Selective adoption of mining and minting technological innovations in Habsburg colonial Mexico: Centralist policy or exchange rate management strategy?

Jefferies, C. (2015). Selective adoption of mining and minting technological innovations in Habsburg colonial Mexico: Centralist policy or exchange rate management strategy? In: G. Depeyrot (Ed.), Documents and studies on 19th c. monetary history: Mints, Technology and Coin Production. (pp. 149-160). Belgium: Moneta. ISBN 978-94-91384-59-2

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Abstract

Significant technological innovations in minting and mining emerged between the 16th and 17th centuries: improved technologies set new standards, which enhanced efficiency in both sectors. The reception of such innovations in Habsburg colonial Mexico was selective, however. Whilst most innovations in the mining sector were adopted and even further developed, minting activities remained centralised in the capital, Mexico City, and in accordance with medieval procedures. Although the first coin mill was adopted in Spain and installed in Segovia as early as 1583, it was only in 1732 that such device arrived in the Mexican capital, as part of the economic and political reforms carried out by Phillip V of Bourbon. Minting in Habsburg colonial Mexico, as far as technology is concerned, remained medieval throughout.

An analysis of the underlying reasons for this disparity in the embracement of technological change in the two industries will be carried out. Special focus will be placed on the characteristics of money and silver demand in different mining areas as well as on the geographical, political, social and economic factors which may have contributed towards the non- adoption of technological change. Policy changes in respect to money supply carried out by the authorities and their effects will be analysed to reveal a possible rationale behind the exchange rate system between minted coins and bullion.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Economics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12328

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