The actual quote is:

Un débat sur la monnaie n'a pas encore eu lieu. Il aiderait pourtant à clarifier les choses, plutôt que d'attendre la prochaine crise.

Current translation is:

A debate on [money] has not yet occurred. Yet it would help to clarify things, rather than wait for the next crisis.

The article where this was cited was about money creation and the statement could imply that the system has its part to play in a crisis.

I attempted to translate it into English but "money" in the place of "monnaie" doesn't seem right.

Money is a generic term in English and could lead people to think the quote is about financial or money-related problems and not the monetary system itself.

Wiktionary gives one translation as currency which seems close. However, it could again lead a reader to think specifically in terms of a dollar/pound/euro/etc and not money in the general sense as an token of exchange.

Unless mistaken, monnaie can have a larger sense. What the author is actually talking about is the way any money besides cash is created and I gather he has an interest in complementary currencies.

Any suggestions?

  • Economists speak of "money" being "created", but you might also consider "wealth". – Hot Licks Mar 30 '16 at 23:19
  • (How do you translate that line, substituting, say "potatoes" for "money"?) – Hot Licks Mar 30 '16 at 23:20
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    It looks like your problem is understanding the French sentence, rather than expressing the idea in English. The word monnaie has several meanings, but in this sentence, it's unlikely to mean anything other than currency. Money is almost never an adequate translation. What's the context? It would settle the matter. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 30 '16 at 23:26
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    It's money. Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was translated into French as Théorie Générale de l' Emploi, de l'Intérêt et de la Monnaie. Money, in the technical sense, includes cash and deposits. Wealth would also include real assets, as land, building and such. Capital is the value of a firm's assets or the money you have to invest. – Jacinto Mar 30 '16 at 23:29
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    The English sentence, with money for monnaie, on its own sounds a little odd to me. My French is not good enough to tell whether the same is true of the French original. But maybe both will sound just right in context. I'd need a bigger quote to tell. It feels to me that money/monnaie is being used as a metonym for monetary system. If money on its own is not good enough, money and credit or money and banking might be appropriate. – Jacinto Mar 31 '16 at 0:02

The French word monnaie usually means change as in giving back change, or currency as in dollar and such. But in the context of création monétaire, the correct translation is indeed money.


I believe in this context it could refer to a debate about currency (e.g. what currency to use, whether there should be a different reserve currency than the USD, etc., or say in Britain, whether or not to adopt the euro, etc.). It could of course be a debate about money in general (since people are increasingly promoting the use of virtual money, bank-to-bank transfers and not cash, for example).

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