capital, coin, currency, means, dosh, funds
February 16, 2011, 6:02 am
Filed under: unseen world | Tags:

Lapham’s Quarterly

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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