My TLS review of Frederick Taylor and Felix Martin

The Frederick Taylor book is The Downfall of Money: Germany’s hyperinflation and the destruction of the middle class, and Martin’s is Money: The Unauthorised Biography.

On Taylor I wrote:

It’s about time we heard the classic Weimar hyperinflation story from the side of governance, just as it is indeed illuminating to reread Hamlet while omitting the parts about the Prince.

Taylor has oddly little on monetary policy in his book, even though he clearly understands the core issues.  On Martin’s book I wrote:

Like Taylor’s work, this is an excellent book to read, full of interesting history and insight, and very clear and well written.  It is an overview of the history of money, and thought about money, yet through a more philosophical lens than is usually the case.  It is not clear, however, if the central thesis of the book is either correct or relevant.

Martin tends to trace financial crises to the defects in underlying philosophies of money, such as whether money is viewed as a thing or as a sign.  I also wrote this about the book:

Yet, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a financial crisis is just a financial crisis.

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