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Diego Riccioly
Diego Riccioly

How Money Became a Fiction: Download Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing PDF


Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing - A Book Review




Introduction




Money is one of the most important inventions in human history. It enables us to exchange goods and services, store wealth, measure value, and coordinate economic activity. But what is money, exactly? Where did it come from, and how did it become what it is today?




money the true story of a made-up thing pdf download


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In his book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing, Jacob Goldstein provides a well-researched, entertaining, and somewhat irreverent look at the history and meaning of money. He argues that money is a useful fiction that has evolved over time to suit humanity's changing needs. He shows how money is a social construct that has shaped societies for thousands of years, from the rise of coins in ancient Greece to the first stock market in Amsterdam to the emergence of shadow banking in the 21st century.


Goldstein is a co-host of NPR's popular podcast Planet Money, where he covers topics related to economics, finance, business, and culture. He has a knack for making complex concepts accessible and engaging for a wide audience. He draws on his journalistic skills and his personal curiosity to tell stories that illuminate the role of money in our lives.


The Origins and Evolution of Money




One of the main themes of the book is how money has evolved over time to meet different needs and demands. Goldstein traces the origins of money back to the ancient practice of bartering, where people exchanged goods and services directly with each other. He explains how this system was inefficient and limited by the problem of "double coincidence of wants" - finding someone who had what you wanted and wanted what you had.


To overcome this problem, people started using commodity currencies - items that had intrinsic value or usefulness, such as salt, shells, cattle, or gold. These items served as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value. However, they also had drawbacks, such as being bulky, perishable, or difficult to divide.


The breakthrough came when paper money was invented in China around the 10th century AD. Paper money was backed by nothing but the authority of the government or the central bank, and could be issued in large quantities. Paper money was convenient, portable, and divisible, but it also required trust and confidence in the issuer. Paper money spread to the West through trade and exploration, and eventually became the dominant form of money in the world.


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However, paper money was not without its challenges. Goldstein describes how paper money was often subject to inflation, counterfeiting, or manipulation by governments or banks. He also explains how paper money became more abstract and digital in the modern era, with the advent of credit cards, electronic transfers, and online payments. He shows how money today is mostly a series of numbers in computers, representing promises and obligations between people and institutions.


The Fringe Thinkers and World Leaders Who Reimagined Money




Another theme of the book is how money has been reimagined by various thinkers and leaders throughout history. Goldstein introduces us to some of the most influential and eccentric characters who have changed the nature and role of money, such as:



  • Kublai Khan, the Mongol emperor who issued paper money backed by nothing but his word.



  • John Law, the Scottish adventurer who created a paper money scheme in France that led to a spectacular boom and bust.



  • The cypherpunks, the group of computer programmers who invented cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.



Goldstein explains how these innovators had different visions and motivations for creating new forms of money. He also examines how their ideas had positive and negative consequences for society, such as enabling trade, growth, innovation, or democracy, but also causing inflation, instability, fraud, or inequality. He also analyzes how their innovations shaped the current monetary system, which is based on a mix of fiat money, central banking, and market forces.


The Social and Psychological Aspects of Money




A third theme of the book is how money is a social and psychological phenomenon that affects our behavior, emotions, and values. Goldstein argues that money is a shared fiction that depends on trust and belief. He illustrates this point with examples such as:



  • The Yap islanders, who used giant stone disks as money without moving them.



  • The Zimbabweans, who experienced hyperinflation that rendered their currency worthless.



  • The Venmo users, who use a social media app to send and receive money among friends.



Goldstein also explores how money influences our decisions, actions, and feelings. He discusses topics such as:



  • How money can make us happy or unhappy, depending on how we earn it, spend it, or share it.



  • How money can affect our moral judgments, altruism, cooperation, or cheating.



  • How money can create opportunities and challenges for individuals and communities.



The Future of Money




The final theme of the book is how money is constantly evolving to meet new needs and demands. Goldstein looks at some of the latest trends and developments that are transforming money in the 21st century, such as:



  • New technologies like cryptocurrencies and digital wallets that offer faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions.



  • New experiments like universal basic income and negative interest rates that aim to address social and economic problems.



  • New challenges like cyberattacks, climate change, and pandemics that pose risks to the stability and sustainability of the monetary system.



Goldstein concludes that money will continue to influence the world in profound ways. He suggests that we should be aware of the history and meaning of money, and be open to new possibilities and perspectives. He also encourages us to think critically about the role of money in our lives, and how we can use it for good.


Conclusion




Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing is a captivating and enlightening book that tells the story of one of humanity's greatest inventions. It covers a wide range of topics related to the history and meaning of money, from the origins and evolution of money to the fringe thinkers and world leaders who reimagined money to the social and psychological aspects of money to the future of money. It is written in a conversational style that engages the reader and makes complex concepts easy to understand. It is also full of anecdotes, examples, and insights that make the book enjoyable and informative. It is a book that will make you think differently about money and its role in our lives.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and the topic of money:



  • Where can I download the PDF version of the book?



You can download the PDF version of the book from this link: [Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing PDF Download]. You will need a PDF reader to open the file.


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