Frederick Kaufman discusses The Money Plot
December 1, 2020, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Join us for an evening with writer Frederick Kaufman as he discusses his new book, The Money Plot. Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us. This virtual event is free and open to the public, but you must register on Eventbrite here to receive the link to the Zoom webinar. In The Money Plot: A History of Currency’s Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate, Kaufman reminds us that whether its form is polished shells, bills or Bitcoin, every currency, even Federally mandated trillions, is all a fiction. Currency is simply a fairy tale, a metaphor that humans have believed in and worshipped more than anything else on Earth. Today, where most money exists in a complex yet poorly understood web of computer screen abstraction–but one that’s capable of causing a global meltdown (or two)–this metaphor is wearing thin. Kaufman delightfully dives right into the politically incorrect and the absurd, examining the concept of the trophy wife and the broader, unfortunate history of women being used as bartering tools. He sees parallels between the history of Jesus and his followers and that of currency, concluding that people believe in both using the same structural elements of belief. Kaufman points out that during the Black Death, the biggest lender of the time was the Catholic Church, who intertwined money with God, encouraging worshippers to donate to the clergy to become closer to God. Referencing everything from Bachelier’s The Theory of Speculation and Sir Isaac Newton to Kim Kardashian’s Instagram account and the Planet of the Apes movies, Kaufman brilliantly traces how humans’ uncanny ability to turn objects into mental constructs–creating the fiction of money–has shaped every part of history, invaded every narrative, and influenced anyone who has ever been in charge. Frederick Kaufman, an English professor by training and profession, has for the past decade focused his attention on the fiction that is money. His unorthodox insights into the ways of Wall Street have resulted in numerous magazine articles for publications ranging from Scientific American to Wired to Foreign Policy to Harper’s, as well as television appearances on NBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business Network, and Democracy Now!, and invitations to lecture in both the United States and Europe, including an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations. This is his fourth book.