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Free Lunch: Easily Digestible Economics by David Smith

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11Bread and money

Sooner or later, vulgar though it may be, most dinner-table conversation gets round to money. It is perhaps surprising that we have come so far without talking about it explicitly, although we have explored those other favourite topics – mortgages and house prices. Without money, after all, what would we be, mere primitives exchanging half a dozen cows for a new wife? Cattle, in fact, played an important part in the development of money. They were widely exchanged, particularly for wives. Chattels, as in ‘wife and chattels’, and capital, as in capital investment, or even the name of Marx’s most famous work, come from the same Old English roots as cattle. Actually, some apparently primitive societies used money in a highly sophisticated ...

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