In Scotland each bank is responsible for printing its own money, a major point of difference with most other countries, and one that reflects the history of banking in Scotland. The Bank of Scotland was the first bank in Europe to successfully introduce paper currency, and a Scottish economist, John Law, helped establish banknotes as formal currency in France.
Made as I was preparing to leave Scotland, the title of this work is also a play on Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, considered to be the founding text of modern capitalism and free-market economics.
This rarely seen one pound note produced by the Royal Bank of Scotland is taken out of circulation as a way of thinking about issues of value, nationhood, identity and representation. This seems particularly relevant in a period of financial instability as well as the political context of an upcoming referendum on Scottish independence.