Crises of Real, Imaginary, and Symbolic Money

I’ve been busy, sick, tired, chilling, and so on – not that I ever planned to run a regular blog of any sort. But it has been a while and I’m on a long bus ride testing out the new version of jelly bean (with slide keyboard) and the wordpress app, so why not post something?

Here is the (hastily written) abstract I recently sent off for the First World Keynes Conference:

Crises of Real, Imaginary, and Symbolic Money

Although there is not consensus, the compatibility of Marxian economics and non-commodity forms of money has become increasingly accepted by heterodox economists. Questions still remain concerning the nature and determination of the value of money, and the relationships between financial, industrial, state, and other processes. I offer a new approach to these theoretical problems through a deconstructive reading of Marx’s categories of
real, imaginary, and symbolic (forms/functions of) money. While this hierarchy of real and less-real monies is in part responsible for the historical association of Marxian value theory and metallic commodity money, I explore the tensions and contradictions in these categories to produce a mutually constitutive understanding of money’s multiple forms and functions. I conclude by considering the relationship between Marxian theories of money and crisis. Whereas more orthodox approaches to the value of money lead to overly deterministic and ”supply-side” accounts of crisis, Marxian-Keynesian style approaches incorporate the importance of aggregate demand and institutions at the cost of value theory. I argue that a deconstructive, but nonetheless Marxian, theory of money may help bridge the gap between these two tendencies by illustrating the broad institutional determination of the value of money.

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