The Creation of Money

Sapiens“Money was created many times in many places. Its development required no technological breakthroughs – it was a purely mental revolution. It involved the creation of a new inter-subjective reality that exists solely in people’s shared imagination.”

Yuval Noah Harari, in one of many eye-opening recounts of human evolution, pulls apart the nature, purpose, and problems of our evolving monetary system.

“Everyone always wants money because everyone else also always wants money, which means you can exchange money for whatever you want or need.”

Money achieved something that the people of the time rather struggled with—it allowed a great number of people to work together, even in the face of opposing beliefs.

“People continued to speak mutually incomprehensible languages, obey different rulers and worship distinct gods, but all believed in gold and silver and in gold and silver coins.”

[…]

“For thousands of years, philosophers, thinkers and prophets have besmirched money and called it the root of all evil. Be that as it may, money is also the apogee of human tolerance. Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation. Thanks to money, even people who don’t know each other and don’t trust each other can nevertheless cooperate effectively.”

For more, pick up Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

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