The sil­ver taken from the mines of America, ship­ped to Europe, and from there sent to the Orient, favo­red European navi­ga­tion ; that is one more pro­duct which Europe recei­ves in exchange from America, and sends to exchange in the Indies. A grea­ter quan­tity of gold and sil­ver is the­re­fore favo­ra­ble when we consi­der these metals as mer­chan­dise ; but not when we consi­der them as sign, because their abun­dance belies their sign qua­lity, which is lar­gely based on their scar­city.

Before the first Punic War, cop­per was to sil­ver as 960 is to 11 ; today it is about as 73 and a half is to 1.2 Were the pro­por­tion what it once was, sil­ver would ful­fill its sign func­tion only bet­ter.

See below, ch. xii.

Assuming silver at 49 pounds per mark, and copper at 20 sous per pound.