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Subtitle: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing, Hachette Books, NY., 2020, 257 pgs., index, notes


Reviewer comment:
The author comes closer than any other I have read in explaining the real nature of money. His historical examples skip many centuries between ancient and 17th century eras. He sometimes mixes currency and credit. But he does claim that money is an idea, a 'made-up thing". He is a skilled writer an creates an enjoyable read. Actually 'money' is neither currency nor credit. It is the metric by which the 'value' of a quantity of either is measured. And that 'value' is not fixed, it is relative, in time and place, depending on the desireability of the thing (material or imaginary) is compared with all other things. Currency and credit are tokens by which a measure of 'value' may be transmitted during an exchange of goods or services or may be held in expectation of their use in a future exchange. They represent the 'debt' that exists during the period in which the exchange has not been completed.


I - Inventing Money


Chapter 1 - The Origin of Money


Chapter 2 - When We Invented Paper Money, Had an Economic Revolution,Then tried to Forget the whole Thing Ever happened


II - The Murderer, the Boy King, and the Invention of Capitalism


Chapter 3 - How Goldsmiths Accidentally re-Invented Banks (and Brought Panic To Britain)


Chapter 4 - How to Get Rich with Probability


Chapter 5 - Finance as Time Travel: Inventing the Stock Market


Chapter 6 John Law Gets to Print Money


Chapter 7 The Invention of Millionaires


III - More Money


Chapter 8 - Everybody Can Have More Money


Chapter 9 - But Really Can Everybody have More Money?


IV - Modern Money


Chapter 10 - The Gold Standard: A Love Story


Chapter 11 - Just Don't Call it Central Bank


Chapter 12 - Money Is Dead, Long Live Money


V -Twenth-First-Century Money


Chapter 13 - How two Guys in a Room Invented a New Kind of Money


Chapter 14 - A Brief History of the Euro (and Why the Dollar Works Beter)


Chapter 15 - The Radical Dream of Digital Cash


Conclusion - The Future of Money


Return to Xenophon.