Dror Goldberg

Apr 9, 2023

Easy Money

American Puritans and the Invention of Modern Currency

University of Chicago Press 2023

Economists endlessly debate the nature of legal tender monetary systems--coins and bills issued by a government or other authority. Yet the origins of these currencies have received little attention.

Dror Goldberg tells the story of modern money in North America through the Massachusetts colony during the seventeenth century. As the young settlement transitioned to self-governance and its economy grew, the need to formalize a smooth exchange emerged. Printing local money followed.

Easy Money: American Puritans and the Invention of Modern Currency (U Chicago Press, 2023) illustrates how colonists invented contemporary currency by shifting its foundation from intrinsically valuable goods--such as silver--to the taxation of the state. Goldberg traces how this structure grew into a worldwide system in which, monetarily, we are all Massachusetts. Weaving economics, law, and American history, Easy Money is a new touchstone in the story of monetary systems.

Dror Goldberg is a senior faculty member in the Department of Management and Economics at the Open University of Israel. He holds a Ph.D in economics from the University of Rochester and a law degree from Tel Aviv University. Dror studies the theory, history, and law of money, especially of legal tender currency. His work was published in the Journal of Economic History, Journal of Monetary Economics, Economic Theory, and the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, among others. He is the author of Easy Money: American Puritans and the Invention of Modern Currency, published by the University of Chicago Press in March 2023, which just reached no. 1 on Amazon for new books in monetary economics. Other reviews include the Wall Street Journal's "Bookshelf" here.

You can follow Dr Golberg in Twitter as @DrorGoldberg

Bernardo Batiz-Lazo is currently straddling between Newcastle and Mexico City. You can find him on twitter on issues related to business history of banking, fintech, payments and other musings. Not always in that order. @BatizLazo

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Bernardo Batiz-Lazo

Bernardo Batiz-Lazo is currently straddling between Newcastle and Mexico City. You can find him on twitter on issues related to business history of banking, fintech, payments and other musings. Not always in that order. @BatizLazo

Learn More