The history of money and its “devine” metamorphosis in the 20th century

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Economic Sociology and Political Economy

money

Professor Jack Weatherford, a renowned cultural anthropologist:

“In the 20th century, we saw money turn rapidly from paper into plastic and then into mere electronic blips generated in computers, transferred over telephone lines and through computer terminals, and without any corporal existence outside of the electronic domain. Throughout its history, money has become steadily more abstract. By moving at the speed of light, electronic money has become the most powerful financial, political and social force in the world. Money has become even more like God: totally abstract and without corporeal body.”

Weatherford, Jack. 1997. The History of Money. New York: Crown Publishers. (p. 248)

In this book Weatherford identifies three great mutations in the story of money. The first began with the invention of coins in the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia 3000 years ago, sparking a monetary revolution that underpinned classical Greek and Roman civilizations. Next, family-owned, credit-giving banks of…

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