The History of Money

From Sandstone to Cyberspace

Jack Weatherford

Publisher: Three Rivers, 1997, 288 pages

ISBN: 0-609-80172-4

Keywords: Finance, History

Last modified: July 29, 2021, 4:17 p.m.

In his most widely appealing book yet, cultural anthropologist Jack Weatherford traces our relationship with money. From primitive man's cowrie shells to the electronic cash card, from the markets of Timbuktu to the New York Stock Exchange. The History of Money explores how money and the myriad forms of exchange have affected humanity, and how they will continue to shape all aspects of our lives — economic, political, and personal.

  • Foreword: Reinventing money
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The World Market
    • The Money net
    • Cash Configuration
    • A Language All Nations Understand
  1. Classic Cash
    1. Cannibals, Chocolate, and Cash
      • Chocolate Cash
      • Commodity Money
      • Modern Commodities
      • The Love of Gold
      • Protomoney
    2. The Fifth Element
      • As Rich as Croesus
      • The Market Revolutions
      • The Greek Genius
      • The First Economists
    3. The Premature Death of Money
      • An Empire Financed by Conquest
      • The Government Glut
      • The First Welfare State
      • Profits from Persecution
      • The Road to Feudalism
    4. Knights of Commerce
      • The Virgin Bankers
      • The Dangers of Success
      • The Rise of Italian Banking Families
      • The Magic of Bank Money
    5. The Renaissance: New Money for Old Art
      • Too much History for One City
      • First among Equals
      • The Monetary Mystery of Numbers
      • Banking on the Renaissance
    6. The Golden Curse
      • Treasures of the Americas
      • The Bridge of Silver
      • The Price Revolution: From Riches to Rags
      • Baroque Gold
      • The Money Culture
  2. Paper Money
    1. The Birth of the Dollar
      • The Speed of the Dollar
      • The Pacific Dollar
      • The Last Silver Dollar
    2. The Devil's Mint
      • Mulberry Money
      • The Duke of Arkansas
      • The Father of Paper Money
      • A Continental Experiment
      • The Mint of Mammon
    3. Metric Money
      • America Goes Decimal
      • The Metric Fetish
      • The Scientific Revolution
    4. The Gold Bug
      • The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street
      • A Tale of Two Cities
      • Gold Discipline
      • The Queen's Portrait
    5. The Yellow Brick Road
      • From Wildcats to Greenbacks
      • The Cross of Gold and the Wizard of Oz
    6. The Golden Playpen of Politics
      • The Nationalization of Gold
      • Nixon's Folly
  3. Electronic Money
    1. Wild Money and the Stealth Tax
      • Cocaine Cash
      • 4.2 Trillion Marks to the Dollar
      • New Hyperinflation
      • The Hidden Tax
    2. The Cash Ghetto
      • A Culture of Poverty
      • The Informal Economy
      • Cash Value
    3. Interlude in Plastic
      • Democratic Debt and Socialist Risk
      • The Magic Card
      • Platinum Prestige
      • Middle-Class Perks
    4. The Erotic Life of Electronic Money
      • Invisible Money
      • the Vending Machine Holdup
      • Electronic Cash Wars
      • Back to Primitive Money
    5. The Art of Currency Terror
      • Computer Kids
      • Bellum Omnium in Omnes
      • "The AIDS of Our Economies"
    6. The Age of Money


The History of Money

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:18 a.m.

Explains money in a good way.


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