«does money produce wealth?»

The demise of money

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Cows, shells or precious metals – the means for cultural exchange were created by Mother Nature. Once minted into coins, though, the precious metals had a human touch. This aspect finally became dominant with the introduction of paper money – from now on, people could make their own money. This «dematerialisation», entailing the abandonment of all means of exchange that had an intrinsic value, unsettled early modern monetary theorists. How was monetary stability to be guaranteed? Nowadays the international reserve currency, the US dollar, has replaced precious metals as a yardstick for the purchasing power of other currencies. As for the euro, sceptics have missed no opportunity, right up to its current recovery, to point to its steady fall. They fear that January 1st 2002, the date of the full introduction of the euro, will be seen as the end of any stable European currency

The demise of money