“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
Money. Just saying the word can elicit thoughts of greed, power, and also fear. Nowadays we might think of money as the bills and copper coins in our wallet and the numbers in our bank accounts. But, these forms of ‘money’ are pretty recent inventions. For many centuries across much of the ‘Old World’, silver and gold were used to make transactions, and eventually, widely-accepted silver and gold coins became standards of exchange across kingdoms and territories.
The history of money is one of booms and busts, of special decrees by kings, of deceit and corruption by power elites, of currency unions and breakups, of horrible crises, and of war. But it’s also one of slow, but eventual progress toward systems that have greater benefit for more people across larger geographic areas.
And yet, you can always bet on human folly. Future financial and economic crises will undoubtedly occur again as they have in the past, and the best way to protect yourself from future catastrophes is with knowledge of the past. If you want to have a better shot at living the life you really want to live, it helps to protect yourself against financial and economic calamities and have a good eye for potential opportunities. Without a doubt, knowledge of history can be a powerful weapon in helping you get the most out of your life.
To help us gain a little bit of insight on the past and where we could be heading, we speak with Dr. Roman Zoaral, a senior lecturer at the prestigious Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, one of the oldest universities in the world and the oldest in Central Europe. Dr. Zaoral teaches about the history of money with a focus on the Middle Ages in Central Europe, and on the show today he speaks with us about a time when gold and silver made the world go ’round.
Dr. Zaoral explains the importance of Medieval times to the history of money and how money is used today. We also speak about currency unions and whether or not Dr. Zaoral is optimistic about the European Union, the introduction of decentralized ‘crypto-currencies’ like Bitcoin and if these crypto-currencies will be widely-accepted as a form of ‘money’, and his thoughts on the importance of history and the study of Humanities.
For those interested in money, history, or those wondering what the future of the global financial and economic system might look like based on where we came from, this is one episode to pay attention to.
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Study History – Medieval Gold and Silver – Dr. Roman Zaoral – Highlights:
– Dr. Zaoral’s background and how he became interested in the history of money
– Dr. Zaoral book
– What was the Holy Roman Empire?
– The importance of silver and gold supply in the Middle Ages
– Why were the 12th and 13th centuries important in the history of money?
– Who used silver and who used gold during the Middle Ages?
– The big financial crisis of the 15th century and the debasement of coins
– The economic waves of the Middle Ages and the effects of ‘The Black Death’
– The importance of the discovery of the Americas in the 16th century
– The big divergence between Western and Central/Eastern Europe after the 16th century
– Where does the word ‘dollar’ come from?
– When did we start using paper money?
– Where were the first ancient banks and the first ‘modern’ banks?
– Why were metal coins the most advantageous forms of currency?
– What are Dr. Zoaral’s thoughts about the future of money and economies?
– Dr. Zaoral’s thoughts on cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, and our current system
– What are the advantages and challenges found with currency unions
– Is Dr. Zoaral optimistic about the future of the European Union?
– Do gold and other precious metals play a role today and will they in the future?
– Why is it important to study the history of money and finance?
– Dr. Zoaral’s thoughts on why it’s important to study the Humanities
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