“The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World” by N. Ferguson

The book The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson explores the rise of money, its development and progress, and how it has been used in society in facilitating transactions in trade and commerce. In fact, the main argument of the author lies within the growth, development, and importance of money as a tool of the trade. From the key tenets of the book, it is evident that the historical nexus between globalization, warfare, diplomacy, and money are the main subthemes addressed by the author. The succinctness of this book lies in the critical analysis and emphasis of the financial history of money in spite of the fact it has impeded some important functions of the global economy. Notably, the beginning of Ferguson’s book in chapter one is highly captivating and creates a desire to read even more. In the entire chapter, the author brings out important supporting references and arguments from other pieces of literature. External materials obviously solidify the author’s assertions alongside defining the need for further exploration. In particular, Ferguson employs other supportive arguments and assertions from other authors to explain the origin, growth, and major achievements of hedge funds. In addition, the current position of this type of fund in the global market alongside its relevance has been expounded by the author.

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From the outset, Niall Ferguson effectively designs his introduction by capturing the genesis of money as a tool of the trade. The skill definitely captivates the attention of readers and adequately informs the audience about the historical transformation of money in transactions. From the introduction, the reader is in a position to point out the main aim of the publication, the type of research that was carried out, and the possible conclusions or deductions. Furthermore, the author uses topic sentences to introduce the main ideas for each section. This adequately prepares the reader for the ideas or contents advanced in each section. In other words, initial paragraphs are introductory and largely expound on the authors’ propositions while supporting the same with the relevant literature.

The author also uses a number of examples to show the rise of finance. For example, the emergence of the insurance industry and the desire to secure loans from financial institutions are major examples of how financial development has transformed global economies. For some decades now, scholars in finance management have come to an agreement regarding the important role that money plays in facilitating trade, economic progress, and the development of the whole society. It is against this backdrop that Neil creates a critical interlink between history, ascent, and current financial progress as well as the contribution of money in economic growth. The use of the terms such as bread, cash, and dosh in the book is crucial, bearing in mind that they depict specific periods in the history of money. Other dominant terms that appear throughout the book include dough, lucre, loot, and moolah. The latter terminology came into existence during the initial depression years in the developed world. In addition, the financial terms have been employed by the author in order to create the elements of history and relevance in the centrality of finance.

The book also relates and borrows a lot of ideas from the masterful series The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski. Ferguson explores the psychoses, weaknesses, and values of money in the financial market. He seeks to explore the moderating aspects that define the relationship between money and current trade as well as societal progress in order to determine the ultimate efficiency of money in facilitating trading activities. Indeed, the aforementioned “mirror of mankind” positioning of financial markets takes the ideas presented by the author of this book. Ferguson considers other aspects of the relentless progress of money experienced in today’s Icelandic bank savers and HBOS shareholders.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that this book is perhaps one of the best benchmarks that can be used to understand the growth and development of money as a viable tool in trade. It points out the dependence on money by world economies and the ever-growing financial architecture. For instance, Ferguson states that the hedge funds in the year 2000 stood at 3,873 billion dollars with assets worth $490. These figures grew in 2008 to 7,601 billion dollars with assets worth $ 1.9 trillion. Its holistic outset can be reflected from the following major considerations. First, the author appreciates the existing progress facilitated by money over the years and further analyzes the challenges in the financial markets.

Second, Ferguson derives a highly applicable financial management model as the solution to various issues with typical bravado related to the thesis by Borowski. As a third consideration, this model appreciates the critical role that all stakeholders such as shareholders, private entities, and governments must play in overcoming the long-existing uncertainties of embracing recycling. However, it is the emphasis of the government’s centrality in steering the whole shift alongside the step-by-step strategic orientation. The latter augments trust in the proposed model.

This book’s key strengths lie in presentation mode and succinctness of different ideologies related to the emergence and rise of money across the world. From the beginning, the introduction is quite holistic and therefore offers the necessary insights into the rest of the issues discussed in the preceding chapters of the book. Besides, it further presents key historical progress in the ascent of money. In addition, it deeply explores the progress made by money over the years using underlying theories that expound on its origin and current position in society. It is notable that the availed cases have been intrinsically analyzed by the author to facilitate a greater understanding of the logic behind the adoption and wide usage of money in trading operations. It is worth highlighting that the style employed in the book is highly particularistic and simplified and does not necessarily lead to the loss of key underlying concepts.

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From the text, it is vividly evident that the book lacks some necessary references that can inquire about the relevance and input of history/ this omission compels a keen reader to question the reverential panorama. However, some sections of the book still address and relate neoliberal capitalism and the aspect of money. In addition, the description mode adopted by the author when investigating money, the rise of money does not fully address the ‘zero-sum game’ and its losers. Nonetheless, Ferguson clearly evaluates the existing literature in deriving and supporting his hypothesis. The issue of owning property even after being purchased by money does not provide the much-needed security because some insurance firms may fail to fully restore an individual’s financial status even after the occurrence of a risk.

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