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David Cay Johnston, who uncovered Chief Gates’ spy operation, podcasts on the ancient beginnings of the economy

(Photo: Bags of coins are emptied into a tub that sorts out bad or foreign coins". Photograph dated: Oct. 15, 1989. Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess/LAPL/Herald-Exminer collection.)

Maybe you listened to my special with journalist David Cay Johnston, explaining how former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates prevented scrutiny of the LAPD by spying on those who would do the scrutinizing … as well as any other groups he deemed a threat.

But Johnston’s day job is teaching the law of the ancient world at Syracuse University, and, with station WXXI, he’s doing a bi-weekly series of podcasts called "How Did We Get Here?," which looks at the roots of our economy -- like the origins of the idea of democracy, humankind's relationship with money, the invention of coins as currency, and the origins of the concept of interest. It’s good stuff – smartly and concisely explained. Check them out there, or here.

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