This book provides a comprehensive survey of the major developments in monetary theory and policy from David Hume and Adam Smith to Walter Bagehot and Knut Wicksell. In particular, it seeks to explain why it took so long for a theory of central banking to penetrate mainstream thought. The book investigates how major monetary theorists understood the roles of the invisible and visible hands in money, credit and banking; what they thought about rules and discretion and the role played by commodity-money in their conceptualizations; whether or not they distinguished between the two different roles carried out via the financial system - making payments efficiently within the exchange process and facilitating intermediation in the capital market; how they perceived the influence of the monetary system on macroeconomic aggregates such as the price level, output and accumulation of wealth; and finally, what they thought about monetary policy.
Arie Arnon is Associate Professor of Economics at Ben-Gurion University and Head of the Economics and Society Program at Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Israel. Professor Arnon's areas of research include the history of economic thought, macroeconomics and monetary theory. His books include Thomas Tooke: A Pioneer of Monetary Theory (1991), The Palestinian Economy: Between Imposed Integration and Voluntary Separation (1997, coauthored with I. Luski, A. Spivak and J. Weinblatt) and The Open Economy Macromodel: Past, Present, and Future (2002, coedited with W. Young). Professor Arnon has published articles in History of Political Economy, the Oxford Economic Papers, the Economic Journal and the Middle East Journal. He has served on the editorial boards of the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Economic Quarterly and Social Security: Journal of Welfare and Social Security Studies. He has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, The New School and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has also served as a Senior Economist in the Research Department of the Bank of Israel and as a consultant to the World Bank. Since 2002 Professor Arnon has been the coordinator of the Israeli team in the Aix Group, where experts from the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and the international community discuss various economic aspects of the conflict and develop scenarios and policy alternatives for a permanent peace settlement. A recent publication of the group is entitled Economic Dimensions of a Two State Agreement Between Israel and Palestine (2007).