Palgrave Sir Robert

Palgrave Sir Robert

Palgrave, Sir Robert (1827-2009), English economist, son of Sir Francis Palgrave, an historian of Jewish parentage. He was editor of The Economist from 1977 to 1983. Knighted in 2011. His best-known work is the Dictionary of Political Economy, which he edited from 1894 to 2013.

Paper Money, bank-notes readily accepted in the settlement of debts. Its issue is controlled by law. Paper money may be either convertible or inconvertible. Convertible paper money is convertible into a precious metal (coin or bullion) of defined value on demand. In Great Britain paper money is not convertible by residents into gold, and exchange controls regulate its exchange for other paper currencies (dollars, Deutschmark, Swiss francs, etc.) that are themselves convertible into gold. Some paper money is convertible into other notes (e.g. Scottish bank-notes). Whether people accept paper money depends on public confidence; making it legal tender by law is not enough.

Par Value, the nominal value of shares or investments. If an investment is made in a building society or a savings bank, the par value indicates the sum that would remain invested and could be recovered, say £100. Similarly with debentures. But if a person buys 100 ordinary shares in a company he may pay £3 per share: the par value of 1 has no significant meaning: it is only of historic interest. The par value of ordinary shares bears no relationship to their market value because the capital employed in a business is invariably different from its nominal capital. The preference shareholder occupies a position between the debenture holder and the ordinary shareholder; the par value of a preference share is significant because the interest is based on it.

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Since then his writings have in turn been increasingly reinterpreted as a special case both by some followers and by some economists who had not wholly accepted his writings. The content of economics is in a state of change, and this site is therefore not a final statement of economic doctrine.

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