The Power of Money, A Political-Economic Analysis with Special Emphasis on the American Economic System

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Money is both a vibrant, dynamic material substance and a social force that permeates industrial societies in their entirety. Yet significant aspects of how money works in society are concealed by myths, dogmas, and misperceptions. In The Power of Money Henry Bretton focuses on how money works in a democracy. He contends that the well-being of political democracy depends on a fuller understanding of the centrality of money in politics, and he presents his ideas on monetary policy, corruption and reform, banking and politics, private power within a democracy, money in international relations, and the system-destroying effects of money. Bretton considers the subject of money and democracy in the context of how monetarization of societies proceeded form antiquity to the Industrial Revolution, and he analyzes the formative years of the United States in terms of being based on political ideas that did not take account of monetarization. He reviews what social theorists and economists from Aristotle to Friedman have thought about the role of money in society and how it affects individual behavior and social norms. The link between economics and politics has been only partially explored, he contends, and he sees the major task for social scientists as developing a fuller integration of the two mainstreams of social theory, the political and the economic.

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