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mad money


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A term coined by the political economist Susan Strange to describe the nature of international money markets at the end of the 20th century. Following the dictionary, Strange defines ‘mad’ as ‘wildly foolish’, which is what she considers it to be to allow financial markets to be so far beyond the control of state and international authorities. In a world of mad money, Strange points out, there is a widening of long-established gaps in power and wealth, and a widening gap between big business and small business. The social consequences of such gaps include the emergence of an underclass and an increase in dropouts:The alienation of what the French aptly call les exclus is made greater by the increasing concentration of wealth at the other end of the social scale. Flagrant conspicuous consumption by the very rich—pop stars, tycoons, financiers, sports stars—is not in itself the problem. But it can become one when growth slows, jobs disappear and times for ordinary people suddenly become very hard. (Mad Money, 1998).The super-rich sports star could in such a context symbolize the gross inequalities at the heart of what Strange, in an arresting metaphor, labels casino capitalism.

The alienation of what the French aptly call les exclus is made greater by the increasing concentration of wealth at the other end of the social scale. Flagrant conspicuous consumption by the very rich—pop stars, tycoons, financiers, sports stars—is not in itself the problem. But it can become one when growth slows, jobs disappear and times for ordinary people suddenly become very hard. (Mad Money, 1998).

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.


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