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This book makes abundantly clear that what we are experiencing today is the exact same situation that has been inflicted over and over again throughout history on the most advanced and powerful civilizations. "Money and Man" is a survey of the history of money, which is in turn the history of the manipulation of money by rulers and governments for the purpose of defrauding and impoverishing its citizens. Groseclose surveys the great civilizations, including the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine empires, and then turns to the history of money, credit and banking in Europe starting with the Middle Ages. Throughout this history, it was only Greece and Byzantium that managed, for the most part, to resist the temptation to debase their money. All other civilizations, and especially western European nations right up into modern times, were continually afflicted with ever-depreciating money, manipulated and debased by their rulers for their own advantage and ambition. In the west, the economy has slowly but surely shifted from a system based on capital and productivity to a system based on debt. This is borne out in what Groseclose presents of the history of European banking, inflation, managed money and debt.
In both the history and in his explanations Groseclose does a masterful job of drawing out the forces, motivations and illusions that are behind the use and abuse of money. The thesis that becomes clear is that the central problem surrounding the issue of money is a moral problem, and that mankind has almost never been able to exercise the moral restraint needed to maintain honest money. The consequences have been universally disastrous, and our inability to learn from history is likely to continue to bring economic crises upon us like the one that is currently unfolding.Read more ›