Chapter

Introduction

Christine Desan

in Making Money

Published in print November 2014 | ISBN: 9780198709572
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191779800 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709572.003.0001
Introduction

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Categorizing money as a function, modern observers miss the revolution in its design that occurred in the late 17th century. The English government there changed the way it “made money,” licensing private investors to oversee money’s creation and allowing them to charge for the privilege. More changes followed, including the proliferation of currency and credit, shifts in contract law and monetary policy, and a turn to liberal notions of human agency. The same developments located money as a mere instrumentality, diverting attention from it as a project that societies undertake to mobilize resources and create a medium. By contrast, exploring the way the English “made money” exposes the way that project shaped their medieval world and, when the revolution occurred, reorganized their political economy. The Introduction reviews the major themes of the book’s historical and conceptual claims, flagging the distributive stakes of money’s redesign, its conceptual impact, and its spread beyond Britain.

Keywords: money; revolution; money creation; monetary policy; agency; instrumentality; design; redistributive stakes

Chapter.  10693 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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