Menger's theory of the origin of money

It is really just an elaboration of the first two pages of chapter 4 of The Wealth of Nations, isn't it?


  1. Graeber thinks he blew up both of them, so perhaps so.

    1. Correction: Graeber reports the findings of over 100 years of anthropology and history, which show that the Mengerian theory is not a universal theory of the origin of money, and that money can emerge by other processes.

      If people bothered to read Graeber's book, right on p. 75 he acknowledges that barter between strangers, especially, in long distance trade, probably produced the cacao money of Mesoamerica and the salt money of Ethiopia, basically as the Mengerian theory predicts.

      But plenty of other societies seem to have developed money by other means, e.g., ancient Mesopotamian temples developed a silver unit of account based on its role as a weight measure and assigning a certain silver weight a value equal to the monthly grain ration paid to temple workers.