Alfred Mitchell-Innes

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Alfred Mitchell-Innes (30 June 1864 – 13 February 1950) was a British diplomat, economist and author. He had the Grand Cross of the Order of Medjidieh conferred upon him by Abbas II, Khedive of Egypt.

The youngest child of Alexander Mitchell-Innes (1811–1886) of Ayton, and Whitehall (near Chirnside), Berwickshire, by his second spouse Fanny Augusta (1821–1902), daughter of James Vine, in Puckaster, Isle of Wight, Alfred was born at 2 Forres Street, Edinburgh. He married (her second marriage) in 1919, Eveline (d. 28 December 1946), daughter of Sir William Miller, 1st Baronet of Manderston, Berwickshire.

Educated privately, he entered the British Diplomatic Service in 1890 and was appointed to Cairo the next year. In 1896 he became financial advisor to Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V), King of Siam. In 1899 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Finance in Egypt, and was Counselor at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 1908 to 1913. He was Minister to Uruguay from 1913 to 1919, after which he retired.

While in Washington, he wrote two articles on money and credit for The Banking Law Journal. The first, 'What is Money?', received an approving review from John Maynard Keynes, [1] which led to the publication of the second, 'Credit theory of money'. [2] Long forgotten and rediscovered decades later, the articles have been praised as "the best pair of articles on the nature of money written in the twentieth century". [3]

In retirement he joined Bedford Town Council, serving twice: from 1921 to 1931 and from 1934 to 1947.


  1. Keynes, John Maynard, 'What is money?', Economic Journal, 24:95 (September 1914), pp.419-21 ^
  2. David Graeber: Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Publisher: Melville House; Reprint edition (November 27, 2012, ISBN 1612191290 ^
  3. L. Randall Wray, Credit and state theories of money: the contributions of A. Mitchell Innes, p.223 ^