The Evolution of Money is a story of struggle-the struggle between an essential tool for human interaction and a powerful instrument of corruption. Governments and other groups have exerted their control over it for ages, but rarely has their authority been exercised ethically. Western democracies are rife with fraud, but the adoption of democratic principles was once believed to be the ideal way to curb such abuse, as in doing so, Abraham Lincoln claimed, “money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity.” But from where does this struggle arise, and what can we do about it?
This concise, illustrated study traces the history of money over the course of millennia, detailing how various states and leaders, from kings and queens to modern-day presidents, have used and more often misused this tool of society. It provides context through their own statements, presents a range of historical documentation, and is accompanied by dozens of images that aid in the telling of the story, following the progression as control shifted from money changers to banks, to central banks, and finally to world banks.
Author David Byrne untangles a complex web of manipulation and subversion in the struggle over this fundamental agent of exchange, re-framing its development over the centuries in order to reveal how we arrived at where we are today.