How Ideas about Money Shaped the Modern World: The Power of Money

posted by Robert Pringle on December 17, 2019 - 12:00am

Sorry to have been absent for so long. Actually I haven’t been bone idle. At least, not all the time, though I did manage to stow away on a couple of long cruises.  But even then, surfing the ocean waves in my 40,000 ton dinghy, I’ve been thinking about that funny old subject – yes, my favourite, money. From a different angle – the arts and sciences, history, literature, faith and illusion. And the result is – another book! Here is the beast:

So little has been done to reform money and finance.  So much needs to be done. It is a no-brainer. Yet radical reform is not on the agenda of any political party still less of any government anywhere.

What is going on? That is the question I set myself. This was a year to 18 months ago. My conclusion? Don’t blame governments. We are responsible. Society, most of the time, gets the money it deserves.

We can change our money. In fact, we often do. However granite-like the hard walls of finance may appear to be, we can cut through them like a knife going through butter. If we want to. If we have better ideas. Certainly, the history of the last 120 years shows that. At least, that’s what I set out to prove.

Money can work miracles. But wrong attitudes to it, false hopes held out for it and illusions about it all spell disaster. We suffer from all of these.

Money needs good backing – not backing by empty official promises, not even by precious metals, but by shared values. These are what the pre-eminence of the US dollar was founded on. That is what we now remember as we reflect on the death of Paul Volcker. These values have to reflect our present needs and aspirations.