Money Changes Everything by William N. Goetzmann
How Finance Made Civilization Possible

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Thankfully, Goetzmann does not appear to be motivated to live up to the hyperbolic title. This is a work of measured claims and meticulous research with a focus on finance as a “co-factor” in the advance of moral and material progress.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

“[A] magnificent history of money and finance.”--New York Times Book Review

“Convincingly makes the case that finance is a change-maker of change-makers.”--Financial Times

In the aftermath of recent financial crises, it's easy to see finance as a wrecking ball: something that destroys fortunes and jobs, and undermines governments and banks. In Money Changes Everything, leading financial historian William Goetzmann argues the exact opposite—that the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible. Goetzmann explains that finance is a time machine, a technology that allows us to move value forward and backward through time; and that this innovation has changed the very way we think about and plan for the future. He shows how finance was present at key moments in history: driving the invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia, spurring the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome to become great empires, determining the rise and fall of dynasties in imperial China, and underwriting the trade expeditions that led Europeans to the New World. He also demonstrates how the apparatus we associate with a modern economy—stock markets, lines of credit, complex financial products, and international trade—were repeatedly developed, forgotten, and reinvented over the course of human history.

Exploring the critical role of finance over the millennia, and around the world, Goetzmann details how wondrous financial technologies and institutions—money, bonds, banks, corporations, and more—have helped urban centers to expand and cultures to flourish. And it's not done reshaping our lives, as Goetzmann considers the challenges we face in the future, such as how to use the power of finance to care for an aging and expanding population.

Money Changes Everything presents a fascinating look into the way that finance has steered the course of history.

 

About William N. Goetzmann

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Robert Ibbotson is an expert on capital market returns, cost of capital, and international investing. A member of the Yale School of Management faculty since 1986, he joined Yale from the University of Chicago, where he served as the director of the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP). He is Chairman and Founder of Ibbotson Associates in Chicago, New York, and Tokyo, which provides asset allocation advice, consulting, software, data, and financial publishing for financial institutions and investment advisors. He is also a Partner in Zebra Capital Management, LLC, which manages hedge funds. Professor Ibbotson is the author of numerous books and articles, including the annual Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation Yearbook. Will Goetzmann is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies at the Yale School of Management and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He currently serves as the Director of the International Center for Finance at Yale, an interdisciplinary research organization focused on sponsoring and diseminating academic research in finance. He has taught at the Yale School of Management since 1994 and previously taught at Columbia Business School. He holds a B.A., an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. from Yale. An expert on a diverse range of investments, Will Goetzmann's research topics include the behavior of individual investors, global investing, financial market history, hedge funds, mutual funds, real estate, and art as an investment. Robert Ibbotson is an expert on capital market returns, cost of capital, and international investing. A member of the Yale School of Management faculty since 1986, he joined Yale from the University of Chicago, where he served as the director of the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP). He is Chairman and Founder of Ibbotson Associates in Chicago, New York, and Tokyo, which provides asset allocation advice, consulting, software, data, and financial publishing for financial institutions and investment advisors. He is also a Partner in Zebra Capital Management, LLC, which manages hedge funds. Professor Ibbotson is the author of numerous books and articles, including the annual Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation Yearbook. Will Goetzmann is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies at the Yale School of Management and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He currently serves as the Director of the International Center for Finance at Yale, an interdisciplinary research organization focused on sponsoring and diseminating academic research in finance. He has taught at the Yale School of Management since 1994 and previously taught at Columbia Business School. He holds a B.A., an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. from Yale. An expert on a diverse range of investments, Will Goetzmann's research topics include the behavior of individual investors, global investing, financial market history, hedge funds, mutual funds, real estate, and art as an investment.
 
Published April 12, 2016 by Princeton University Press. 588 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Money Changes Everything
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 11 2016

For the numerate and fiscally wonky, an accessible survey that does a fine job of reallocating past, present, and future.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Felix Martin on Jun 24 2016

It is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated...There is one aspect of it, however, where both historical evidence and contemporary experience make me less comfortable with Goetzmann’s story.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Pietra Rivoli on May 12 2016

Goetzmann’s careful, brick-by-brick approach to financial history convincingly makes the case that finance is a change-maker of change-makers...

Read Full Review of Money Changes Everything: How... | See more reviews from Financial Times

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Pietra Rivoli on May 12 2016

Thankfully, Goetzmann does not appear to be motivated to live up to the hyperbolic title. This is a work of measured claims and meticulous research with a focus on finance as a “co-factor” in the advance of moral and material progress.

Read Full Review of Money Changes Everything: How... | See more reviews from Financial Times

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