counter create hit The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate

Availability: Ready to download

Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us. Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street's byzantine present-day doings. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, an Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us. Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street's byzantine present-day doings. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, and stereotypical metaphors that have long been linked with money and commercial culture, from Melanesian trading rituals to the dogma of Medieval churchmen faced with global commerce, the rationales of Mercantilism and colonial expansion, and the U.S. dollar's 1971 unpinning from gold. The Money Plot offers a tool to see through the haze of modern banking and finance, demonstrating that the standard reasons given for economic inequality--the Neoliberal gospel of market forces--are, like dollars, euros, and yuan, contingent upon structures people have designed. It shines a light on the one percent's efforts to contain a money culture that benefits them within boundaries they themselves are increasingly setting. And Kaufman warns that if we cannot recognize what is going on, we run the risk of becoming pawns and shells ourselves, of becoming characters in someone else's plot, of becoming other people's money.


Compare

Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us. Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street's byzantine present-day doings. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, an Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us. Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street's byzantine present-day doings. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, and stereotypical metaphors that have long been linked with money and commercial culture, from Melanesian trading rituals to the dogma of Medieval churchmen faced with global commerce, the rationales of Mercantilism and colonial expansion, and the U.S. dollar's 1971 unpinning from gold. The Money Plot offers a tool to see through the haze of modern banking and finance, demonstrating that the standard reasons given for economic inequality--the Neoliberal gospel of market forces--are, like dollars, euros, and yuan, contingent upon structures people have designed. It shines a light on the one percent's efforts to contain a money culture that benefits them within boundaries they themselves are increasingly setting. And Kaufman warns that if we cannot recognize what is going on, we run the risk of becoming pawns and shells ourselves, of becoming characters in someone else's plot, of becoming other people's money.

52 review for The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    This one got a mixed but more negative review from Adam Rowe at the WSJ: The author, "an English professor, can make even the simplest idea hard to grasp. Here is a typical sentence: “As allegory made money out of cowries, metonymy made money out of wives, and catachresis made money out of livestock, the magical thinking that guides synecdoche also came to define a great deal of what we consider money.” Huh. Metonymy made money out of wives? Who knew? Review is here, but paywalled (I think): https This one got a mixed but more negative review from Adam Rowe at the WSJ: The author, "an English professor, can make even the simplest idea hard to grasp. Here is a typical sentence: “As allegory made money out of cowries, metonymy made money out of wives, and catachresis made money out of livestock, the magical thinking that guides synecdoche also came to define a great deal of what we consider money.” Huh. Metonymy made money out of wives? Who knew? Review is here, but paywalled (I think): https://www.wsj.com/articles/holiday-... (Paywalled. As always, I'm happy to email a copy to non-subscribers)

  2. 4 out of 5

    B

    A book about money… so here is my “two cents”: Despite bits of interesting facts scattered all through, and occasional flowing passages, this book is a highly strenuous read. True, the flow gets somewhat better as one chugs along beyond the first third of the book, but the remainder still leaves the reader perplexed as to what the thread of the book is – if there is one indeed. Overall, the book suffers from a lack of structure, and the extensive use of obscure technical literary terms (such as A book about money… so here is my “two cents”: Despite bits of interesting facts scattered all through, and occasional flowing passages, this book is a highly strenuous read. True, the flow gets somewhat better as one chugs along beyond the first third of the book, but the remainder still leaves the reader perplexed as to what the thread of the book is – if there is one indeed. Overall, the book suffers from a lack of structure, and the extensive use of obscure technical literary terms (such as metonymy, synecdoche, catachresis among others). I tend to agree with Adam Rowe at the WSJ who put it succinctly when he wrote that the author, "an English professor, can make even the simplest idea hard to grasp. Here is a typical sentence: “As allegory made money out of cowries, metonymy made money out of wives, and catachresis made money out of livestock, the magical thinking that guides synecdoche also came to define a great deal of what we consider money.” I did, however, appreciate the research that went into this work. My sense is that the author may have acted impulsively by undertaking an enormously fantastical idea, i.e., how the elusive concept of money has developed through the history based on stories, metaphors, symbolisms and an array of technical literary terms, whilst keeping its abstract and illusory essence, and how it has survived its construct thanks to the seemingly sturdy but intrinsically fragile trust people have placed in it. A noble but perhaps too overambitious of a project.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lia

    This book has a very unique perspective on the idea behind money, although the reader must think abstractly to really make sense of the parallels between metaphor, language and the concept of money. I learned a lot about history, philosophy and language (even improving my vocabulary to include words such as “metonymy,” “synecdoche,” and “anagogy,” among others) and how all of these have formed the basis of money as we know it today. I found that the author’s writing often departed from the topic This book has a very unique perspective on the idea behind money, although the reader must think abstractly to really make sense of the parallels between metaphor, language and the concept of money. I learned a lot about history, philosophy and language (even improving my vocabulary to include words such as “metonymy,” “synecdoche,” and “anagogy,” among others) and how all of these have formed the basis of money as we know it today. I found that the author’s writing often departed from the topic at hand through various segues and tangents, which was distracting in a dense book such as this one, but I heartily appreciated his smatterings of sarcastic humour.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan Brunner

    This book’s full title is The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate. A wild romp through mankind’s history with currency. It is how money is about storytelling. The book covers mostly a western story but it is enchanting. It is fun to read for all the references and words I had to look up, like metonymy, catachresis and anagogical. It sort of comes down to money is what we say it is. And by the way, this is not an investment book. However, you might unders This book’s full title is The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate. A wild romp through mankind’s history with currency. It is how money is about storytelling. The book covers mostly a western story but it is enchanting. It is fun to read for all the references and words I had to look up, like metonymy, catachresis and anagogical. It sort of comes down to money is what we say it is. And by the way, this is not an investment book. However, you might understand things like Bitcoin better. It is interesting that the reviews that are on the negative side all come from finance and views on the positive side do not. Just saying. David E. Spiro does a great review of this book on New York Journal of Books. There is a good review also on Kirkus Reviews. Joel Schlesinger at Winnipeg Free Press does a great review. This is the best review as he seems to understand this book better than other reviewers. A talk by Frederick Kaufman called The measure of all Things: Sustainability, is at Ted Talks. Nick Licata interviews Frederick Kaufman at Elliott Bay Book Company. The interview ends at around 35 minutes and then you start to get questions from the audience. It is worthwhile seeing this until the end although it is over an hour. Fred Kaufman is interviewed by Charlotte MacLeod on Investing New Network. This is a shorter (25 minutes) interesting interview and it is interesting as it is an investment approach rather than the approach on Elliot Bay Book Company which approaches the book from the English Literature angle. Fred Kaufman does a presentation for Georgia Center for the Book. The presentation starts at 2:50 minutes and goes to 40 minutes. Then there are questions from the moderator, Joe Davich and questions sent in. This is a good video as Frederick Kaufman talks about the origins of money with illustrations from his computer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Horner

    Reading about the history of money and economics by a talented writer/English professor, Fredrick Kaufman, was thoroughly enjoyable. `He describes "the illusion of money" through primitive beliefs, Greek mythology, Christianity, and the use of algorithms. Apparently The United States has a long history of printing money that is unrelated to tangible asserts and of using debt as capital. He concludes that he hope his readers understand that those who control finance are less scientists and more s Reading about the history of money and economics by a talented writer/English professor, Fredrick Kaufman, was thoroughly enjoyable. `He describes "the illusion of money" through primitive beliefs, Greek mythology, Christianity, and the use of algorithms. Apparently The United States has a long history of printing money that is unrelated to tangible asserts and of using debt as capital. He concludes that he hope his readers understand that those who control finance are less scientists and more shamans, and that if "we cannot decrypt how the 1 percent are controlling and containing the fiction" we run the risk of becoming "other people's money." A concern I've recently heard voiced in many circles especially with the coming attempt to make all money digital and in control of a few.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wally Wood

    This is an interesting time to read about money. It occurred to me as I began Frederick Kaufman's The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate that I have not used actual money—coins and bills—since early March. I've bought stuff—groceries, gas, books, shoes—but paid with a credit card or the click of a mouse. What happened to the money? Where's the money? Kaufman is a New York-based writer, editor, and educator. He teaches at the City University of New York a This is an interesting time to read about money. It occurred to me as I began Frederick Kaufman's The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate that I have not used actual money—coins and bills—since early March. I've bought stuff—groceries, gas, books, shoes—but paid with a credit card or the click of a mouse. What happened to the money? Where's the money? Kaufman is a New York-based writer, editor, and educator. He teaches at the City University of New York and its Graduate School of Journalism, where he serves as a professor of English. He is a contributing editor to Harper's magazine, and frequently writes about food and food culture. Earlier books include A Short History of the American Stomach (2008) and Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food (2012). He acknowledges that the book's origin came out of a pitch meeting to his agent. Money is not a natural subject for an English professor with a background in food culture, and I had a sense at times that Kaufman was straining to make his research connect intelligibly with his thesis. Worse, it was not clear to me what exactly the money plot is, which, I admit, may well be a reflection of my own ignorance. He does try to explain: "The symbols engraved upon the dollar [bill] . . . are allegorical. For not only is allegory germane to the earliest forms of money, but to the nature of modern finance. And the same can be said for its plot." An allegory's plot does not drive the story to a solution; in an allegory there is no goal, no solution. "The stubborn lack of resolution to the plot has defined the challenge posed by modern money." What is money? It's whatever we agree it is. If we don't agree that shells, beads, Redbacks (Republic of Texas dollars), cigarettes (prison currency), and more and more and more have a value that can be exchanged for groceries, gas, books, shoes, it's not money. Money is an illusion, a metaphor. When I was stationed in Korea and Japan after the war, the US troops were paid in script. Paper nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, dollars, etc. Good at the PX, good at the barber, good at the company club. Twice during my three years overseas, we were confined to quarters and had one day to exchange all our script for a new version. Yesterday's currency was so much colored paper. Why does money, any money, exist? Well, for one thing, it makes it easier to translate something abstract like a service or labor into something tangible like food, beer, and shoes. It is also a way to insure the future and control reality. Money may not buy happiness, but without it, it's difficult to be happy, no matter what Porgy says in the song. The Money Plot is filled with interesting factoids: The first "coins" were shaped ostrich shell . . . the copper in a hundred per-1982 pennies is worth around $2.20 (pennies were debased with zinc in 1982) . . . in 1982 Ronald Reagan signed a law removing interest-rate caps at savings banks and more than 1,500 savings and loan institutions failed in the next ten years. Thales, the Greek philosopher, invented options—a way to risk a small sum to obtain a large one—in 585 BC. Kaufman embeds the factoids in stories about money: The kula rings of Melanesian outriggers. The buying and selling of women. The origin of Bitcoins. The role of gold. Richard Nixon, John Connally and the decision to abandon the gold standard. In 1971 we had roughly $10 billion worth of gold in Fort Knox. Foreign banks held roughly $30 billion gold-backed dollars. The Bank of England asked for $3 billion of its dollars to be converted into gold. If other central banks followed, the US would not only be out of gold, we would be in default and no one knew the effects of that—except that it would be terrible. So we said we're not going to back dollars with gold any more—and the effects were not terrible. Today the dollar "floats." "By describing the illusion of money the light of primitive belief, classical mythology, Christian ethos, and political propaganda," Kaufman concludes, "my hope is that going forward we might no longer be locked into believing cant of financiers, the deceit of free and competitive markets as the essence of economic life. Instead, we might begin to understand that those who control money are less scientist than shaman, seer, storyteller, and soothsayer—those who spun ancient tales about sticks and stones, convincing others of their fiction." It may not answer the question I asked above—Where's the money?—but The Money Plot tells a fascinating story nevertheless.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kate

    A bit of a stodgy read and at times weirdly regressive but nevertheless full of fascinating insights.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim Kohn

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick Blegen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Afaf Finan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hunter

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth Lucas

  15. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Hansen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wallis Chan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  18. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Delaney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chaitanyaa From Teatime Reading

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sheliz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Soliz

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Bulkeley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ruben Pujol

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  26. 5 out of 5

    DW

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

  28. 4 out of 5

    bookster95

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carl Lew

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hogmire

  31. 5 out of 5

    a

  32. 4 out of 5

    Avery Dement

  33. 4 out of 5

    Terry Kuny

  34. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  35. 5 out of 5

    abhinav

  36. 5 out of 5

    Addam Kearney

  37. 4 out of 5

    Amy Newman

  38. 5 out of 5

    Elia

  39. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

  40. 4 out of 5

    Oleg Khomenko

  41. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  42. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Siddall

  43. 4 out of 5

    Reader2007

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kyrillos

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jim Myers

  46. 5 out of 5

    Salil

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  48. 5 out of 5

    Linda Olsson

  49. 5 out of 5

    Clair Emma

  50. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  51. 4 out of 5

    Cristina Mazzocchi

  52. 5 out of 5

    Heather

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.