The History of Money by Jack Weatherford

By Jack Weatherford

In his most generally attractive booklet but, one in all brand new major authors of renowned anthropology appears on the fascinating heritage and weird nature of cash, tracing our dating with it from the time whilst primitive males exchanged cowrie shells to the approaching arrival of the all-purpose digital money card. 320 pp. writer travel. nationwide radio exposure. 25,000 print.From the Hardcover variation.

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Croesus used his vast wealth to conquer almost all of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, including the grand Ephesus, which he then rebuilt in even grander style. Even though he was a Lydian, not a Greek, Croesus developed a great fondness for the culture of Greece, including its language and religion. Because he was something of a Hellenophile, he ruled the Greek cities with a light hand. In a famous episode in Greek history, Croesus consulted the Greek oracle of Apollo to ask what chance he might have in war against Persia.

The difference is more quantitative than qualitative because the Dogon have also headed down the same path as the monetary cultures of the world. The Dogon are walking a little slower than the rest of us, but our economic way of life may be about to disappear just as quickly as it came into being. The young man working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange will soon seem as quaint and old-fashioned as the woman carrying milk and eggs on her head. They both work in market systems that are rapidly becoming obsolete as money mutates into a new form that demands new kinds of markets, new ways of making financial transactions, and new kinds of businesses.

Guatemalans used corn; the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians used barley. Natives of the Nicobar Islands used coconuts, and the Mongolians prized bricks of tea. For the people of the Philippines, Japan, Burma, and other parts of Southeast Asia, standardized measures of rice traditionally served as commodity money. Norwegians used butter as money, and in the medieval era, they used dried cod that could be easily converted into other goods or into coins by trading with the Hanseatic merchants living in Bergen.

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