The Ascent of Money: A Book Review Movie Review

In his introduction, Ferguson attempts to attract the interest of the audience by eliciting the people’s feelings towards the current monetary system. The author uses the terms used to describe money in various societies such as “bread, moolah, dough, dosh, cash and readies” to attract the attention of the reader. He also mentions the modern perceptions and believes about money. For instance, Christians believe that money is the backbone of all evils while leaders believe it is the sign of might, wealth and respect.

Having attracted the interest of the reader, the author now turns to express the idea of his book. He brings forth the questions that the book attempts to answer. For instance, what is money? How has money developed from mere tablets and metals to printed-paper? How will money become invisible yet usable? What is the origin of money and how did it evolve? Finally, he tends to determine the future of money.

The book uses review of literature as the main study method. In fact, Fergusson has made an in-depth analysis of the historical records to determine the origin, evolution and development of the world monetary systems. The author goes beyond the common history and looks at the economic forces behind every historical development since the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. According to the author “every historical event has a financial secret”.

For instance, the Italian Renaissance is attributed with changes in science, arts, music, education and other aspects of life. However, Fergusson says that a major financial secret contributed to the renaissance.

According to the book, major changes in during the Renaissance were under the control of individuals who converted these changes to money and wealth, including Da Vinci and the Medici families. In addition, case studies based on historical evidence as well as modern examples of monetary evolution have been used in-depth.

According to the author, the financial crisis that was affecting most parts of the world between 2007 and 2008 was an important sign of the continuing development and evolution of the monetary system.

Ferguson reviews the situation facing the global financial system. According to the book, the increase in the cost of living, average income per individual, price surges, inflations and deflations and the GDP in general have changed since 1990, especially in the US. However, the author tends to argue that this change is not a unique phenomenon but rather, it is a continuing change that has been taking place in the evolution of money.

In addition, the author associates the control of the world financial system as a continuing part of the evolution of money. For instance, he mentions the work of banks, billionaires, capitalists and other parties that control the world financial system. He tells the reader not to worry because this trend has been there since the ancient times, but has been evolving alongside the evolution of technology and other aspects of humans.

The book provides an in-depth analysis of the historical materials from the ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Clay tablets have been found, which provide evidence that money was the most important measures of wealth and part of trade. Ferguson argues that these clay tablets provide evidence that the need for writing was not to tell history, but to conduct trade.

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The author reviews some of the records that indicate how the ancient civilizations used metals such as silver rings, blocks and sheets were used in exchange of good such as wool, barley, cotton and animals. He gives the example of a silver sheet of metal used as money in Sippar during the reign of King Ammi-Diatana between 1683 and 1646 BC.

The evolution of baking system came along with the evolution of money. According to Ferguson, banking system started with shylock. The purpose of shylocks was to accumulate wealth at the expense of the weaknesses of the poor and unorganized individuals in the society.

For instance, the Medici Family of Italy is cited as the most important example of early shylocks that acted as lenders and bankers. Although there were no legal systems to control these individuals, they contributed to the development of the modern banking systems. Nevertheless, they were primarily thieves because they exploited their clients.

The earliest form of a bank existed in Netherlands in the 1th century. Known as the Duthc Wisslebank, the bank allowed individuals to save their money and borrow loans for a given period. However, Lanebank, a Swiss institution, was the first model of a real bank. Apart from allowing people to save and borrow money, it also facilitated trade and commercial payments. Thus, Ferguson says that it is the pioneer banking system in the history of humans.

The banking system in Europe developed rapidly between 15th and 17th centuries. This period saw the evolution of banking as more and more institutions copied the model of the Swiss Lanebank. In Britain, the monarch was actively involved in the process. In addition, mathematicians such as Isaac Newton were actually bankers and financial enthusiasts whose work helped in developing exchange systems.

However, the author argues that these development systems brought a number of negative effects on the society. For instance, the evolution and development of banking system brought a new term- Bankruptcy. The term became a common reference to a state of being unable to pay debts because one could not accumulate money needed to settle financial dues. According to the author, this would otherwise be possible if the ancient barter trade or hunting and gathering systems survived.

The evolution of money and the emergence of the state of bankruptcy brought other important aspects on the societies. Ferguson argues that as money became the most importance force controlling every aspect of life, humans became tied to the system, creating human bondage.

One could not do anything without involving money and the financial system. The emergence of banks came along with the emergence of groups and individuals that controlled the financial systems, which aimed at accumulating wealth in expense of the state of poverty. Aspects of inflation, deflation, economic crisis and credit crunch emerged, which dominated most financial systems in Europe and the world in general because people were tightly tied to money.

In conclusion, the author attempts to predict the future of money. With the increasing rate of using non-liquid cash, the future of solid money is complicated. Ferguson says that this trend will cause a new phenomenon known as “the descent of money” , which will involved removal of printed papers and coins from the market and retain money in terms of figures that will be the measure of wealth.