Consider the $20 bill. It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth $20?
In the third volume of his best-selling Naked series, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking. The search for an answer triggers countless other questions along the way: Why does paper money (fiat currency, if you want to be fancy) even exist? And why do some nations, like Zimbabwe in the 1990s, print so much of it that it becomes more valuable as toilet paper than as currency? How do central banks use the power of money creation to stop financial crises? Why does most of Europe share a common currency, and why has that arrangement caused so much trouble? And will payment apps, bitcoin, or other new technologies render all of this moot?
In Naked Money, Wheelan tackles all of the above and more, showing us how our banking and monetary systems should work in ideal situations and revealing the havoc and suffering caused in real situations by inflation, deflation, illiquidity, and other monetary effects. Throughout, Wheelan's uniquely bright-eyed, whimsical style brings levity and clarity to a subject often devoid of both. With illuminating stories from Argentina, Zimbabwe, North Korea, America, China, and elsewhere around the globe, Wheelan demystifies the curious world behind the paper in our wallets and the digits in our bank accounts.
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Brilliant, Witty, Easy to Understand, & Well Read!
Without reservation, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about, or talk intelligently about, the federal reserve, monetary and fiscal policy, or even the gold standard.
Wheelen has an excellent understanding of the topic and writes about it in a fun and approachable way, making it enjoyable and easy to understand and without talking down to the reader or leaving out "it's too hard for most to understand" information. He also does a great job explaining complex and difficult ideas simply and elegantly, using multiple examples and coming at them from different perspectives.
Jonathan Davis is an EXCELLENT narrator!.One of the very best.
Central banks have a real purpose in the world's monetary system. If not the best, it is certainly one of the best economic books I have ever read.
- Ken Beller
Now I understand how money works