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What is money, and how does it work? In this tour de force of political, cultural, and economic history, Felix Martin challenges nothing less than our conventional understanding of one of the humankind’s greatest inventions. Martin describes how the Western idea of money emerged in the ancient world and was shaped over the centuries by tensions between sovereigns and the emerging middle classes. Money, he argues, has always been an intensely political instrument, and that it is our failure to remember this that led to the crisis in our financial system and the Great Recession