Primitive Money, Modern Money

  • Jean-Joseph Goux
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 130)


I am very interested in the distinction made by Orléan between two origins: the origin of modern money which seems now purely conventiona1, unconvertible, and the origin of primitive money. It seems to me that this division between two origins can solve many problems, but that this duality of origins can also raise new interesting but difficult issues. And the questions I have in mind after the close reading of the text are related to this double origin, or more precisely, to the relationship between the two regimes of money described in the text, not only the historical problem of the passage from one to another, but also the structural problem of persistence (or not) of the primitive status into the modern status. To sum up roughly: the primitive money would be sacrificial, the modern money would be non-sacrificial (no transcendence, no alterity, but self-institution). The problem would be: what kind of historical, or rather critical consequences should be drawn concerning this difference? Is the non-sacrificial status of modern money a stable possibility or a catastrophic limit? Is the modern man doomed to live this new status as a loss (lack of transcendence, alterity, sociality) or as a conquest?


Structural Moment Double Origin Commutative Justice Commodity Money Symbolic Device 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Joseph Goux
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice UniversityUSA

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