"Money was no more ever ‘invented’ than music or mathematics or jewelry. What we call ‘money’ isn’t a ‘thing’ at all, it’s a way of comparing things mathematically, as proportions of saying one of X is equivalent to six of Y. As such it is probably as old as human thought." -David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years
How to Speak Money led me to Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber of should-have-but-didn’t-get-tenure-at-Yale fame. I am obsessed with this book. So far Graeber has refuted Adam Smith’s well-propagated idea that barter begot money, which begot credit. He illustrates that, in fact, credit is the entire basis of money—the the easy use and transference of credit necessitated money. He has also argued that “the market” is not some divine creation that operates through the invisible hand but that “the market” is a product of the state, levying taxes and armies. It’s amazing to learn something that appears so obvious but that has never occurred to me.