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Watching the money go-round

Adrian Furnham travels through the world of aspirational finance and greenback therapy where there is a millionaire around every corner

By Adrian Furnham . 01 March 2002

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Economics once had a monopoly on writing and theorising on the subject of money. No more. Adrian Furnham travels through the world of aspirational finance and greenback therapy where there is a millionaire around every corner.


Money as a topic of investigation was once the exclusive province of economists. Academic libraries contain hundreds of books, each with the term “money” in the title and nearly all are categorised under economics. There are books on monetary theory; monetary policy; money and capital markets; internal money; money, politics and government policy; and the relationship between money, income and capital.


While there are passionate theoretical debates, there is substantial agreement between economists. The following ideas are probably not in dispute: money may be defined as a means of valuation and of payment; as both a unit of account and as a generally acceptable medium of exchange. Money is an abstract unit of account; the “mathematical apparatus” used to express price. It is a common denominator for precision in calculation. Money should be portable, durable, divisible and recognisable. The common unit of account should be of suitable size. Above all, the “commercial” idea of general


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