The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate, on Zoom | Mechanics' Institute

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The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate, on Zoom
author Frederick Kaufman in conversation with wealth advisor and playwright John Bunzel

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Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street’s byzantine present-day practices. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, and stereotypical metaphors that have long been linked with money and commercial culture, from Melanesian trading rituals to the rationales of Mercantilism and colonial expansion, and the U.S. dollar’s 1971 unpinning from gold. The Money Plot shines a light on the one percent’s efforts to contain a money culture that benefits them within boundaries they themselves are increasingly setting and defining. Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us.

Frederick Kaufman, an English professor by training and profession, has for the past decade focused his attention on the fiction that is money. His unorthodox insights into the ways of Wall Street have resulted in numerous magazine articles for publications ranging from Scientific American to Wired to Foreign Policy to Harper’s, as well as television appearances on NBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business Network, and Democracy Now!, and invitations to lecture in both the United States and Europe, including an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations. (Photo by Anthony Tufaro)

John Bunzel’s critically-acclaimed play Boxing Lessons had its world premiere at the New American Theatre in Hollywood, CA, in April 2019 and was a L.A. Times Critic’s Choice selection. Past productions include 63 Trillion, at the New American Theatre and the West of Lenin Theatre in Seattle, Washington, Death of a Buick, produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Pasadena Playhouse, Expecting Bobby, Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles, Complexity, New American Theatre, 8:30; Men At Work and Schvitz. He received the L.A. Weekly’s Playwrighting Award twice for Delirious (Matrix Theatre, Hollywood) and for Gravity Shoes, Hudson Avenue Theatre, Circus Theatricals, Hollywood. Screenwriter: Born To Be Wild, Warner Brothers. Television writer: STAT; The Wonder Years. Film Executive: The Convent, The Spreading Ground. He graduated with a BFA from The Juilliard School.

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