Money is the lifeblood of an economy. The love of money may be the root of all evil, as the famous verse from the Bible says, but for a lot of people money – and particularly the lack of it – is the cause of many of their worries. Despite its importance, when people reach into their wallet or purse for a note or coins, few will ponder on how it is that a lump of nickel-brass or a piece of fabric allows them to buy a pint of milk, newspaper or cup of coffee.

Just as money is important to households in their everyday life, it is also an essential concept for economists in their struggle to understand how the economy works. Money exists not just ...

Get Brilliant Economics now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.