|Washington Inspecting the First Money Coined by the United States|
This essay summarizes the case for considering money as a legal institution. The Western liberal tradition, represented here by John Locke’s iconic account of money, describes money as an item that emerged from barter before the state existed. Considered as an historical practice, money is instead a method of representing and moving resources within a group. It is a way of entailing or fixing material value in a standard that gains currency because of its unique character. As the second half of the essay details, the relationships that make money work are matters of governance carried out in law.