Bimetallists may be grouped into two classes according to the degree of faith they have in the efficiency of the compensatory action of the double standard. Some believe that a single nation, like England, France, Germany, or the United States, would furnish a field large enough for its efficient operation, while others hold that the cooperative action of several nations would be necessary. International bimetallists fear that the substitution of the cheaper for the dearer metal in the currency of a single nation might proceed to the extent of completely displacing the latter without bringing the bullion and the legal ratios together, but they hope and believe that this could not happen if several nations were to cooperate in this matter. Some national bimetallists go to the extent of admitting that they prefer an alternating standard to a continuous single standard of either metal,' and do not fear the consequences of a complete disappearance of one of the metals from circulation. They do not hesitate to affirm that as between a relatively cheap and a relatively dear standard they always prefer the former. Such persons are also willing to defend the proposition that rising prices are a blessing, or at least preferable to falling prices, but they are apt to overlook the fact that, while bimetallism always establishes the cheaper standard, it frequently does so at the expense of an otherwise stable one. Mr. Barbour's hypothetical case shows that under the monometallic system prices may be quite stable in one nation, while they are experiencing a great fall or a great rise in another, and that bimetallism ties the two together in such a way as to make both subject to changes which originate in either one. It is, therefore, possible that under a bimetallic system a nation might be forced to accept a depreciating or an appreciating standard, when with monometallism it might have had a stable one.
On account of the voluminous and controversial character of the literature treating of bimetallism only a few representative books and articles will be referred to here. For a more complete bibliography the student should consult Adolph Soetbeer's Litteraturnachweis uber Geld- und Munzwesen insbesondere uber den Wahrungsstreit, 1871-1891, the bibliographical references in Schonberg's Handbuch der politischen Okonomie, ch. viii, sec. XI; Das Handworterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, articles Goldwahrung, Parallelwahrung, and Doppelwahrung; and Pal-grave's Dictionary of Political Economy, articles Money, Bimetallism, and Monometallism.
The theoretical aspects of the question are well treated from the standpoint of the bimetallist in the first five books mentioned below.
In favour of bimetallism are the following: William Leighton Jordan's The Standard of Value; Leonard Darwin's Bimetallism; D. Barbour's The Theory of Bimetallism and the Effects of the Partial Demonetization of Silver on England and India; Robert Barclay's The Silver Question and the Gold Question; J. Shield Nicholson's Money and Monetary Problems; Francis A. Walker's Money and Bimetallism; S. Dana Horton's Silver and Gold, and The Silver Pound; Ernest Seyd's Die Munz-, Wahrungs- und Bankfragen in Deutschland, and Der Hauptirrthum in der Gold-wdhrung; Arendt's Die vertragsmassige Doppelwahrung and Der Wahrungsstreit in Deutschland; Albert Schafne's Fur inter-nationale Doppelwahrung; Adolph Wagner's Fur bimetallistische Munzpolitik Deutschland; M. Wolowski's L'Or et L'Argent; Henry Cernuschi's La Monnaie Bimetallique; and Emile de Laveleye's La Monnaie, Da Question Monetaire en 1881, and International Bimetallism and the Battle of the Standards.
Against bimetallism are the following: Robert Giffin's The Case against Bimetallism; Lord Farrer's Studies in Currency; W. A. Shaw's The History of Currency, I 1252 to 1804 J. Laurence Laughlin's History of Bimetallism in the United States; J. Howard Cowperthwait's Money, Silver, and Finance; Henry Dunning Macleod's Bimetallism; Karl Knies's Geld und Kredit, v. I, p. 230; E. Nasse's Die Demonetisation des Silbers and Die Wahrungs-frage in Deutschland; Bueck's Beitrdge zur Wahrungsfrage; Hans Kleser's Die deutsche Wahrungsreform und ihre Gegner, and Wahrungs- und Wirtschaftspolitik; Moritz Meyer's Gold- oder Doppelwahrung; and Frere-Orban's La Question Monetaire.
A very complete account of the arguments for and against bimetallism, together with an excellent collection of materials for the study of the subject, is contained in the Reports of the Royal Commission of England appointed to inquire into the recent changes in the relative values of the precious metals. The first report was made in 1887 and the second and final report in 1888. M. Frere-Orban and Emile de Laveleye's La Question Montiaire en Belgique en 1889 also presents both sides of the question, M. Frere-Orban being a monometallist and M. Laveleye a bimetallism See also Nasse's and Arendt's pamphlets entitled Der Wahrungsstreit in Deutschland.