Money and the Development of Human Society: From Barter to Bitcoin | Mark Thornton



Presented at “Sound Money”: a seminar for High School and College students covering the topic of money—where it comes from, what governments do to it, and where it’s going in the future….


  1. “I would proffer that human society is extremely primitive and vastly
    underdevoloped, primarily because of things like money and war. ‘The world
    we live in exists because we have money’? That is the problem!”

    Money isn’t the problem. Corrupt, dishonest money is the problem. Sound,
    honest money, like Bitcoin, is the solution.

  2. “…how money has become important for the development of human society”? I
    would proffer that human society is extremely primitive and vastly
    underdevoloped, primarily because of things like money and war. “The world
    we live in exists because we have money”? That is the problem!

  3. I enjoyed it and shared but condensing enough of the story and relevant
    details to paint a clear picture down to thirty minutes seems like an
    almost impossible task .
    I really appreciate everything you guy’s do at the Mises institute . 

  4. This is the worst talk I’ve ever heard in the whole world. This guy need to
    edit his speech. We don’t need to know about the history of barter buddy.
    You can give us a summary. Are you really that knowledgeable about
    currency. Do you know that in between we had the dollar? And the euro and
    the pound and petro dollar. How do u jump from barter to bitcoin

  5. Hey, Mark. I love your speeches, and the Austrian school, but you’ve gotten
    something wrong from a historical, anthropological perspective.
    Much of the data we have indicates that humans were incredibly well fed
    during the hunter-gatherer period, usually around 6′ tall. The ‘stability’
    theory of settlement is largely debunked. Hunter-gatherer bands followed
    the seasons, and had (still do) incredible memory and experience which
    guides them to food as they go along.
    When we settled down (first evidence in Turkey), we became pygmies, around
    4′, hoveled in houses where the only entrance was a hole in the roof and a
    Personally, I’m fond of the ‘alcohol’ theory. It naturally releases stress,
    and once we discovered we could have it all the time we forsook one thing
    for the other.
    Regardless, I’m sure money still had the most profound effect on human
    advancement, just not in the way of finally converting us to an
    agricultural society.

  6. Decentralized peer-to-peer worldwide distributed open source
    cryptographically secured math based-trustless blockchain technology is the
    way to empower the people and bypass banks and all centralized financial
    institutions, the path to reset the control from the few to the many, is
    the future for everything. The potential implications of the development of
    distributed consensus technologies is revolutionary. It is very safe, since
    is cryptographically secured by a distributed global mathematical algorithm
    and public decentralized open source ledger, a revolutionary disruptive
    technology called ‘Blockchain’.

    This could be the future of money for everything, from donations,
    micropayments, money transfers, online shopping and bill payments, etc.

    Empowering and welcoming to the game to billions of unbanked people. And
    the blockchain peer-to-peer open source decentralized secure technology
    will be used for many more applications, like escrow, contracts, voting,
    global ledger, etc.

    Bitcoin is backed by mathematics, open source code, cryptography and the
    most powerful and secure decentralized distributed computational network on
    the planet, orders of magnitude more powerful than google and government
    combined. There is a limit of 21 million bitcoins (divisible in smaller
    units). Dollars are not backed by gold anymore since long time ago, they
    are printed by the trillions out of nothing by the private institution
    called “Federal” Reserve.

    Receive and transfer money, from cents (micropayments) to thousands:
    Almost for free (a few cents fee).
    Privacy (no need to expose personal information)
    Securely (encrypted cryptographically)
    Instantly (from seconds to a few minutes)
    Open source (auditable by anybody)
    Worldwide (from anywhere to anywhere on the planet).
    Peer-to-peer (no intermediaries with a cut)
    Public ledger (transparent, seen by everybody)
    Decentralized (distributed with no single point of failure)
    No chargebacks-No fraud (‘push’ vs’ ‘pull’ transactions).

  7. Still listening but so far this introduction is amazing Jeff! Thank you
    very much for all the incredible work you’re doing. This focus on the
    classic texts is incredibly important. Trendiness kills culture almost as
    fast as government intervention.

    LOL Mark totally love your dry delivery style: just gonna talk for a few
    minutes cos we’re only covering the Stone Age to the present ^_^