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Gerard Malynes

(fl. c. 1575—1651) merchant and writer on economics


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Malynes was probably born in Antwerp, but of English parents; his father may have been a merchant and English government official. He died in London in 1641. He first appears in records in 1586 as a commissioner of English trade in the Low Countries; in the following year he was in London, where he seems to have lived permanently thereafter. Malynes was a merchant who was also involved in a number of different public projects. He became an assay master of the mint, and took part in William Cockayne's unsuccessful project in 1612 to issue small copper coins, farthings, to help to amend the deficiency of currency in England. He also took part in projects to develop the natural resources of the country, including the working of lead mines in Yorkshire in 1606. Monetary issues were his speciality, however, and in this role he was often consulted by the privy council during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. In 1600 he was appointed one of the commissioners for establishing the true par of exchange. In 1609 he was a commissioner on mint affairs. After spending some time in Fleet prison for bankruptcy – no doubt as a consequence of the failed Cockayne project – in 1619 he once again served on the standing commission on trade, and wrote an influential report on the cause of the ongoing trade crisis, which he blamed mainly on monetary problems.

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From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Economics.


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