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Money and Society

Money and Society

A Critical Companion

Axel T Paul

Series: IIPPE

An introduction to the sociology of money, foregrounding how money embodies social relations

This is a comprehensive, critical introduction to the sociology of money, covering many currently taught topics, from the origins of money to its function today. Though our coins, bank notes and electronic tokens do function as means of exchange, money is in fact a social, intangible institution. This book argues that money does indeed rule the world.

Exploring the unlikely origins of money in early societies and amidst the first civilisations, the book moves onto its inherent liaison with finance, including the logic of financial markets. Turning to the contemporary politics of money, monetary experiments and reform initiatives such as Bitcoin and positive money, it finally reveals the essentially monetary constitution of modern society itself.

Through criticising the simplistic exchange paradigm of standard economics and rational choice theory, it argues instead that money matters because it embodies social relations.

Axel T. Paul, is Professor of Sociology at the University Basel, Switzerland. He has written extensively on the topics of economic sociology, historical sociology and the sociology of violence.

'An extremely knowledgeable account of existing theories of money' - Jens Beckert, author of Imagined 'Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics' (Harvard University Press, 2016)

'A well-argued exploration of the history and nature of money ... Thorough and comprehensive' - Mary Mellor, author of Money: Myths , Truths and Alternatives (Policy Press, 2019)

Part I: Economic Theories of Money - and Their Critiques
1. Barter, Trade and Money
2. Objective versus Subjective Theories of Value
3. The Improbability of Exchange
Part II: The Birth of Money
4. Gift-Exchanging and Ceremonial Monies
5. Money and (the End of) Violence
6. Economies of Sacrifice
7. Secrets of the Coin
III. Money and Finance
8. Time and Money
9. The Logic of Financial Markets
Part IV: The Politics of Money
10. The Fundamental Problems with Contemporary Money
11. Private Monies, or Bitcoin
12. Sovereign Money
13. Central Bank Independence and the Inescapable Politics of Money
Part V. Money and Society
14. Alienation and Freedom
15. Money and Functional Differentiation
Published by Pluto Press in Nov 2020
Paperback ISBN: 9780745341965
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745341958
eBook ISBN: 9781786807120

176 pages

135mm x 215mm