The definition of money is a moving target. In as much as the famous speak for the age they live in, here a version of the course money takes from the ancient world to now.
To ancient Rome, money was the essence and strength girding the empire’s central institution: the war machine. In the Age of Reason it was regarded with suspicion and was best when controlled and dispersed. In revolutionary America and England, money was a carrot at the end of a stick, and — for perhaps the first time — personified and rivaled man’s other – and perennial – best friend the dog. The Victorians had splintered views; the German and French regarded money as the root of happiness and of evil respectively; the British liked its function and prescribed – like proper bureaucrats – its place in the social order. During the early 20th century and the first world war, money is an empty blessing and a filthy ruse propped up. In the sixties, a collapsed ideal. And in the seventies another split: personal whim; and the better thing, if there’s a choice, but only as a default, and with conditions.
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