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Trends in Money & Finance What is Money? What is Wealth? Debt, Waste and Scarcity Financialization: Hijacking the Information Revolution Decommodifying.

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Trends in Money & Finance What is Money? What is Wealth? Debt, Waste and Scarcity Financialization: Hijacking the Information Revolution Decommodifying.

Real vs. Phantom Wealth Part I: The Nature of Money Trends in Money & Finance Financialization: Money, Debt, Scarcity and Waste Part II: Culture, Quality.

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Presentation on theme: "Trends in Money & Finance What is Money? What is Wealth? Debt, Waste and Scarcity Financialization: Hijacking the Information Revolution Decommodifying."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trends in Money & Finance What is Money? What is Wealth? Debt, Waste and Scarcity Financialization: Hijacking the Information Revolution Decommodifying Money

2 Money Basics Impersonal: allows transactions to be extended over time and space. Trust essential Most prominent initially in external trade. Capital: money increased in the process of exchange.

3 Main Characteristics of Money 1. Means of Exchange money as information, a symbol 2. Store of Value a commodity, a thing-in-itself, a source of power The evolution of money: growing importance of the means-of- exchange function

4 The Disintegrative Power of Money rooted in the impersonality of money internal concerns with alienation of land & labour money-trading: long considered an unsavoury occupation. related concerns with bourgeois competitive individualism major breakthrough--Capitalism: the means of production become forms of money. –increasing production means increasing moneyand vice versa. money becomes industrialisms main measure of wealth.


6 The Industrial Definition of Wealth Money Material N.B.: Perpetuation of the System demands the perpetuation of this definition

7 Industrialism: Accumulation Production-for-productions-sake Invisibility of key factors Centralization of production, massive upfront investment Focus on labour productivity : resources substitute for human energy Cog-labour: humans as component parts Regulation: controls as limits Scarcity-based: role of waste since WWII Globalization: free trade & intellectual property

8 Postindustrialism: Regeneration New relationship of culture to economics: centrality of human development Substitution of human creativity for resources Direct targeting of human need: conscious consumption Human-scale technologies: production distributed over the landscape ; Integration: ALL places are places of production Qualitative Wealth is PLACE-BASED Distributed regulation: incentives for positive action throughout economy. Self-reliance / interdependence: Trade recipes, not cookies

9 Industrialism: The Divided Economy Invisible Visible Use-value Exchange-value Consumption Production People Things Unpaid Paid Women Men Informal Formal Private Public

10 Scarcity & Class... inequality & relative scarcity: 1. control of scarce resources &... 2. monopoly of high a minority.

11 Markets and Material Connection between needs, wealth & markets. the Invisible Hand: worked... 1.for an economy focused on meeting primary needs simplicity. a situation of relative scarcity the absence of sophisticated information technology

12 The Threat of Abundance Productivity boom of the Roaring Twenties –output outdistances worker wages Crisis of effective demand & structural overproduction: Great Depression as a reaction to potential abundance. White-collar work, universal education: the threat to cultural monopoly. –increasingly social character of production; rise of industrial unionism

13 The Post WW II Waste Economy Permanent War Economy The Suburb Economy: Oil / Autos / Subdivisions Note the gender and racial subtext of sprawl

14 The greatest misallocation of resources in human history. …James Howard Kunstler

15 Keynesianism & the Crisis of Effective Demand Baran & Sweezy: crisis of profitable investment outlets for capitalism. Money: a tool of national economic planning. Strong domestic multipliers. The Paper Economy: growing disjunction between the real & financial economies Planned Inflation & Purchasing Power re-redistribution of income: offsetting wage hikes in the unionized sectors Debt & the Economic Treadmill: Work-and-spend

16 Fordism & the Reinforcement of Industrial Wealth Matter Waste Fordism Suburbanization/ Consumer Economy War Industry Money Debt Keynesianism Paper Economy Planned Inflation New forms of credit- money

17 1970s: End of the Line for the Fordist Waste Solution saturation of markets social & environmental costs coming due: fiscal crisis of the state limits to inflationary strategy Vietnam war, decline of the dollar, German/Japanese competition OPEC & the energy crisis –Petrodollars & Currency Crisis

18 Post-Fordist Casino Economy floating exchange rates: interest rate standard –Eurodollars & Petrodollars new technologies & Megabyte Money financial sector: 30-50 times (?) larger than the material economy Speculation: Stomp the weak / Get rich quick Empty wealth creation: de facto redistribution of wealth. The End of Mass Consumption & rise of new producer services: new forms of effective demand. Polarization of work and society –end of social contracts: attack on Welfare State –the growing gap between rich and poor

19 Debt & Forced Economic Growth 1.Competition for money 2.Lack of purchasing power 3.Wage dependency equals Export warfare The main point that needs to be understood is that in order for money to come into circulation, someone must go into debt to a bank. If there were no bank debt, there would be virtually no moneyits as simple as that. Since banks charge interest on all this debt, and since the money to pay the interest can come only from further debt, debt grows like a cancer within the global economic body. This debt imperative creates a growth imperative that is forcing us to destroy the life-support systems of the planet. –Thomas Greco

20 Debt in the US Economy 1970s: debt 1½ the size of GDP 1985: twice the size of GDP 2005: 3½ times the size of GDP

21 Source: Magdoff, 2008: calculated from tables L.1 and L.2; Flow of Funds Accounts of the US; and table B- 78 from the 2006 Economic Report of the President



24 The Global Casino: Hijacking the Information Revolution expansion of employment in speculative industry –Wall St.: more advanced technologically than the military. Bubble Economies: last frontiers for capitalist growth. -stock crash of 1987 -tech stock bubble of late 90s -housing bubble of 2001-07 Housing speculation: most destructive & exploitative of the poor & average people.

25 Decommodifying Money diversification of forms of everyday exchange –supporting the informational character of currencies. –undercutting the scarcity-power of money. financial industry restructured as public utility and/or service industry. –money directed to priority areas of green development –transition: green Tobin tax new forms of remuneration –direct consumption; basic incomes; account- money; free food, health care & housing gradually enlarging the sphere of gift relationships –consistent with new productive forces based in mass collaboration

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