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Thursday, January 12, 2006


"On the Origin of Money" by Carl Menger

Via: Marginal Revolution: Carl Menger on-line

"On the Origin of Money" by Carl Menger is is an interesting meditation on the nature of commodity currency, circa 1892.

I assume that it is considered a classic of marginalist thought, based on the fact that Tyler Cowen thought it was worth mentioning, and Mises.org thought it was worth publishing. My guess is that economists like it because it introduces the idea of "saleability". Egalitarians may be interested in its description of the situation arising from "compulsory sales".

It can be read as a "just so" story explaining how free markets would give rise to modern economic institutions, or it can be read a bit of advice for anyone seeking to create an alternative money system.

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