The Silencing of Money Politics – Jakob Feinig’s Moral Economies of Money

Feinig Jakob - Moral Economies of Money - 2022 - reviews

This compact masterpiece of money (re-) enlightenment speaks crystal clear, not least through the historic voices engaged in money-wise public debates unimaginable today given the massive “disconnect between money creation and public knowledge about it”. Absorbing, refreshing, revelatory and exceedingly readable, “Moral Economies” is highly recommended to money connoisseurs and freshers alike. Perfect for Xmas, as it happens.

Go straight to the book and Feinig’s own succinct summary introductions or keep reading my review notes here.

The “moral” initially intrigued. Is morality trending? A monetary re-interpretation of Adam Smith moral economy?


I have since wised up. Sociological works on morality may have been trending since the 1980’s possibly in tune with a revival of Moral Economy by E.P. Thompson re-developing and re-inventing the term in the 1960’s. The conceptuality traces back to when the economic equilibrium abstracted itself from the political, leaving others to pick up on the social life of homo economicus. Thompson references James Bronterre O’Brien’s use of the term in his 1837 criticism of 19th century political economists:

“True political economy is like a true domestic economy; it does not consist solely in slaving and saving; there is a moral economy as well as political… These quacks would make wreck of the affections, in exchange for incessant production and accumulation… It is indeed the moral economy that they always keep out of sight. When they talk about the tendency of large masses of capital, and the division of labour, to increase production and cheapen commodities, they do not tell us of the inferior human being which a single and fixed occupation must produce.”

James Bronterre O’Brien 1837 wiki

Today wikipedia introduces Moral economy as referring to “economic activities viewed through a moral, not just a material, lens. The definition of moral economy is constantly revisited depending on its usage in differing social, economic, ecological, and geographic situations and times.” Below a critical article on the recent conceptual history by Norbert Götz :

Abstract – This article challenges E.P. Thompson’s definition of ‘moral economy’ as a traditional consensus of crowd rights that were swept away by market forces. Instead, it suggests that the concept has the potential of improving the understanding of modern civil society. Moral economy was a term invented in the eighteenth century to describe many things. Thompson’s approach reflects only a minor part of this conceptual history. His understanding of moral economy is conditioned by a dichotomous view of history and by the acceptance of a model according to which modern economy is not subject to moral concerns. It is on principle problematic to confine a term conjoining two concepts as general as ‘moral’ and ‘economy’ to a specific historical and social setting. Recent approaches that frame moral economy as an emotively defined order of morals are also misleading since they do not address economic issues in the way they are commonly understood. The most promising current approaches appear to be those that consider the moral economy of welfare, humanitarianism, and civil society. The concept of moral economy may help us to clarify alternative ways of ‘utility maximisation’ through the construction of altruistic meaning for economic transactions.

tandfonline.com 2016 ‘Moral economy’: its conceptual history and analytical prospects – by Norbert Götz

In the context of his treatise Feinig calls moral economies of money “… knowledges and practices that enabled people to shape money creation.” Processes that disabled such patterns Feinig calls “monetary silencing”.

bestsellers not selling

Money creation? Silencing? Feinig’s money learning-curve seems to have catapulted him to where others have to wind their disbelieving way: the pivotal powers of money creation, veiled in systemic silence.

academically silenced

Rather than lament the Lost Science of Money, Feinig offers a high-stakes slice of the Social Life of Money through the historic evidence of a Lost Politics of Money.

“…in the eighteenth century, large groups of people understood money creation as a political process in a context in which monetary institutions were intelligible.”

Moral Economies of Money 2022 Jakob Feinig

He lifts the curtain on past power plays over money creation as part of his investigation into how such money-wise political agency disappeared into a naturalising narrative of technical necessities.

veiled philosophies

As refreshing and revelatory as the historic voices are, I am particularly impressed by Feinig’s “silencing”. Finally a sociological concept to grasp the entangled and multifarious effects of the ubiquitous and deeply inscribed practises of obfuscation and ignorance veiling money.

Don’t touch the money system!

Especially money creation. When I first googled it five years ago I felt I’d finally hit the jackpot: it was a front page full of money reformers getting me off ortho economic silencing. Searching money creation remains the quickest route off the dominant narrative but now money creation looks conceptually more contested. The front page of largely non-ortho and realist central bank info now has a sprinkling of the traditional, officially obfuscating pre 2014 ortho economic narrative about fractional banking, savings&loans and intermediating banks accepting depositors’ money to lend it to borrowers blablabla

no one wants to know

“Where does money come from?” does tend to get a mixed reception. It starts with a reluctance to engage and ends with why it is the wrong question, perhaps symptomatic of the pathology of Money Illusion?

extra-ordinarily difficult regression therapy

Not just money teachers will appreciate Feinig’s didactically crisp paragraphs covering a lot of conceptual ground. Hopefully Feinig’s treatise will be followed by many more sociological investigations into money silencing. There sure is a lot to investigate.

To illustrate, here is an exhibit from the ongoing academic silencing wars, a recent article by geographer Andrew Hook who seems to represent a newish generation of social scientists tasked with money topics and unhappy with ortho economic money neutrality. Trained to inspect empirical evidence rather than accept authoritative deductions, it’s perhaps unsurprising that most researchers find themselves drawn to the emerging consensus around the heterodox “Credit theory of Money”.

money creation credit theory of money - A Hook -2022

Despite recent clarifications by central banks that it is indeed commercial banks that are the main creators of the money supply, money creation processes remain as confusing and opaque as ever to many. This article develops a simplified macro-visual diagram of today’s money system based on the increasingly accepted “credit theory” of money creation. It aims to explain not only how money is created and which institutions have the authority to create it; it also aims to discuss the implications of this understanding of money creation for wider issues, such as political sovereignty, inequality, and socio-economic development. Ultimately, it aims to provide a pedagogical resource upon which both technical and normative discussions about our current money system among academics, activists, and students can be based.

tandfonline.comggpage 2022 Examining modern money creation… by Andrew Hook

Just follow the money…


sup.org/ 11-2022 Moral Economies of Money: Politics and the Monetary Constitution of Society – by Jakob Feinig

part of sup series: currencies: new thinking for financial timesMonetary theoryMonetary historySociology of MoneyAnthropology of MoneyModern Monetary Theor – History – Intellectual and Cultural Politics – Political Economy – Sociology – Culture

the book

For much of American history, large numbers of people claimed that money was a public good and asserted the right to shape money creation practices. If popular knowledge about money creation was once widely shared, how and why did it disappear?

In this astute new work, Jakob Feinig shows how the relation between money users and money-issuing governments changed from British colonial North America to today’s United States, discussing how popular movements reshaped money-creating institutions, and how their opponents attempted to silence them. He also reveals how monetary and political history unfolds in the tension between “moral economies of money” and “monetary silencing.” Offering an introduction to money creation practices since the colonial era, the book enables readers to understand why most people are disconnected from knowledge about money creation today. At the same time, the book also allows readers to situate the recent prominence of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) against a broader historical background. Historians of capitalism, economic and political sociologists, social theorists, anthropologists of money, and anyone seeking to understand monetary activism, will find this book helps to clarify present-day possibilities in light of historical processes.

Jakob Feinig uniJakob Feinig twitter

editorial reviews

“In this book, Feinig sets out to make money visible as a practice. He does that with breath-taking effect. Brilliant, thought-provoking, and illuminating.”―Christine Desan, Harvard University

“An absorbingly rich history of the struggles over money in the United States from colonial ‘moral economies’ to its expropriation by capitalist banking.”―Geoffrey Ingham, University of Cambridge

“In this compelling fusion of sociological insight and historical narrative, Feinig succeeds in clarifying how money politics worked in the past, and why it should be revisited today.”―Roy Kreitner, Tel Aviv University

contents – excerpts

chapter summeries

Introduction: Moral Economies of Money and Monetary Silencing – read at source

The Introduction shows the advantages of understanding money as a relation between money issuer and money users. It discusses how different money creation mechanisms shape money users’ agency and knowledge, and the political-economic stakes involved in decisions about who should make money and according to what rules. If money creation is a political process, it is important to realize that money users in the past have reshaped their relation with the money issuer even if today’s money users are disconnected from knowledge about money creation.

1 Settler Democracy as a Monetary School: Toward Moral Economies of Money

This chapter showcases how money users in British colonial North America learned about the design of monetary institutions, the hierarchy of money, and its connection with taxation. Money creation was directly connected to electoral politics, and money users understood currency creation and taxation as a single field of collective practice. This chapter discusses the pay tokens that settlers and their governments used, as well as connections between municipal, colonial, and imperial finance, through a discussion of Massachusetts and a comparative analysis of middle and southern colonies.

2 Moral Economies of Money

This chapter discusses moral economies of money in British colonial North America. It discusses struggles about money creation and acceptance, focusing on grassroots practices and pamphlets that reveal popular knowledge about money creation. Because they understood money creation as a political process, colonists became users and makers of money who wanted to take part in decisions about how currency reached them, and how much of it, to shape society in a way they deemed just. The chapter also analyzes the practices and knowledges of those actors who wanted to silence moral economies.

3 Monetary Silencing and the Romance of Unmediated Exchanges

This chapter introduces monetary silencing as a historical process. The US Constitution removed the right of money issue from states and placed it with federal institutions that it insulated from popular pressure. States and the federal government then chartered corporate banks that issued notes. Large groups perceived banks as immoral, and they channeled their frustration through a focus on commodity money. “Paper money,” identified with banks, was now unjust, while legitimate money was now specie (silver and gold coins). This Jacksonian critique of the monetary status quo participated in a silencing process because it abandoned the eighteenth-century idea that money is a governance project its users can democratize.

4 Greenback Moral Economies

This chapter shows how Civil War finance once again clarified the stakes of money creation and led important groups to develop moral economies of money. Civil War treasury currency (greenbacks) repoliticized money by demonstrating its character as a governance mechanism. In this context, large groups undermined the Jacksonian understanding of money, questioned the need for specie, and attempted to reshape monetary institutions.

5 What Kinds of People Should Money Users Be?

Through a comparative analysis of gold standard advocates and Greenback moral economies, this chapter shows how different groups of money users imagined their place in the monetary system in the late nineteenth century. Gold standard advocates argued that people should relate to money as self-interested individuals only. For them, monetary success proved the value of someone’s contribution to society, and the unsuccessful should not question money’s verdict. Conversely, Greenbackers argued that monetary institutions required constant public vigilance and democratic governance. Money’s verdict was questionable, and democratizing monetary design was the only way of ensuring its justice.

6 Monetary Silencing as a New Deal Legacy

This chapter shows that in the early 1930s, jobless people and those facing foreclosure participated in moral economies of money. In response, New Dealers developed policies, institutions, and a rhetoric that allowed them to expand policy space while silencing moral economies. Despite a far-reaching restructuring of money creation, FDR denied the federal government’s monetary agency and declared that the government was like a household that needed to pay back its debts. The chapter argues that New Deal policies shaped monetary silencing processes in the postwar era.

Conclusion: From New Deal Silencing to a Moral Economy of Money

The conclusion analyzes the effects of New Deal monetary silencing to this day. It shows how the obscuring of monetary governance enabled a fictitious separation of the economic and the political with far-reaching repercussions, including effects on processes of racial structuring. It then discusses a policy, the federal Job Guarantee, that could enable a reemergence of moral economies of money. The conclusion ends with a nod to Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel The Ministry for the Future, which educates readers about possible monetary responses to the unfolding climate catastrophe.


excerpts

idiosyncratic selection, all emph gg/caw – source: publisher’s pdf – permission pending

Acknowledgments

This book is my answer to questions about money creation that I began to articulate at the University of Vienna, where I learned about global and European money politics, regulation theory, and political economy more generally from Johannes Jäger, Karin Fischer, Joachim Becker, and Andreas Novy. Philip Taucher was an important part of this process; he helped me think about political economy through a Freirian lens.

When I started graduate school at Binghamton, I wanted to know why there were no broad and inclusive public controversies about money creation in the Eurozone. …

I soon realized I had to find a historical case study to understand popular monetary knowledge and ignorance as an outcome, not a given. In one of his lectures, Andreas Novy had mentioned Greenbackers and bimetallists, and I began devouring the literature on nineteenth-century US Populism. In a frenzied process that took several years, I began making sense of eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century controversies but also expanded my research into the New Deal era. I then came across Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and realized L. Randall Wray agreed with the eighteenth-century cleric Cotton Mather about what money is. I had found chartalism, a theoretical framework that highlights the relation between money issuer and money users. I had also found a historical case study I could use as a starting point: eighteenth-century Massachusetts.

Intro – Moral Economies of Money and Monetary Silencing

…Most moral economies of money sought to secure a white men’s ideal of living as “independent” small producers, which they attempted to realize at other people’s expense and at other people’s peril. In this book, I address aspects of the racial history of moral economies, but this dimension requires further investigation, as does their gendered character.

…this book provides elements for a historically grounded understanding of one condition of present-day political life: the disconnect between money creation and public knowledge about it. This book allows readers to understand this disconnect as a historical outcome. In the eighteenth century, large groups of people understood money creation as a political process in a context in which monetary institutions were intelligible.

…In the antebellum era, people lost sight of money’s character as a malleable governance institution when they focused their critique exclusively on corporate banks and demanded money made of gold and silver but forgot about the possibility of democratizing money creation. The Civil War’s public currency (greenbacks) made money’s political character visible again, inaugurating a period of moral economies that lasted until the 1930s. Finally, New Dealers developed monetary institutions and rhetoric that obscured the stakes of public money creation and began a period of monetary silence that lasts to this day. Because money users’ disconnect from knowledge about money creation limits people’s potential to stabilize their lives and avoid mass impoverishment, bankruptcy, and unemployment, the stakes are high. … p3

Neochartalist monetary theorists distinguish between governance bodies that can issue money and money users who cannot. p4

In the British North American colonies and the United States, money users reshaped money creation mechanisms, revising the neochartalist script and enriching the role of economic individuals in which it casts them. They participated in what the historian Christine Desan (2014) calls “monetary design”: making decisions about the principles that govern money creation. Monetary design varies over time and across space, shaping possibilities for different groups and constituting society. …In sum, when societies design money creation mechanisms, they constitute themselves. p5

Banking is a form of monetary design in which legislatures place profit oriented institutions at the center of the money creation process (see chapter 3). When today’s commercial banks extend loans, they create deposits: that is, the bank marks up a debtor’s account to the amount it advances. Banks decide who should, and who should not, get credit to mobilize resources.Those who receive credit spend money into circulation and pass it on to other money users. … But those who receive money first (Desan 2014) can decide where it flows, shaping social spaces as they do so.

The practice of delegating money creation to banks is a little over three centuries old and represents a world-changing break with medieval patterns. The currencies of British colonial North America, the starting point for this book, emerged in the period in which medieval money was replaced by bank money, a distinct form of money creation with democratic potential.

Intro- Settler Democratic Currencies

Seventeenth-century English policy makers considered that the inflexible medieval currency supply (coined alloys of silver and gold) was insufficient for fi nancing wars, and they sought to create a currency that could expand when needed. In response, Parliament established the Bank of England, which could create tax-receivable paper currency and operate for the profit of its owners. Thereby, Parliament made the profit motive a legitimate driver of money creation (Desan 2014). .. p7

…When money users understood the stakes of monetary design, moral economies of money flourished.14 Money users’ capacity and willingness to take part in the politics of monetary design characterize such moral economies. From a moral economic perspective, money is not a neutral quantity of things but an integral part of democratic processes. Moral economies were more than collectively articulated policy preferences with distributive consequences. When money users took part in them, they understood they were rearranging social relations on a large scale, what Desan (2014, 2017) calls the monetary constitution of society.

As they did so, they also constituted themselves as agents capable of ordering their relation to others. Whenever moral economies flourished, there were clashes about money users’ legitimate role in money creation. For instance, while postbellum defenders of a gold standard argued that impoverished and indebted people had no right to participate in monetary design, Populists claimed it was their duty to take part in critical refl ection and political action (chapter 5). If the category “money user” seems static and individualistic, recurring controversies about people’s capacity to improve money creation processes show it is not. p8

Moral economies of money are distinct from claims about the right to financial support for those deemed in need, such as impoverished persons or those looking for work. They are distinct, also, from claims about the right to a living wage. While today, demands on the government or employers bracket money creation, moral economies placed it front and center: for those who took part in moral economies, the institutional conditions under which money issuing happened shaped possibilities in almost all areas of social life. Such moral economies were not romantic attempts to create a society based on barter. Instead, they imagined the promise of money as both a political and an individual one and sought to create accountable and just institutions.

But moral economies are also distinct from controversies about bank nationalization and central banks’ insulation from other governance institutions. During the twentieth century, central banks’ institutional character changed, from midcentury nationalizations to the later trend of independence. Even if public controversies accompanied these shifts, and even if they changed the lay of the land from policy makers’ perspective, these processes were not moral economic in the sense in which I define it here because they did not involve large groups of money users who attempted to promote a monetary design they considered just.

Even if the relations between today’s central banks and their publics are politicized (see, e.g., Braun 2016; Riles 2018), they unfold within the current frame-work of money creation and governance. When it emerges, public criticism focuses on policy choices, not broader questions about monetary design. If it assumes current money creation arrangements, such criticism can even become part of what I call monetary silencing.

In contrast to treasury currency, today’s bank money is more difficult to understand from the perspective of everyday life, and this difficulty has silencing effects. When banks make loans, they create “new” money as deposits. But to the public at large, these deposits are not visible as such,f and their relation with central bank and treasury operations is difficult to grasp.. bank money creation tends to have silencing effects. p10

Besides institutions, authoritative knowledges can also contribute to monetary silencing. Today’s professional interpreters of money—economists—theorize money in a way that has silencing effects when it discourages its users from engaging with monetary design. For most economists, “Money is what money does”: it is a means of payment, a measure of value, and a store of value.20 This logic emphasizes functions over relations, suspending inquiry into the process of money creation and the relations through which it reaches a household, or fails to do so—the chain of credits that connects public governance and bank money creation to someone’s account and wallet. If money users limit their understanding of money to a list of functions, their capacity to relate to money as a malleable institution remains truncated.

Today’s economists typically also claim that money is neutral, comparing it to a veil that lies over “real” economic activities and prevents people from seeing a world of barter in which individuals swap goods and services. From this perspective, money facilitates exchanges, but its presence leaves the barter dynamics of the “real” economy unchanged. In the absence of money, we could see what money quantifies—that enriched individuals have contributed more than impoverished ones. The metaphor helps justify questionable activities if they are rewarded with high incomes (Graeber 2011:44; Jennings 1994:557–58).

And those with money can feel validated by the veil metaphor, since having money shows that one has done useful work. “Money is a veil” is a message to money users: what you have is what you deserve. As the critical economist Ann Jennings (1994:557) put it, we uphold money’s centrality in creating hierarchies “by denying that it matters.”22 The idea that money is neutral contributes to monetary silence because it eclipses always-political monetary design processes.Claims consistent with the veil metaphor are common in popular literature, and they have similar silencing effects.

In the words of the twentieth-century motivational speaker Earl Nightingale (1986): “Money is the harvest of our production. Money is what we receive for our production and service. . . . Try to remember this formula: the amount of money we receive will always be in direct relation to the demand for what we do, our ability to do it, and the difficulty of replacing us.” Money reflects individuals’ contribution to society and rewards them in exact proportion. If money is neutral, wealth cannot be unearned, and money users cannot question money’s verdict.

Knowledges that accompany bitcoin and the family of related projects also have silencing effects. This statement may appear paradoxical because these “currencies” seem to enlarge monetary possibilities as they bring money creation into public view. Yet if they promote a libertarian logic that dismisses the possibility of democratic governance and seek to substitute a seemingly nonarbitrary money creation mechanism claimed to be distinct from nation-states’ authoritarian and exploitative fiat currencies, bitcoin advocates advance monetary silence.23 Instead of encouraging money users to rethink their agency vis-à-vis the money issuer, and the democratic redesign of monetary institutions, they reject such institutions wholesale when they try to purge all “third parties”—not only banks but also governments—from monetary life (Amato 2018), much as Jacksonian monetary critics did (chapter 3). Instead of redefining social life as they reshape money in an open-ended process, bitcoin promoters fix their identity as individuated bitcoin “miners” and exchangers. In sum, they promote a way of thinking about money that is distinct from moral economies of money that emphasize money’s character as an always-political “governance project” (Desan 2014). …

In the following chapters, I map the repeated back-and-forth between moral economies and monetary silence from the seventeenth to the early twenty-fi rst century in the British North American colonies and the United States. The goal is not to offer a comprehensive political history of money but to inquire into the structuring of money users’ agency.

more excerpts pending permission


presentations interviews

es/podcast 10-2022 “Moral Economies of Money: Politics and the Monetary Constitution of Society” – with Bernardo Batiz-Lazo

In this podcast Jakob Feinig introduces his ideas about how and when people’s practices and institutions shape money and money creation. He provided deep insight into historical episodes to support his view. Towards the end, he comments on the challenges of digital currencies. Feinig is the author of Moral Economies of Money: Politics and the Monetary Constitution of Society (Stanford UP, 2022). Ideas discussed in the podcast that you might want to pursue further or clarify: Chartalism and Modern Monetary Theory. Here are some thinkers who explore similar ideas: Rohan Grey, Geoffrey Ingham, Lana Swartz, E. P. Thompson and Viviana Zelizer. –

>Democracy, Economic Theory, History, Imperialism, Political Economy, Protest ,US, Money

deezer.com/ 9-2022 podcast – Moral Economies And Money with Jakob Feinig

When Jakob Feinig speaks of moral economies, he’s talking about we, the people – the currency users – and how we relate to the institutions that issue money, as well as our monetary knowledge and its ability to inform direct action…

mronline.org 2019 Money Politics before the New Deal with Jakob Feinig – with Scott Ferguson, Maxximilian Seijo, William Saas


reviews

amazon.comgoodreads

aaup.org 10- 2022 Stop Trying to Find the Money – Create It – A proposal for universities and public money. By Scott Ferguson and Benjamin Wilson

…”… This emergent shift from finding to creating revives a robust history of contentious money politics in the United States. As historical sociologist Jakob Feinig explains in his new book Moral Economies of Money, a variety of American social movements have sought to reinvent the underlying infrastructures—such as fiscal and banking systems—by which money comes into being but notably spurned cries for the public redistribution of private profits…”…


articles etc by Jakob Feinig

>Monetary theory, Money and Banking, Monetary history, Sociology of Money, Political Economy of Monetary Policy

academia.eduresearchgatetandfonline 2020 Toward a Moral Economy of Money? Money as a Creature of Democracy – by Jakob Feinig

This paper proposes a novel approach for understanding money users’ relation to monetary governance institutions. It first describes the stakes involved in monetary governance from a neo-chartalist/MMT perspective. In a second step, it discusses the literatures on central bank legitimacy and the social construction of money, and argues that neither allows an analysis of the changing relation between monetary institutions and money users that takes the latter’s knowledges and practices seriously. It then argues that the concept of moral economy can enrich scholarly analysis. Moral economies of money are defined as collective practices in which money users articulate demands as part of an understanding of money as a public governance institution not a scarce quantity. Finally, the paper reconstructs the changing relation between monetary governance institutions and money users since the Great Depression. It shows how New Dealers silenced a moral economy of money, discusses fragmented moral economies after World War II and the partial reemergence of moral economies of money after the Great Financial Crisis. The paper concludes by discussing political implications and suggestions for further research.


philpapers.org 2018 Beyond Double Movement and Re-regulation: Polanyi, the Organized Denial of Money Politics, and the Promise of Democratization – by Jakob Feinig

Abstract – Although Karl Polanyi is best known for his theorization of market regulation and the double movement, democratizing the economic was one of his core concerns. He believed societies need to bring labor, land, and money under collective oversight to displace the logic of market fundamentalism with the logic of human needs. In this article, the author draws on Polanyi’s vocabulary to shed light on the denial of money politics and the possibility of democratization. The author illustrates these dynamics through an analysis of long-term dynamics of (de)politicization in British colonial America and the United States through the 1930s. The author developed this approach hoping that it can contribute to nudging public debates beyond regulation and monetary policy techniques and toward popular involvement and knowledge.


academia.edu gg/pdf 2017 The Moral Economy of Money between the Gold Standard and the New Deal – by Jakob Feinig

>Finance, Economic History, Political Economy, Historical Sociology, Populism, Great Depression, Monetary history, New Deal (U.S. history), Democracy, Sociology of Money, Political Economy of Monetary Policy, Modern Monetary Theory, Moral Economy, Public Debt, Veterans, Federal Reserve System, Gold Standard, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, War Finance, Bonus march

In this article, I show that Depression-era popular opposition to gold standard orthodoxy had an identifiable impact on New Deal policy. Popular pressure was rooted in a political-economic vision I call the ” moral economy of money. ” The moral economy of money included a critique of the gold standard and creditor classes and advocated a democratization of control over money and credit to restore social justice. Against many odds, Roosevelt narrowly defeated congressional majorities connected to popular groups bent on mandating Treasury currency issue. At the same time, he pioneered a discourse that became generalized in the following decades and discouraged a reemergence of the moral economy of money.


see also – moral economies

> agency, commerce, positioning, human flourishing, labour process theory, lay morality, markets, moral economy, work

jstor.org.KER 2010 Adam Smith’s moral economy – by Christopher J. Berry

Adam Smith Moral Economy article abstract 2010 C J Berry


tandfonline.com 2016 ‘Moral economy’: its conceptual history and analytical prospects – by Norbert Götz

Abstract – This article challenges E.P. Thompson’s definition of ‘moral economy’ as a traditional consensus of crowd rights that were swept away by market forces. Instead, it suggests that the concept has the potential of improving the understanding of modern civil society. Moral economy was a term invented in the eighteenth century to describe many things. Thompson’s approach reflects only a minor part of this conceptual history. His understanding of moral economy is conditioned by a dichotomous view of history and by the acceptance of a model according to which modern economy is not subject to moral concerns. It is on principle problematic to confine a term conjoining two concepts as general as ‘moral’ and ‘economy’ to a specific historical and social setting. Recent approaches that frame moral economy as an emotively defined order of morals are also misleading since they do not address economic issues in the way they are commonly understood. The most promising current approaches appear to be those that consider the moral economy of welfare, humanitarianism, and civil society. The concept of moral economy may help us to clarify alternative ways of ‘utility maximisation’ through the construction of altruistic meaning for economic transactions.

> civil society, non-profit sector, humanitarianism, modernisation, theory, political economy


journals.sagepub.com.pdf 2013 Work, employment and society through the lens of moral economy by Sharon C Bolton, Knut LaaserMoral economy is an analytical framework that gives voice to critical concerns for the workings of an increasingly disconnected capitalism,

Abstract – In this article a moral economy approach is proposed that is informed by Karl Polanyi and E. P. Thompson, who capture the ubiquitous tension between a stable, moral and human society and the economic practices of self-regulating markets, and by Andrew Sayer’s consideration of lay morality. Moral economy is an analytical framework that gives voice to critical concerns for the workings of an increasingly disconnected capitalism, its inherent tendencies to treat labour as a ‘fictitious commodity’ and the impact this has on the well-being of individuals and wider society. Hence, at the heart of the approach suggested here is a normative understanding of mutual reciprocality and embedded sociality that raises questions about how to support the human
capacity to flourish.


jstor.org/ 1990 Morality in Three Social Theories: Parsons, Analytical Marxism – by H Andersen

Morality in three Social Theories  Parsons Habermas  Analytical Marxism  H Anderson -1990 article abstract

see also

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