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Tabular Standard of Value

money, prices, commodities and average

TABULAR STANDARD OF VALUE, a project for giving fixity to the value of money by varying from time to time the amounts of gold to be paid according to the changes in its purchasing power. The practical object which those who advocate the adoption of this stand ard of value proposed is the attainment of a per fectly stable currency for the paymeut of rents or other deferred contracts. A tabular stand ard, therefore, if adopted would be simply an official index number. (See INDEX Numapt). According to Jevons it is proposed that a con siderable number of commodities, say 100, should be chosen with special regard to the independence of their fluctuations one from another, and then the geometrical average of the ratios in which their gold prices have changed would be calculated logarithmically. The system involves the proposition that these average prices should constitute the legal standard for settling contracts expressed in moneyŚ thus, if a note was signed in 1915 pledging the payment of $1,000 ingold in 1920, and It appeared that in 1920 that $1,000 would then buy'upon the average of all commodities one-fourth less than it would have bought in 1915, the debtor should be compelled to pay $1,333 to the creditor in 1920 in full satisfaction of the debt; since in 1920 the sum of $1,333 will purchase only what $1,000 would purchase in 1915. It is claimed by its advocates that

such a standard would add a wholly new de gree of stability to social relations, securing the fixed incomes of individuals and public institu tions from the depreciation which they have often suffered. Speculation, too, based upon the frequent oscillations of prices, which take place in the present state of commerce, would to a large extent he discouraged. The great obstacle to its adoption is the difficulty of getting economists to agree upon the precise manner of fixing the standard and calculating the averages of the several commodities, and even agreeing upon the inclusion of the latter. The idea of a tabular standard appears to be due to Sir George Evelyn who advocated "a standard of Weights and Measures') before the Royal So ciety in 1798. Joseph Lowe further elaborated the idea in 1823 in his 'Present State of Eng land.' Scrope followed Lowe and nearly all economists of the 19th century were interested in the tabular standard. W. S. Jevons brought the matter into prominence in 1865, and further elaborated it in his later works. Consult Palgrave, 'Dictionary of Political Economy' ; Anderson, B. M., 'The Value of Money' (New York 1917) ; Price, 'Money and its Relation to Prices' (London 1896) ; Walker, (New York 1878).