|| The History of Money
Reviews and Commentary for History of Money : From Sandstone
Traces the historical evolution of humankind's relationship with money,
from ancient times to the present-day revolutionary transformation in
the meaning and use of money as represented by the all-purpose
electronic cash card, and discusses the implications of such changes.
From Kirkus Reviews, 11/15/96:
An engagingly digressive audit of the mediums of exchange humankind
has used and abused down through the years, from anthropologist
Weatherford (Savages and Civilization, 1994, etc.).
Drawing on a
wealth of sources, the author divides the history of money into three
distinct stages. The first dates back nearly three millennia to the creation
of coins in ancient Lydia (modern Turkey), whose best-known ruler,
Croesus, has become a byword for affluence.
The monetary market
system spawned by the invention of coins, which eliminated the need to
weigh gold for every transaction, eventually spread around the world, in
the process destroying great empires and fostering development of a
democratic and prosperous ancient Greek civilization.
proved another turning point, bringing with it banks, paper money, and
allied innovations that put paid to feudalism, opened the way for
industrial capitalism, and financed the art and scholarship of the era. On
the eve of the 21st century, according to Weatherford, the Global
Village is about to enter an era of electronic money, which promises to
produce socioeconomic, political, and cultural changes every bit as
convulsive as those that racked earlier epochs. Which is not to say that
the author deals in either doom or gloom. He simply offers a guided tour
of the past and provides plausible scenarios for the future. Weatherford
also studs his accessible text with scholarly delights that afford
welcome respites from straightforward accounts of ATMs, currency
speculation, the gold standard, hyperinflation, near money (food
stamps, for example), and rates of exchange.
Cases in point range from
an appreciation of Edward Bellamy's prediction of credit cards in his
utopian novel Looking Backward (1888) through a discussion of the
ways in which L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
made an allegorical case for bimetallism. An entertaining, on-the-money
introduction to precisely what makes the world go 'round.
Review By Amazon.com
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