Reinterprets the history of economic thought and re-examines the idea of money as a ‘medium of exchange’.
The end of the 20h century brought with it uncertainties about the future in all parts of the world, but out of these experiences comes rich material for reflection on possible future directions of development. This volume represents a tribute to the legacy of Karl Polanyi in that his work provides the framework and the method of analysis around which work and action can be organized and stimulated.
In resistance to the prevailing ‘seductive’ market, and as part of the process of creating, organizing and stimulating an alternative to it, this volume of essays reinterprets the history of economic thought and a re-examines monetary theory in general. The authors challenge the idea that money is primarily a ‘medium of exchange’ that developed as a response to the inconvenience of barter. They argue that historically money predates (market) exchange and should be seen fundamentally as a means of payment in discharge of a social obligation.
Due to the continued widening of inequality between developed countries and the rest of the world, the growing instability of the economies and social structure, and the intensifying global ecological crisis, discussion of possible ‘transformations’, great or small, has lost none of its urgency. The discussion of alternatives needs to emerge from the marginalized underworld and move increasingly towards centre stage. The contributors strongly argue for the necessity of re-embedding the economy in the community, by a deepening of democracy, by the creation of a society in which economic, social and cultural rights take their place alongside universal civil and political rights.