Pocket change—mountains of it can shape or re-shape society, politics, and most certainly the economy. The rise and fall of governments, democracies, and tyrannies are all too often at the mercy of the ebb and flow of plain, hard cash. Currencies today are very much the defining feature of nations, individually and collectively. A flailing and fragmented Europe seeks to hang together—retain its global reach—on the strength of a single currency that has taken on a life or near-death of its own, its very existence becoming an end in itself. Across Africa and Asia, the Americas north and south, continents and peoples are all too often held hostage by forces unleashed in the name of money. It is this kaleidoscope of silver, gold, and paper, often in the magnitude of tsunamis, that we set out to explore in the Summer issue...

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