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Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin
bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, David Graeber, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invention of writing, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, mobile money, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, private military company, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart transportation, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail
Ours will be a mission to recover and analyse not bullion, coins, or the charred remains of tally sticks—or indeed any thing at all—but ideas, practices, and institutions; and, above all, the idea of abstract economic value, the practice of accounting, and the institution of decentralised transferability. As with any excavation, the first question is where to dig. We have seen that if money is indeed the operating system on which we run our societies and economies, the challenge of getting an objective view is an imposing one. Locating a case in which the official monetary system took a holiday, as it did during the Irish bank strike, might have been easy enough; and through it we learned something about the extent to which money really depends upon the state. If we wish to delve more deeply, however, we need to achieve an altogether more radical triangulation: we need to explore a time and a place where money never existed. That may sound like a tall order—but as it happens, we are in luck. Not only do we possess a vivid and detailed description of the age immediately before the invention of money, but that description happens to be contained in two of the greatest poems ever composed.