A History of Money: From Ancient Times to Present Day by Glyn Davies

By Glyn Davies

This can be a straight-forward, readable account, written with the minimal of jargon, of the crucial value of cash within the traditional company of the lifetime of varied peoples during the a long time from precedent days to the current day. The revised and up-to-date paperback version released in 1997 incorporated the Barings main issue and the file via the financial institution of britain on Barings financial institution; updated details at the nation of eastern banking and the adjustments within the monetary scene within the US. It additionally touches at the US housing marketplace and the matter of adverse fairness. the anomaly of why extra cash than ever sooner than are required in an more and more cashless society is obviously defined, as is the function of the hot 'Euro' coin because the lowest universal denominator in Europe's arguable unmarried forex process. the ultimate part presents proof to indicate that for many of the world's richer international locations the period of chronic inflation might be at an finish. This new version is up to date and takes account of significant contemporary advancements comparable to the independence of the financial institution of britain, the advent of Euro notes and cash from 1st of January 2002 and advancements in digital funds.

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This was far more than merely commercial exchange but was a complex mixture of a wide range of both public and private gatherings, the latter involving initiation into tribal secret societies and the former partaking of a number of cultural activities in which public speaking, drama and elaborate dances were essential features. The potlatch was a sort of masonic rite, eisteddfod, Highland games, religious gathering, dance festival and market fair all rolled into one. The cultural and the commercial interchanges were part of an integrated whole.

Such inflationary conditions were widespread from western Europe through China to Japan at this time, but the world record for an inflationary currency belongs to Hungary. Its note circulation grew from 12,000 million pengö in 1944 to 36 million million in 1945. In 1946 it reached 1,000 million times the 1945 total until at its maximum it came to a figure containing twenty-seven digits. 100,000,000,000,000,000,000. This astronomical sum was in fact worth at most only about £1 sterling. Little wonder that in such circumstances the monetary system temporarily destroyed itself and people were forced to revert to barter, at least for use as a medium of exchange even if they continued to use their currency as a unit of account, though even here for the shortest possible space of time, until confidence in the new unit of currency, the forint, had been established.

Typical of the latter approach is that of Geoffrey Crowther, formerly editor of The Economist, who, in his Outline of Money, begins with a chapter entitled the ‘Invention of money’ and insists that money ‘undoubtedly was an invention; it needed the conscious reasoning power of Man to make the step from simple barter to money-accounting’ (Crowther 1940, 15). It was 24 THE NATURE AND ORIGINS OF MONEY AND BARTER possibly such gross oversimplifications that caused Paul Samuelson, in an article on ‘Classical and neo-classical monetary theory’ to contrast ‘Harriet Martineau.

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