The Future of Money

In This Review

The Future of Money

By Benjamin J. Cohen
Princeton University Press, 2003
312 pp. $29.95
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Currency is typically associated with the state, but Cohen, a professor of economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, points out that this identification has not always been so strict. In the past, gold and silver coins circulated widely with little importance attached to where they were minted. Cohen surmises that currency in the future will function similarly, as the dollar and the euro become widely accepted and regularly used around the world. This thesis provides a framework for an informative discussion of various currency arrangements, from exclusive reliance on a national currency to bimonetarism to the adoption of a foreign currency as official legal tender, touching on both academic and practical arguments for each. Over time, Cohen believes, the rationale for and management of national currencies will have to contend with increasing competition from foreign currencies and new forms of payment, especially electronic ones.