Friday, 4 December 2015

Money, The Invisible Bind

Money is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious of economic phenomena. It has a deeply contradictory nature the analysis of which calls for much more than economics. Thus dollars, euros and pounds are commonplace things carried in people’s pockets, but also highly complex relations registered in the books of financial institutions. They are able to bind individuals utterly foreign to each other, and equally able to split asunder entire families.

Money is also the most political of economic phenomena. This invisible glue that holds together contemporary economic, social and familial life is produced largely through the economic operations of private banks. And yet, its acceptability depends entirely on the fiat of the state. Modern money rests on the central bank and its policies, and thus comprises an element of the national identity. What would being British be without the pound?

This domestic political force can subdue entire nations when it moves to the world market. The dollar is the backbone of US imperial power. The euro has become the unspoken arbiter of hierarchy among the nations of the European Union, tying entire nations to the fiction of “European-ness”. Could contemporary societies transcend the invisible bind?

  View the presentation file here.