In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, critical attention has shifted from the economy to the most fundamental feature of all market economies—money. Yet despite the centrality of political struggles over money, it remains difficult to articulate its democratic possibilities and limits. In this webinar, Stefan Eich will take us from ancient Greece to today to provide an intellectual history of money, drawing on the insights of key political philosophers to show how money is not just a medium of exchange but also a central institution of political rule.
Money appears to be beyond the reach of democratic politics, but this appearance—like so much about money—is deceptive. Even when the politics of money is impossible to ignore, its proper democratic role can be difficult to discern. Stefan Eich examines six crucial episodes of monetary crisis, recovering the neglected political theories of money in the thought of such figures as Aristotle, John Locke, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. He shows how these layers of crisis have come to define the way we look at money, and argues that informed public debate about money requires a better appreciation of the diverse political struggles over its meaning.
Stefan Eich is Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University. His research is in political theory and the history of political thought, in particular the political theory of money and financial capitalism. He is the author of The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes (Princeton University Press, May 2022), which recovers constitutive debates about money as a political institution in the history of political thought. His work has appeared in Political Theory, Modern Intellectual History, Capitalism and History, and History & Theory. He also co-edits a book series at Stanford University Press with Martijn Konings (University of Sydney) on "Currencies: New Thinking for Financial Times."
Tuesday, 07 February 2023
15:00 - 15:45 GMT
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