Associative Financial Literacy

Accompanying the journey of life

The History of Money and Bookkeeping


Understanding the history of money and bookkeeping allows you to see what money really is (or ought to be) today: A means of perceiving and organising economic life together with others on an associative basis. 

Money is everywhere. At the same time, it seems to be gradually disappearing. Due to the developments of recent years we need ever fewer notes and coins. Not only do we receive our income directly into our bank account, but we also increasingly pay bills by electronic transfer when we do our daily shopping. In this process, no coins and notes are exchanged for goods and services. All that remains are numbers. Bookkeeping.

Some historians and economists see this as “the end of money”, but while its form may change, money can never in fact disappear. In reality, money today is simply coming closer to what it always has been – bookkeeping. We will soon be living in an economy where cash stops circulating and only the figures in our accounts will reflect the economic process.

‘Associative’ means not only being mindful of responsible husbanding and use of natural resources and of economic behaviour wider than mere self-interest, but also what lies in our will as intentions and the way they manifest. It is this, at root, that accounting perceives when not focused on profit maximisation and tax minimisation.

Related Publications:

Awakening to global Book-keeping
Marc Desaules (1998/posted 2018)
Available in English and German.

Money as Bookkeeping
Fionn Meier (2018)
Available in EnglishGermanPortuguese.

More material under Resources and Publications.


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This website is the responsibility of Fionn Meier, Switzerland, a colleague within the Economics Conference of the Goetheanum.

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