"economics is not a science" (182);Dostoevsky shows that "the end of economics" is "the world reduced to ascorching slum, its women to whores, itsmen to murderers" (183).
Ch. 8: Death in Dean St.
Romanticismrepresents a homesickness for avanished world, but [t]ourism is theRomantic excursion at retail" (190); "thesensation of beauty cannot survive in theage of money: for any beauty must beexploited . . . The sole aestheticsensation of modernity is nausea:permanent, lethal nausea" (191; 184-92).Marx saw the world created by money asa phantasmagoria that must be broken(192-202). Freud (202-03). Balzac andBaudelaire (204-07). But "poetry, theperfection of language, has a specialquality, which is this: it is beyond moneyand all its entanglements. It costsnothing to write or read and remember,belongs to everybody, can't be sold andlasts for ever" (207).
Ch. 9: The Sheet of Glass.
Familyhistory: how the life of John Buchan(1811-1883), the author's great-great-grandfather, was ruined in the 1878failure of the City of Glasgow Bank, andhow this ruin affected his descendants,especially his famous grandfather, JohnBuchan (1875-1940) (208-19).
Ch. 10: Mississippi Dreaming:Reprise.
Henry Adams, who sawAmerica dominated not so much bymoney as by the pursuit of money: "TheAmerican mind had less respect formoney than the European or Asiaticmind, and bore its loss more easily; but ithad been deflected by its pursuit till itcould turn in no other direction" (223,from
The Education of Henry Adams
;220-24). New York City, whose bustle isentirely "for money" (226; 224-28). Lawand money are fundamental categoriesby which Americans "arrange theirreality"; they delight in credit and do notbuild to last (228-39). Americans arecredulous in their belief that "money[and markets] conveys knowledge"; infact, "markets condense not knowledgebut desire" (239-43).
Ch. 11: The Sinews of War.
Moneyreplaces violence in human affairs, butby a sort of reflux "is itself the chief object of violence" (244-45). Money isthe sinews of war (
Pecunia nervi belli
)but often leads to hyperinflation and ruin,as happened to Great Britain (245-52).Hitler financed the Third Reich by meansof "a great money fraud" that enabledGermans to work at "destroyingthemselves" (256; 252-56). The moneyof Theresienstadt (256-60). Fear of aEuropean Central Bank; "Thecontinentals misunderstood the nature of money" (261-67).
Ch. 12: Money: A Valediction.
Summary of the book's argument (268-72). John Maynard Keynes (272-76).Pace Keynes, money cannot disappear:"Money expresses man's permanentdissatisfaction, which is the spring of hisactivity, his achievements, and hisprofound unhappiness. Like desire itself,money is destroyed only to be reborn"(277). But money is "a great destroyer"(278) and its "compulsory nature" mustbe broken lest we be at "permanent warwith nature and one another" (280).Only non-monetary values—religion,beauty, honor, charity, virtue—can dothis (280-82).
About the Author.
covered the Middle East ("longresidences on the Arabian Peninsula andin Iran" ), Europe, and the U.S. ("inthe 1980s" ) for ten years for the
of London, and haswritten several novels, one of which wonthe Whitbread First Novel Award (
AParish of Rich Women