Giorgio Basevi

The International Financial Crisis: an Excursus from Herodotus to Plutarch, with a stop at Goldfinger

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This article is not a traditional scientific work in economics. It was written following the oral discussion of a book - Dionigi I. (ed.), "Il dio denaro", BUR Rizzoli 2010 - that the author made on the occasion of its publication. The author suggests adding a couple of classical writings taken from Herodotus and from Plutarch, to the collection of classical pieces that are discussed in the book by various experts on the classics. The first quotation that the author presents is taken from "The Histories" of Herodotus, and seems particularly interesting for the regulation of financial markets, and the role that its insufficiency played in building up the international financial crisis of 2007-2010. The second quotation is taken from "The Life of Lycurgus", by Plutarch, and is particularly illuminating for another aspect of the current crisis, i.e. the fear that exit from it may need to bring about inflation in order to reduce the burden of recently accumulated stocks of public debt. As for the reference to Goldfinger, the author hopes that it will make the potential reader curious enough to become an actual reader of his paper.


  • international financial crisis
  • silent trade
  • seignorage
  • Herodotus
  • Plutarch
  • Goldfinger


Article first page

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