Rice Vaughan

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Rice Vaughan (d. circa 1672)[1] was a seventeenth-century Anglo-Welsh lawyer and economist known for writing a seminal work on economics and currencies entitled A Discourse on Coins and Coinage.

Biography[edit]

Rice Vaughan was the "second son of Henry Vaughan of Gelli-goch, Machynlleth, and Mary, daughter of Maurice Wynn of Glyn, near Harlech."[1] He graduated from the Shrewsbury School in 1615 and later in life entered Gray's Inn for a career in the law before being admitted to the bar in 1648.[1] During the English Civil War, he sided with parliament against King Charles I. He is thought to have died before the publication of his works, the earliest in 1672.

Works[edit]

  • 1651: A Plea for the Common Laws of England (a reply to Hugh Peter's A Good Work for a Good Magistrate; Practica Walliae, or, The Proceedings in the Great Sessions of Wales (published posthumously, in 1672)
  • 1675: A Discourse of Coin and Coinage (published posthumously and edited by poet, Henry Vaughan)

A Discourse of Coin and Coinage[edit]

Vaughan wrote an early work on currency, A Discourse of Coin and Coinage[2] (1675). He argued that it was a mass voluntary consensus, the "concurrence of mankind", that gave currency its value as a medium of exchange, not the laws which enforce the usage of currency or the inherent worth of a currency's material composition (such as gold or silver).[3] This work also contained the earliest known research on price level changes and price indices. John Ramsay McCulloch included A Discourse... in his A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money[4] (1856).

Economist Murray N. Rothbard has said that Vaughan was "perhaps the best economic analyst" of his period.[5] Rothbard has praised Vaughan for recognizing that whilst the value of a good is dependent on consumer demand, a good's price results from the interaction of its subjective utility and relative scarcity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones, J. Gwynfor. "Vaughan, Rice (d. c.1672)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition: Sept 2010). Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Vaughan, A Discourse of Coin and Coinage - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money [1856]". Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  3. ^ "Quotations about Liberty and Power: 21 January, 2008". Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 2012-07-13. But you will say, that gold coins, excepting the difference of colour, and of some other properties of the metals, have as much the appearance of money as silver coins: Granted; and so have copper coins too; and so might pewter ones, &c., but this is nothing to the purpose; it is not the mint, but the laws, and the universal concurrence of mankind, that make money. 
  4. ^ "John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money [1856]". Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  5. ^ Murray N. Rothbard. "The East India Company and Its 17th-Century Defenders". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 2012-07-13. Perhaps the best economic analyst of all in this period was Rice Vaughn, whose A Discourse of Coin and Coinage, though published in 1675, was written in the mid-1620s. 

External links[edit]