Where: Paccar Theatre

When: 14:00 – 15:00


Questions about the nature of money have gained a new urgency in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Even as many people have less of it, there are more forms and systems of money, from local currencies and social lending to mobile money and Bitcoin. Yet our understanding of what money is—and what it might be—hasn’t really kept pace. In this talk, I argue that we need to reformulate the theory of money for a postcrisis world in which new kinds of money are proliferating. The talk is in three parts. First, I argue against a ‘realist’ view of money as a ‘thing’ that has an inherent value, which needs to be stored up, and protected, and in favour of a more fluid view of money as a process that is essentially dynamic and social. Second, I discuss the theories and ideologies behind new ‘utopian’ forms of money, such as Bitcoin, in light of my argument that money is a social process. Finally, I ask about the dangers and risks, as well as the opportunities that are being created by monetary multiplicity.