Or, how little bits of metal became a social and institutional technology.
This is a list of references. It is a work in progress and suggested additions are welcome.
The idea that money is a creature of law, and money originated from some powerful entity’s desire to control economic activity.
States created tokens so that they could extract value from people. If people are forced to pay tax tokens to the state, then people will want to be paid in tokens themselves.
- Georg Friedrich Knapp. State Theory of Money, 1905
Credit and Debt
Money originated in ancient penal systems to pay restitutions for wrongdoing. Alternatively, money originated to provide a unit of account for measuring wrongdoing.
- A. Mitchell Innes. The Credit Theory of Money, 1914
- A. Mitchell Innes. What is Money?, 1913 (added 02-Jan)
- Philip Grierson. The Origins of Money, 1970
- Michael Hudson. The New Economic Archaeology of Debt, 2002
The idea that the value of money derives from the purchasing power of the commodity upon which it is based, and emerged from human action, not state decree.
In early barter systems, humans learned that some goods were more “saleable” than others – that is, they had greater trading, or purchasing, power. The most saleable commodity came to be used as money because it offered the most marginal utility.
- Carl Menger. On the Origins of Money, 1892
The expected future purchasing power of money explains its current purchasing power.
- Ludwig von Mises. The Theory of Money and Credit, 1912
- Robert P. Murphy. The Origins of Money and its Value, 2003
Early humans collected and transferred durable goods of unforgeable costliness to enable mutual cooperation between untrusting parties.
- Nick Szabo. Shelling Out: The Origins of Money, 2002
The value of money is its authenticity and reliability as a measuring stick of economic activity.
- George Gilder. The 21st Century Case for Gold: A New Information Theory of Money, 2015