Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Review of Banking & Finance Law

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

In this essay I argue that widespread failure to comprehend the intrinsic nature of modern money loomed large in the recent financial and economic crisis, and that broader comprehension of its meaning is a precondition for effective post-crisis reforms. First, I provide a brief history of money, emphasizing its gradual divergence from inherent value. I then consider the value of today's dollar in economic, legal, and psychological terms, arguing that each perspective conveys a single over-arching lesson - that better comprehending our money requires better comprehending ourselves. The introspection that this exercise demands reveals with unique clarity some of the critical lessons of the crisis and its aftermath.

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