The Evolution of Money

David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý

Columbia University Press

The Evolution of Money

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Pub Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780231173728

320 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: June 2016

ISBN: 9780231541671

320 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

The Evolution of Money

David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý

Columbia University Press

The sharing economy's unique customer-to-company exchange is possible because of the way in which money has evolved. These transactions have not always been as fluid as they are today, and they are likely to become even more fluid. It is therefore critical that we learn to appreciate money's elastic nature as deeply as do Uber, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and other innovators, and that we understand money's transition from hard currencies to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin if we are to access their cooperative potential.

The Evolution of Money illuminates this fascinating reality, focusing on the tension between currency's real and abstract properties and advancing a vital theory of money rooted in this dual exchange. It begins with the debt tablets of Mesopotamia and follows with the development of coin money in ancient Greece and Rome, gold-backed currencies in medieval Europe, and monetary economics in Victorian England. The book ends in the digital era, with the cryptocurrencies and service providers that are making the most of money's virtual side and that suggest a tectonic shift in what we call money. By building this organic time line, The Evolution of Money helps us anticipate money's next, transformative role.

Even though money is something we all use every day, talking about it, defining it, and explaining are extremely arcane things to do. The tone is important, and The Evolution of Money goes about its task in a readable, breezy style that does not become glib.

Paul Vigna, coauthor of The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order

Money, religion, and government are the three ubiquitous and eternal human institutions. This important new book gives money a voice in the past, present, and future of human history.

Parag Khanna, author of Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

Orrell and Chlupatý tackle two of the toughest questions in economics: What is money, and why does it have value? They present an intriguing definition of money and theory of money's value and a long history of money, weaving references through that history to current issues and dilemmas facing our society.

Michael Kelly, Lafayette College

A must-read for those who want to understand how money plays an even more important role in an exponentially changing digital society.

Jan Muehlfeit, former chairman of Microsoft Europe

The Evolution of Money is a masterpiece. It is rich in content and contains historical breadth—from prehistory (origins) to the future (utopia)—and analytical depth. Perhaps most remarkable, David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý have produced an economics book on money that is elegantly written. It is a work of great erudition that is mercifully free from jargon, sound bites, or obfuscations. Why can't all economists write like this?

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, International Institute for Management Development, Lausanne

We may think we know what money is, but Orrell and Chlupaty prove that we don't. They take us on a rich and stimulating journey through history and various fields including economics, physics, philosophy, and psychology to reveal the complex nature of money – its "quantum nature" consisting of both physical and virtual properties. The authors are at the very forefront of the economic revolution that they predict, leading us through a very enjoyable read that decodes what money is and what it is evolving to be.

Ted Cadsby, author, Closing the Mind Gap: Making Smarter Decisions in a Hypercomplex World

[Orrell and Chlupatý] show how money's increasingly elastic nature over the years has made the sharing economy and companies like Uber and Airbnb more effective.

Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail
1. Origins
2. The Money Magnet
3. Virtual Money
4. New World
5. A Wonderful Machine
6. The Money Power
7. Solid Gold Economics
8. New Money
9. Changing the Dominant Monetary Regime, Bit(coin) by Bit
10. Utopia

Read an excerpt from the first chapter:

About the Author

David Orrell is a writer and an applied mathematician. He is the author of The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction (2007), Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems Is Transforming Economic Thought (2010), and Truth or Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order (2012).

Roman Chlupatý is a journalist, lecturer, and consultant specializing in the global economy, politics, and the intersection of these two worlds. He is the coauthor, with David Orrell, of The Twilight of Homo Economicus (2012). He is also the author of (S)OUR EARTH: Fourteen Interviews About Things That Are Changing Our World (2010) and coauthor of (R)evolutionary Economy: Of Systems and Men (2013).