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Knapp's 'The State Theory of Money' and its reception in German-speaking academic discourse

Ehnts Dirk, Europa-University of Flensburg

In 1905, Georg Friedrich Knapp published 'The State Theory of Money' in his native tongue German, claiming that money is a legal concept and not connected to metals via some intrinsic value. When, in 1924, the English translation appeared, apparently at the wishes of John Maynard Keynes, the German version had run through four editions, upon the last the translation builds. There also had been considerable debate about 'Chartalism', as the idea that money derived its acceptance by legal means, in the German-speaking academic literature. Among others, Knut Wicksell and Georg Simmel commented on it. Since so far there has not been any English-language publication on this issue, it is deemed worth wile to provide such. After presenting the main arguments that Knapp makes in his book, the academic discussions that followed are presented.

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Keywords: Chartalism, MMT, monetary theory, public finance

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