I am going to have to read this book. Fortunately, it is modestly priced. You can "Look inside" at Amazon.
In the aftermath of recent financial crises, it's easy to see finance as a wrecking ball: something that destroys fortunes and jobs, and undermines governments and banks. In Money Changes Everything, leading financial historian William Goetzmann argues the exact opposite--that the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible. Goetzmann explains that finance is a time machine, a technology that allows us to move value forward and backward through time; and that this innovation has changed the very way we think about and plan for the future. He shows how finance was present at key moments in history: driving the invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia, spurring the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome to become great empires, determining the rise and fall of dynasties in imperial China, and underwriting the trade expeditions that led Europeans to the New World. He also demonstrates how the apparatus we associate with a modern economy--stock markets, lines of credit, complex financial products, and international trade--were repeatedly developed, forgotten, and reinvented over the course of human history.
Exploring the critical role of finance over the millennia, and around the world, Goetzmann details how wondrous financial technologies and institutions--money, bonds, banks, corporations, and more--have helped urban centers to expand and cultures to flourish. And it's not done reshaping our lives, as Goetzmann considers the challenges we face in the future, such as how to use the power of finance to care for an aging and expanding population.
Money Changes Everything presents a fascinating look into the way that finance has steered the course of history.Finance and economics are two side of the same coin, one coin among the many, albeit a very important coin, that figured in the development of civilization and life as we know it today. But even today, finance and economics remain separate disciplines, and very few understand their intimate connection through price ("money") as the basis of markets, and accounting as the common language of finance, business and economics.
The Enlightened Economist
Diane Coyle | freelance economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and is acting Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation