Money and the Morality of Exchange - Edited by J. Parry & M. BlochCambridge, New York, Port Chester, Melbourne & Sydney: Cambridge University Press, 1991, Paperback.
Condition: Near Fine. Previous owners' name to the upper wrapper verso.
From the cover: “This volume deals with the way in which money is symbolically represented in a range of different cultures from South and South-East Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America. More especially, it is concerned with the moral evaluation of monetary and commercial exchanges as against exchanges of other kinds. The Western intellectual tradition contains a number of different discourses about money; it is the acid which corrodes community, depersonalises human relationships and reduces differences of quality to those of mere quantity; it is the instrument of man’s freedom; and so on. What runs throughout this tradition, however, is the assumption that money has a revolutionary and determinate impact on society and culture. The essays collected in this volume cast radical doubt on such assumptions. Rather than supporting the proposition that money produces easily specifiable changes in world view, the emphasis is on the way in which existing world views and economic systems give rise to particular ways of representing money. But this highly relativistic conclusion is qualified once we shift the focus from money to the system of exchange as a whole. One rather general pattern that then begins to appear is of two separate but related transactional orders, the vast majority of systems making some ideological space for relatively impersonal, competitive and individual acquisitive activity. What this implies is that even in a non-monetary economy these features are likely to exist in a certain sphere of activity, and that it is therefore misleading to attribute them to money. By so doing, a contrast within cultures is turned into a contrast between cultures, and thereby reinforces the notion that money itself has the power to transform the nature of social relationships.”