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This introductory chapter presents the topic of money’s emergence in the eastern Mediterranean centuries prior to the invention of coinage, an important development with far-reaching effects, placing the study of money in early antiquity in the framework of thinking about the origins of money in human societies. The study of early money in the eastern Mediterranean Iron Age contributes to a better understanding of the interregional processes that shaped the eastern Mediterranean world from the end of the Late Bronze Age to the end of the Iron Age, while at the same time providing valuable insights into the important question of how money came into being. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that money has a single historical origin. Rather than being the result of a linear evolution, it is argued that money’s importance in the politics of value in any given society can rise, transform, and subside depending on the circumstances.
In this chapter, a wide-angle historical approach contextualizes the use and significance of precious metal money in the broader region of the Levant from the Late Bronze Age to the end of the Iron Age. It is argued that the weakening of centralized authority – reflected by the collapse of Egyptian rule in the southern Levant – left trade networks and routes vulnerable, profoundly affecting trade networks and leading to an increasing reliance on precious metal in order to carry out transactions. Next, the importance of precious metal money and fiscal institutions are examined in the context of emerging territorial states, based on a critical approach to biblical sources documenting the hoarding and use of gold and silver in tributary payments to overlords. Rather than having stimulated monetization, the incorporation of the southern Levant into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the late eighth and seventh century is argued to have led to a depletion of the region from its silver. Only after the Egyptian takeover do we again observe fresh silver – e.g. from Aegean sources – arriving to the region through Egypt.
Color versions of select print images available on the Resources tab (or here: www.cambridge.org/heymans).This book shows how money emerged and spread in the eastern Mediterranean, centuries before the invention of coinage. While the invention of coinage in Ancient Lydia around 630 BCE is widely regarded as one of the defining innovations of the ancient world, money itself was never invented. It gained critical weight in the Iron Age (ca. 1200 – 600 BCE) as a social and economic tool, most dominantly in the form of precious metal bullion. This book is the first study to comprehensively engage with the early history of money in the Iron Age Mediterranean, tracing its development in the Levant and the Aegean. Building on a detailed study of precious metal hoards, Elon D. Heymans deploys a wide range of sources, both textual and material, to rethink money's role and origins in the history of the eastern Mediterranean.
This chapter presents a detailed study of Iron Age precious metal hoards in the southern Levant (and one hoard in the Aegean), and uses the data from the hoards to reconstruct the early development of money use, and its historical and social context. The analyses focus on the archaeological and geographical context of the individual hoards, and the internal metrology and typology of the hoards. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the hoards conform to chronologically coherent patterns of material characteristics. Starting at the end of the Late Bronze Age, silver jewellery and prestige items were increasingly appropriated for use in exchange as a form of money. Hoards from the latter phase of the Iron I reflect a high level of circulation, and the use of silver in small-scale transactions of a high level of precision, representing small change. After the end of the eighth century, the hoards dating to the Iron IIC cease to reflect the common use of silver money in exchange, indicating again a distinct change in the role of silver money in the economy.
This chapter explores the different social contexts in which forms of money appear in the Iron Age Aegean world, and how these develop and converge in the emerging use of precious metal money before the spread of coinage. Early sanctuaries form such a context, where the deposition of metal votive offerings could reflect an increasing focus on organizing cult expenses. Another context is provided by compensation or wergeld payments, notable in the Homeric epics and a prominent focus of early written law. Next, emphasis is placed on the context of interregional and international trade. Through contacts with Levantine merchants Euboians adopted the use of precious metal money in the Geometric period, stimulating the active search for gold sources in the northern Aegean. From the mid-seventh century onwards, Greek efforts extended to the exploitation of silver sources, arguably stimulated by the opening up of contacts with 26th-dynasty Egypt. Preceding the production of silver coinage by more than half a century, silver trade with Egypt likely boosted the use of silver within the Aegean, which shortly after superseded gold as the preferred form of money.
The concluding chapter revisits several broader issues regarding the emergence of money in historical societies, drawing conclusions from the historical contexts explored in this book. Emphasis is placed for example on the distance through which objects are constructed as valuables in exchange, making them appropriate as a form of money, and the effect that developing state institutions could have had on the use of money. In the framework of these and other issues connected to the early development of money, several novel insights are outlined, while highlighting the need for additional questions, and pointing to opportunities for future research.
Chapter 2 provides a brief history of the Republican Party – which explains in part how it became the Party of Trump. It describes the Republican demographic, how it differs from the Democratic demographic, and how it was possible for Trump essentially to take over what only recently was an establishment conglomerate. One better known for its institutionalist orientation than its outrageous attacks on political norms – norms that in most cases go back to the beginning of the Republic. The chapter further explores the links between the Republican Party and the house that Roger Ailes built, that is, Fox News. As the book makes clear, the importance of Party media, and for that matter Party Money, to the Trump phenomenon is impossible to overestimate. Above all the chapter begins to explore the party’s remarkable fealty to a man who demanded it with every fiber of his being, but who at an earlier moment in Republican Party history would have been dismissed with the flick of a wrist.
Money talks when it comes to global justice, no less than elsewhere. But what does money say? And does that have any legitimate role in realizing global justice? The persistence of injustice in a world dominated by the wealthy suggest they should not be relied upon. This chapter discusses the formative agency of the global rich, corporations, and foundations. The formative agency of the rich is exercised in both their political influence, in choosing recipients of their charity, and on what terms. Justice requires the democratic extension of formative agency beyond the rich and toward the poor. The influence of corporations is felt in the Sustainable Development Goals and in networked climate governance. So long as corporations are hard-wired for profit their formative agency should be restricted on questions of justice. Foundations are increasingly prominent in global governance; the Gates Foundation distributes over $4 billion per year. Embedding foundations in deliberative democratic relationships would advance democratic legitimacy and accountability, while bringing different sorts of knowledge to their activities. Deliberative accountability should apply to all wealthy actors, whose capacity to decide what global justice means and requires should be counterbalanced by an active role for citizens, the global poor, civil society, and international organizations.
This chapter traces how the material conditions and themes of Ibsen’s oeuvre reveal his interest in the culture of capitalism. The transformation of literary markets, the spread of economic ideas, and Ibsen’s financial struggles early in his career influenced both the content and form of his drama, which pays close attention to such prevalent features of nineteenth-century economic life as debt, credit, financialization and the invisible hand of the market. Although Ibsen never studied economics in depth, his own investment activities, coupled with his talent for observation, allowed him to capture European modernity in its transition from Christian ethos to the secular values of capitalism.
Scholars have long recognized that Latin love elegy’s essential erotic plot is based on the conflict between the adulescens amator and meretrix in Roman comedy, and particularly its focus on the competition between lover and beloved for sexual access, behavioral control, and the economic interests of both parties. This chapter argues that Catullus was an exemplary figure for the elegists who first showed how Roman comedy could enter sustained personal poetry, and it is argued that Catullus was, with respect to the erotic and economic conflict, a proto-elegist. This chapter explores how Catullus examines the stock scene of the excluded lover in one understudied cycle of his poems, where he limned the essential elements of Roman elegy’s appropriation of Roman comedy’s “greedy girl” motif, serving as a bridge between the two genres and a window through whom Ovid and other elegists viewed Plautus and Terence.
The Hebrew Bible prohibits lending at interest. This is usually linked to care for the poor. A similar connection is found in post-biblical literature as well. In Deut 23:20–21, however, usury is disconnected from the poverty laws. Classical rabbinic literature (second to sixth centuries) follows Deuteronomy in sharply de-coupling usury from poverty: the usury prohibition in that corpus regulates commerce and property, and is not intended to benefit the poor. In a sharp break with classical rabbinic tradition, the usury prohibition is reassociated with the poor in piyyut and in the Tanhuma midrashim, two late antique genres of Jewish literature associated but not entirely contiguous with classical rabbinic literature. Both genres bring this tradition to the fore through the use of earlier rabbinic materials, which do not espouse it. This combination of usury and care for the poor mirrors fourth-century Christian writings on usury.
“Mutual Coercion, Mutually Agreed Upon” (the phrase comes from Garrett Hardin's classic essay "Tragedy of the Commons") sees the democratic reforms and social reorganization of Attica by the Athenian statesman Cleisthenes in 508 BCE as a case study in systems leveraging. Cleisthenes’s reforms are situated in a nexus of Presocratic (Pythagorean) thinking about limit (peras) and in the context of ideas that circulated at the time under the banners of isonomy (isonomia) and harmony (harmonia). The ancient Athenians, newly freed from political tyranny and the social upheaval of 508, recognized the intrinsic value of limits and restraint and built them into the structures of democratic life. Their example, I argue further, stands as a challenge to environmental and social problems faced by democratic regimes today.
This chapter describes the concept of wasta as it is understood in Syria. It begins by showing that self-perceived wasta is a reliable indicator of whether people objectively have wasta. This is because both self-perceived and objective wasta exist due to a combination of money and connections. It then describes how wasta's meaning has changed over time. After that, it discusses similar concepts that exist in other context, such as guanxi in China. Finally, it discusses how changes in wasta reflect the wartime political order.
Since the 1950s, public discourse in India has referred to black money: undeclared or illicit income, sometimes in foreign accounts. Black money - so as to circumvent state taxes and controls - pervaded ordinary exchange and political financing. Today, large purchases have white and black ratios; public figures vow to retrieve black money in Swiss accounts. Black money is, at once, a means to transact business, a barometer of value, an elusive specter, and a moral outrage. It suggests how money can be differentiated, converted, corrupted, and disguised. This chapter is based on an ethnographic study of a Mumbai neighborhood marked by migration and informality. It examines the generation of black money from the diversion of publicly subsidized goods, the community’s assessment of these practices, and possible conduits for such income. Black money, I suggest, can be understood as a moral critique of money’s spectral and pernicious character, as well as a productive hinge between transactional orders and an expression of relational ties.
Money and credit are ubiquitous in actual economies, but there is an active theoretical debate on whether they are both necessary if they can both be used in all transactions. Recently, Gu et al. (2016) have shown that money and credit cannot be simultaneously essential and debt limits do not matter for the determination of real allocations in a class of monetary economies. In this paper, we revisit their irrelevance result in a monetary economy based on Lagos and Wright (2005), which exhibits a misallocation of liquidity that is common in search models of money. We show that monetary loans, which naturally require the use of both money and credit, implement Pareto superior allocations in which the size of debt limits matters.
Chapter 1 explains why the study of bubbles is important. Bubbles can have huge economic, social and political costs, but some bubbles may be useful. The chapter discusses the origin of the ‘bubble’ metaphor and the definition of a bubble. It then develops a new metaphor and framework for bubbles based on the chemistry of fire - the bubble triangle - in order to better understand their causes and consequences. The three sides of the bubble triangle are marketability, credit and money, and speculation – these correspond to oxygen, fuel and heat in the fire triangle. The spark which sets the bubble fire alight is either technological change or a government policy decision. This analytical framework helps predict when bubbles will occur, when they will burn out and what their economic effects will be. The chapter concludes by outlining the catalogue of 12 historical bubbles that will be examined in the rest of the book.
This essay examines Hume’s treatment of money in light of his view of the imagination. It begins with his claim that money is distinct from wealth, the latter arising, according to vulgar reasoning, from the power of acquisition that it represents, or, understood philosophically, from the labor that produces it. The salient features that Hume identifies with the imagination are then put forth, namely its power to combine ideas creatively and the principle of easy transition that characterizes its movement among them. Two issues that these features explain are then discussed: first, why people take value to lie in the material of which money is made, and, second, why they assign value to what they take money to represent, namely, wealth. In both cases, the imagination creates a new relation, an illusion or fiction, that cannot be traced directly to experience. In the case of money, the faculty conjoins what is intangible (the power of acquisition) with the physical qualities of specie; in the case of property it produces a causal relation that connects persons with objects to constitute stable possession that constitutes ownership. Hume also appeals to the imagination to explain the rules of property that subsequently develop (present possession, occupation, prescription, and transference). The essay concludes by emphasizing that being based on the imagination is not in itself indicative of any instability in either money or property and the practices they enshrine, a feature they share with other phenomena (such as the self and continued existence) that Hume also traces to the same faculty.
This book offers a new reading of the relationship between money, culture and literature in America in the 1970s. The gold standard ended at the start of this decade, a moment which is routinely treated as a catalyst for the era of postmodern abstraction. This book provides an alternative narrative, one that traces the racialized and gendered histories of credit offered by the intertextual narratives of writers such as E.L Doctorow, Toni Morrison, Marilyn French, William Gaddis, Thomas Pynchon and Don De Lillo. It argues that money in the 1970s is better read through a narrative of political consolidation than formal rupture as these histories foreground the closing down, rather than opening up, of serious debates about what American money should be and who it should serve. These novels and this moment remain important because they alert us to imagine the alternative histories of credit that were imaginatively proposed but never realized.
Little has contributed more to the emergence of today's world of financial globalization than the setup of the international monetary system. In its current shape, it has a hierarchical structure with the US-Dollar (USD) at the top and various other monetary areas forming a multilayered periphery to it. A key feature of the system is the creation of USD offshore – a feature that in the 1950s and 60s developed in co-evolution with the Bretton Woods System and in the 1970s replaced it. Since the 2007–9 Financial Crisis, this ‘Offshore US-Dollar System’ has been backstopped by the Federal Reserve's network of swap lines which are extended to other key central banks. This systemic evolution may continue in the decades to come, but other systemic arrangements are possible as well and have historical precedents. This article discusses four trajectories that would lead to different setups of the international monetary system by 2040, taking into account how its hierarchical structure and the role of offshore credit money creation may evolve. In addition to a continuation of USD hegemony, we present the emergence of competing monetary blocs, the formation of an international monetary federation and the disintegration into an international monetary anarchy.