same privilege, and might pay with the same nominal sum of the new and debased coin whatever they had borrowed in the old.

In achieving an equilibrium allocation it is not possible in general to fulfill both quid pro quo and monotonicity; either can be fulfilled at the expense of the other. In order to fulfill both and achieve the equilibrium st allocation, money is introduced as an Ν + 1 good, for which the monotonicity requirement is waived; money can be accepted though undesired, delivered though not in excess supply. Ostroy (selection 10) and Ostroy and Starr (selection 12) develop the concept and implications of decentralization of the bilateral trading process.

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