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Savage Money : The Anthropology and Politics of Commodity Exchange
The mark of a civilized economy is national money; the English pound, the Australian dollar, the Indian rupee. The mark of a savage economy is untamed money in the form of cowrie shells, silver, gold and so on. The power of the state is crucially dependent on its ability to domesticate savage money and to reproduce its control over it. This is a constant struggle and especially so for an imperial state with ambitions of international statehood.
The English pound conquered cowries and silver at the end of the last century, and the American dollar almost succeeded in domesticating gold, the last vestige of savage money. However, a new era of savage money is dawning in the twilight of the American empire. 'Money' has an equivocation rather than a definition. Naming it does not nail it. It is a chameleon-like symbol which is forever changing as mercantile relations between people vary over time and place.
This volume is not simply another general theory of world system. It is a theoreticall
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Taylor & Francis
January 31, 1997
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