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The Changing Face of Money

Christopher M. Bruner

Washington and Lee University - School of Law

Review of Banking and Financial Law, Vol. 30, p. 383, 2010-2011
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2011-7

In this essay I argue that widespread failure to comprehend the intrinsic nature of modern money loomed large in the recent financial and economic crisis, and that broader comprehension of its meaning is a precondition for effective post-crisis reforms. First, I provide a brief history of money, emphasizing its gradual divergence from inherent value. I then consider the value of today's dollar in economic, legal, and psychological terms, arguing that each perspective conveys a single over-arching lesson - that better comprehending our money requires better comprehending ourselves. The introspection that this exercise demands reveals with unique clarity some of the critical lessons of the crisis and its aftermath.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: US dollar, Federal Reserve notes, Federal Reserve System, monetary policy, money supply, quantitative easing, national debt

JEL Classification: A14, E51, E52, G21, H63, K39, N20

Accepted Paper Series

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Date posted: March 9, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Bruner, Christopher M., The Changing Face of Money. Review of Banking and Financial Law, Vol. 30, p. 383, 2010-2011; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2011-7. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1781005

Contact Information

Christopher M. Bruner (Contact Author)
Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
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