Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Money Wisdom #153

"I was not interested in the operation of money in society or the creation of social wealth. The science we now call economics seemed to me, from my reading and a study of the Saudi economy - admittedly primitive - modest in its aims. In reality, economics seemed to have fallen prey to the very social mechanisms it attempted to describe and authorise; and the various theories merely confirmed or denied the privileges or fantasies of social classes. Even so, I busied myself with economics, rather as one might learn the rules of baseball: as a social adornment, and to put people at their ease. Yet I could never penetrate beyond the first pages of Ricardo or Marshall without a sort of exasperation: that long before money had ever been defined to my satisfaction, we had moved on to the profits of stock, as if all study of money were a mere distraction from its pursuit. I learned book-keeping, and for a moment the world came into focus, as if I had mastered philosophical German. In reality, to describe the world purely in terms of the replacement value in money of its institutions and inhabitants was itself at best ideology, at worst insanity.

I wanted to pierce the veil of money not to find some piece of metaphysics - value, utility, or labour - which resides in the economist's money like yet another Russian doll, but the emotions and sensations that nestled there."

James Buchan Frozen Desire (1997) p.10

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