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THE PROBLEM OF THE RUPEE : ITS ORIGIN AND ITS SOLUTION
(History of Indian Currency & Banking)
In the following pages I have attempted an exposition of the events leading to the establishment of the exchange standard and an examination of its theoretical basis.In endeavouring to treat the historical side of the matter, I have carefully avoided repeating what has already been said by others. For instance, in treating of the actual working of the exchange standard, I have contented myself with a general treatment just sufficiently detailed to enable the reader to follow the criticism I have offered. If more details are desired they are given in all their amplitude in other treatises. To have reproduced them would have been a work of supererogation; besides it would have only obscured the general trend of my argument. But in other respects, I have been obliged to take a wider historical sweep than has been done by other writers. The existing treatises on Indian currency do not give any idea, at least an adequate idea, of the circumstances which led to the reforms of 1893. I think that a treatment of the early history is quite essential to furnish the reader with a perspective in order to enable him to judge for himself the issues involved in the currency crisis and also of the solutions offered. In view of this, I have gone into that most neglected period of Indian currency extending from 1800 to 1893. Not only have other writers begun abruptly the story of the exchange standard, but they have popularised the notion that the exchange standard is the standard originally contemplated by the Government of India. I find that this is a gross error. Indeed, the most interesting point about Indian currency is the way in which the gold standard came to be transformed into a gold exchange standard. Some old, but by now forgotten, facts had therefore, to be recounted to expose this error.On the theoretical side, there is no book but that of Professor Keynes which makes any attempt to examine its scientific basis.But the conclusions he has arrived at are in sharp conflict with those of mine. Our differences extended to almost every proposition he has advanced in favour of the exchange standard. This difference proceeds from the fundamental fact, which seems to be quite overlooked by Professor Keynes, that nothing will stabilise the rupee unless we stabilise its general purchasing power. That the exchange standard does not do. That standard concerns itself only with symptoms and does not go to the disease : indeed, on my showing, if anything, it aggravates the disease.