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Civilizing Money

Civilizing Money

Hume, his Monetary Project, and the Scottish Enlightenment

by George Caffentzis

Foreword by Peter Linebaugh

An engaging and unique study of Enlightenment philosopher David Hume's understanding of money and his role in the rise of capitalism

'Capitalist critique and proletarian reasoning fit for our time' - Peter Linebaugh

Taking the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume as its subject, this book breaks new ground in focusing its lens on a little-studied aspect of Hume's thinking: his understanding of money.

George Caffentzis makes both an intervention in the field of monetary philosophy and into Marxian conceptions of the relation between philosophy and capitalist development. He vividly charts the ways in which Hume's philosophy directly informed the project of 'civilizing' the people of the Scottish Highlands and pacifying the English proletariat in response to the revolts of both groups at the heart of the empire.

Built on careful historical and philosophical detective work, Civilizing Money offers a stimulating and radical political reading of the ways in which Hume's fundamental philosophical claims performed concrete political functions.

George Caffentzis is a co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa (CAFA). Caffentzis was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine for over thirty years before retirement. He is the author of Clipped Coins, Abused Words, and Civil Government and Civilizing Money.

'Caffentzis has been the philosopher of the anticapitalist movement from the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. A historian of our own times, he carries the political wisdom of the twentieth century into the twenty-first. Here is capitalist critique and proletarian reasoning fit for our time'

- Peter Linebaugh, author of 'The Magna Carta Manifesto' (University of California Press, 2008)

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Foreword
An Autobiographical Preface
Introduction: Who is a Philosopher of Money?
PART I: HUME AND HIS CLASS'S PROBLEMATIC
1. On the Scottish Origins of Civilization
2. Civilizing the Highlands: Hume, Money and the Annexing Act
3. Hume’s Monetary Education in Bristol
PART II: HUME'S PHILOSOPHY AND HIS STRATEGY
4. Why was Hume a Metallist?
5. Did Hume read Berkeley’s The Querist? Notions and Conventions in their Philosophies of Money
6. Fiction or Counterfeit? Specie or Paper?
7. Wages and Money: Pegasus’ Mirror
Conclusion: Locke, Berkeley and Hume as Philosophers of Money
Coda: A Critique of Marx’s Thesis 11 on Feuerbach
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Published by Pluto Press in Jul 2021
Paperback ISBN: 9780745341521
eBook ISBN: 9781786806819

288 pages

135mm x 215mm