Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: serialised in quotes XVII: We trust money but not each other

When everything is convertible, and when trust depends on anonymous coins and cowry shells, it corrodes local traditions, intimate relations and human values, replacing them with the cold laws of supply and demand.

Money has an even darker side. For although money builds universal trust between strangers, the trust is invested not in humans, communities or sacred values, but in money itself and in the impersonal systems that back it.

As money brings down the dams of community, religion, and state, the world is in danger of becoming one big and heartless marketplace.


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