Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization by William N. Goetzmann

By William N. Goetzmann

A sweeping background of finance and civilization that "convincingly makes the case that finance is a change-maker of change-makers" (Financial Times)

In the aftermath of modern monetary crises, it is easy to determine finance as a wrecking ball: whatever that destroys fortunes and jobs, and undermines governments and banks. In Money adjustments Everything, top monetary historian William Goetzmann argues the precise opposite--that the advance of finance has made the expansion of civilizations attainable. Goetzmann explains that finance is a time laptop, a expertise that enables us to maneuver worth ahead and backward via time; and that this innovation has replaced the very method we expect approximately and plan for the long run. He exhibits how finance used to be current at key moments in historical past: riding the discovery of writing in old Mesopotamia, spurring the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome to develop into nice empires, identifying the increase and fall of dynasties in imperial China, and underwriting the alternate expeditions that led Europeans to the recent international. He additionally demonstrates how the equipment we go along with a contemporary economy--stock markets, traces of credits, advanced monetary items, and overseas trade--were again and again built, forgotten, and reinvented over the process human history.

Exploring the severe function of finance over the millennia, and worldwide, Goetzmann info how wondrous monetary applied sciences and institutions--money, bonds, banks, agencies, and more--have helped city facilities to extend and cultures to flourish. And it isn't performed reshaping our lives, as Goetzmann considers the demanding situations we are facing sooner or later, resembling tips to use the facility of finance to take care of an getting older and increasing population.

funds alterations Everything provides a desirable check out the way in which that finance has recommended the process history.

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The Enmetena inscription in the Yale Babylonian Collection. finanCe and urbanisM 37 Enmetena’s claim of compound interest is based on the premise that the profits from one year can be reinvested in the same productive enterprise the next year. Enmetena’s claim is of course logically impossible. Compounding grain yields would require not only an ever-increasing number of seeds, but also an ever-increasing field to plant the new seed. The Lagash ruler must have understood that his compound interest claim was absurd.

We also visit an ancient site where an entire neighborhood of ancient Mesopotamian financiers has come to light, and where one modern scholar has been able to reconstruct their business ventures, legal disputes, loans, and transactions. The letters these ancient financiers left us shed light not only on their business operations but also on their lives and personalities. The early second millennium was a time of great political turmoil in the ancient Middle East and is generally referred to as the Old Babylonian period.

It is not surprising that the early cities of the Near East developed methods for planning and the concept of a fair yield on assets, and that these became so fundamental to their way of thinking that even political disputes between states were quantified using sophisticated financial calculations. We also explored the development of financial technology in the first cities and the emergence of financial theory: models of financial growth that were both practical and wildly hypothetical. The Drehem tablet used the reproductive rates of cattle to express a useful theory—a pro- finanCe and urbanisM 45 duction plan for the future.

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