Reading money

References by Andrew Morriss and Warren Coats 

Read our article in the Cayman Financial Review Magazine, eversion

The past

One starting point for thinking about the future of money is to consider its past.

For those interested in the history of money, there is no better place to start than the works of economist Barry Eichengreen (University of California at Berkeley).

One of the most astute commentators on money, and one of the best prose stylists among economists, Eichengreen’s recent Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the International Monetary System (Oxford University Press 2011) is a good starting point.

Look at his Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System (Princeton University Press, 2nd ed. 2008) to see how money fits into international finance.

A brief history of the international monetary system, Globalizing Capital concisely traces monetary history from the gold standard to the world of floating exchange rates.

An alternative approach to the history of money is novelist Neal Stephenson’s dense historical trilogy, The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver (William Morrow 2004), The Confusion (William Morrow 2004), and The System of the World (William Morrow 2005)). The creation of the modern idea of money, along with Isaac Newton’s problems running the British Mint, feature prominently in the series.

Economists Lawrence White (Competition and Currency: Essays on Free Banking and Money (NYU Press 1992)) and George Selgin (The Theory of Free Banking: Money Supply under Competitive Note Issue (Routledge 1988)) explore a different aspect of monetary history, the private issuance of currency by banks.

The listed works are just the tip of the iceberg, as both have produced a large number of papers and books exploring how private currencies functioned.

The future

No discussion of the future of money would be complete without discussion of PayPal, a successful innovator in payment systems, or the rise of credit cards. The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth (World Ahead 2004) is a thoughtful, award-winning (if now dated) account of the rise of PayPal.

It is easy to forget how dramatically credit cards changed the world of payment systems. Paul Chutkow’s VISA: The Power of an Idea (Harcourt 2001) chronicles the creation of VISA in a large format book, filled with details gleaned from extensive interviews with participants.

David L. Stearns’ Electronic Value Exchange: Origins of the VISA Electronic Payment System (Springer 2011) is a more recent, quite thorough analysis of VISA from the 1960s to 1980s.

David Evans and Richard Schmalensee’s Paying with Plastic: The Digital Revolution in Buying and Borrowing (MIT Press, 2nd ed. 2004) covers the entire industry’s development from two of the most important economists to focus on it.

VISA founder Dee Hock’s One from Many: VISA and the Rise of the Chaordic Organization (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2005) offers an insider’s view of VISA’s creation, although one marred by the author’s insistence on using terms like “chaordic”.

For speculating on the future, look to economist David Friedman’s Future Imperfect (Cambridge 2011).

Friedman, the son of Milton and Rose Friedman, discusses the future of money in Chapter 6 on “eCash”. Novelist Stephenson’s online short story, The Great Simoleon Caper, explores the creation of money. [http://kuoi.com/~kamikaze/Text/simoleon.html] CFR Editorial Board member Richard Rahn’s The End of Money & the Struggle for Financial Privacy (Discovery Institute 1999) covers a number of important issues and, despite its age, remains an important source.

ReadingSM
SHARE
Previous articlePromoting Cayman in the Middle East
Next articleStateless income and offshore financial services centres
Andrew P. Morriss

Andrew P. Morriss, Chairman, is the D. Paul Jones, Jr. & Charlene Angelich Jones – Compass Bank Endowed Chair of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. He was formerly the H. Ross & Helen Workman Professor of Law and Business at the University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign. He received his A.B. from Princeton University, his J.D. and M.Pub.Aff. from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. (Economics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Research Fellow of the N.Y.U. Center for Labor and Employment Law,and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, Washington,D.C., as well as a regular visiting faculty memberat the Universidad Francisco Marroquín,Guatemala. He is the author or coauthor of more than 50 scholarly articles, books, and bookchapters, including Regulation by Litigation (Yale Univ. Press 2008) (with Bruce Yandle and Andrew Dorchak), and is the editor of Offshore Financial Centers and Regulatory Competition (American Enterprise Institute Press 2010).

T. +1 (216) 272 9187
    +1 (217) 244 3449
E. amorriss@law.ua.edu 

LinkedIn: Andrew Morriss
Twitter: @andy_morriss
Research: See my research on SSRN
Blog: Offshore Green
 

Warren Coats

Warren Coats retired from the International Monetary Fund in 2003 as assistant director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department, where he lead technical assistance missions to central banks in more than 20 countries. He was a director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003 - 2010 and is currently Senior Monetary Policy Advisor to the Central Bank of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kenya for the IMF and an advisor to the Bank of South Sudan for Deloitte. His most recent book, “One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” was published in November 2007.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Warren Coats
T.  +1 (301) 365 0647
E. Wcoats@aol.com
W: www.wcoats.spaces.live.com 

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama is a student-centered research university and an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

Founded in 1831 as Alabama's first public college, The University of Alabama is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and service. We provide a creative, nurturing campus environment where our students can become the best individuals possible, can learn from the best and brightest faculty, and can make a positive difference in the community, the state and the world.

The University of Alabama family has always expected great things. After all, we are our state’s flagship university — the Capstone of higher education.

The University of Alabama will be the university of choice for the best and brightest students in Alabama and a university of choice for all other students who seek exceptional educational opportunities. The University of Alabama will be a student-centered research university and an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

 

The University of Alabama School of Law
101 Paul W. Bryant Drive
East Tuscaloosa,
AL 35487


T: +1 (216) 272 9187, +1 (217) 244 3449
E: amorriss@law.ua.edu
W: www.law.ua.edu