Michael E. Marotta submitted this review of Bob Leonard's book, Curious Currency.
Curious Currency: The Story of Money from the Stone Age to the Internet Age by Robert D. Leonard, Jr., Whitman Publishing, 2010
Friedrich A. Hayek called Milton Friedman's theory of "monetism" a Keynesian theory because, in Hayek's view, there are more forms of money than central bankers can tally. This book proves that. To dismiss "primitive" money as irrelevant to the "modern" world is to miss the fact that many of these moneys -- coweries, manillas, spearheads -- were current in the 20th century. Others -- gold, silver, cows, wheat -- are major markets today. Still others -- coins, banknotes, credit cards -- are so familiar that we overlook their place in the matrix of money.
In each case, Leonard gives reliable information about the actual use of these objects from original sources. Leonard's conceptual organization of this complex subject is masterful. For the cover price of $12.95, this lavishly illustrated 150-page overview is replete with 481 citations.
The index is truly helpful.
We all have a lot of books. For me, this one goes on the shelf with Breen, Taxay, and Newman, Sayles and Sear, and the Krause Standard Catalogs. In fact, it goes to the start.
To view the YouTube video, see:
Hayek on Milton Friedman and Monetary Policy
Wayne Homren, Editor
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