Money has been introduced by convention as a kind of substitute for a need or demand, and this is why we call it money (nomisma), because its value is derived not from nature but from convention (nomos) and can be altered or abolished at will.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Inflation has been the ‘friend’ of all major wars and crises throughout human history, most recently from 1920s’ Germany to the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. But inflation does not belong to modern history. It occurs whenever a medium of payment becomes too abundant. Inflation is as old as money itself, and indeed is older than coinage since monetization started well before the first coin was struck. Miscellaneous pieces of cut silver and bronze were used for a variety of monetary payments or measurements in ancient Eurasia, alongside other materials or goods such as cowries in most of Asia, Africa, Pre Columbian America and the Pacific Ocean area.
Exploring the history of inflation from ancient Lydia to modern Zimbabwe will demonstrate its intimate entanglement with the world of political economy. In theory, limiting the supply of money should keep inflation under control. Practically, such goal was seldom achieved under the recurring situations of crises that shaped past and present societies as inflation effortlessly provides the means to run wars, externals or internals.
We will travel through space and time to encounter the forms of inflation experienced by the Greeks, Romans, Africans, Chinese, medieval to modern Europeans and finally the contemporary world. This journey will challenge commonly accepted concepts of money, value and wealth.
Event is open to the public