By Mark Peacock
Introducing Money provides a theoretical and historical examination of the evolution of money. It is distinct from the majority of ‘economic’ approaches, for it does not see money as an outgrowth of market exchange via barter. Instead, the social, political, legal and religious origins of money are examined.
The methodological and theoretical underpinning of Introducing Money is that the study of money be historically informed, and that there exists a ‘state theory of money’ that provides an alternative framework to the ‘orthodox’ view of money’s origins.
The contexts for analysing the introduction of money at various historical junctures include ancient Greece, British colonial dependencies in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and local communities which introduce ‘alternative’ currencies. Introducing Money argues that, although money is not primarily an ‘economic’ phenomenon (associated with market exchange), it has profound implications (amongst others, economic implications) for societies and habits of human thought and action.
Mauricio Coutinho on Journal of the History of Economic Thought wrote:
"Mark Peacock has provided a most welcome service to those interested in the origins of money; I know of no other source that brings the literature on this subject better together in one tidy package. Moreover, this is awell-written, accessible account that demonstrates a yeoman’s search through the literature: Peacock cites roughly 400 references supporting 182 pages of text. [...] I think a standard concluding chapter, rather than one on LETS would have been welcome. True, such conclusions often simply restate what has already been covered. But, this would have allowed Peacock to provide the reader with a trenchant summary, one that would end the book with a 'bang.' As it stands, Introducing Money ends with a whimper."
"Mark Peacock’s Introducing Money is a thrilling and quite unusual critical assessment of one of the most resilient pieces of conjectural history in economics: the ‘monetary lore’ of the origins and evolution of money, from barter to stamped coins. As Peacock says, most economists pick Adam Smith’s passages on the origins of money, in Wealth of Nations,chapter IV, as an archetypical account of money’s trajectory throughout history. In Peacock’s view, Smith’s account is well representative of the orthodox economic view that situates the origins of money in market. [...] Peacock aligns himself with historically meaningful approaches to money. [...] Introducing Money is a piece of erudition, necessary reading for historically concerned monetary economists.
Table of Contents of Introducing Money
- Two Theories of Money
- Money in Archaic Greece: Excavating the Pre-Monetary Economy
- The religious origins of money in Homeric society
- Wergeld and the Legal Presuppositions of Money
- Coin: the first all purpose money
- Monetization in Colonial Contexts: Famine, Class and Markets in ‘Development’ Strategies
- The Moral Economy of Parallel Currencies
About Mark Peacock
Mark Peacock is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Science, York University, Canada. His research focuses on most aspects of the relationship between philosophy and economics, be it from the perspective of the philosophy of science, ethics or political philosophy. He is also interested in various figures from the history of social and political thought, e.g., Aristotle, Hobbes, Marx, Keynes, Hayek. Recently he has contributed to the revival and development of the “Chartalist” theory of money.