The Reading List is a collection of things I find in print and online that reflect what I've been finding interesting lately.
This time the reading list has a theme: money! Each of the articles, books, or video clips in the list explains a particular aspect of how money works—where it gets its value from, what keeps the system from collapsing, and how it is regulated. Money is fascinating, in part because it's one of those inventions of the modern world that we all rely on but hardly bother to question. Once you do start questioning, though, you fund that the plumbing of the international financial system runs deep.
One aspect of money that I really enjoy is how it represents not so much a technological innovation as much as a mental one. Unlike electricity, or semiconductors, or antibiotics, the innovation of money didn't require any wizardry over Nature. The paper on which we record our money is generally cheap and worthless. Instead, the major innovation was in fundamentally shifting the way we think about value, and transactions. Money made it possible to commensurate all sorts of seemingly incommensurate values, to save, to invest, to compare investments, to plan for the future, and the like—but not because money has any of these powers intrinsically, but rather because we gave it these powers by believing in it. It's truly quite remarkable how that works.
If you like what you see, or wish to discuss the readings, please add a comment below! I'll be more than eager to participate in the discussion.
Bonus Feature: The intro song and first couple minutes of the Singaporean film, Money No Enough.