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Making Money: The Philosophy of Crisis Capitalism

“Explosive ... an absolutely indispensable guide through the labyrinth of economics.” – Slavoj Žižek
What is money? Where does it come from? Who makes it? And how can we understand the current state of our economy as a crisis of money itself?

In Making Money, Ole Bjerg turns these questions into a matter of philosophical rather than economic analysis. Applying the thinking of Slavoj Žižek and other scholars to mainstream economic literature, Bjerg provides a radical new way of looking at the mysterious stuff we use to buy things. It is a theory unfolded in reflections on the nature of monetary phenomena such as financial markets, banks, debt, credit, derivatives, gold, risk, value, price, interests, and arbitrage. The analysis of money is put into an historical context, suggesting that the current financial turbulence and debt crisis are evidence that we live in the age of post-credit capitalism. By bridging the fields of economics and contemporary philosophy, Bjerg's work engages in a compelling form of intellectual arbitrage.

Reviews

  • “Ole Bjerg provides us with a brilliant philosophical examination of this phenomenon that we call ‘money’ … This book should be on the reading list of all economists, bankers, civil servants, politicians and, most importantly, of all citizens if we are to stand any chance of overcoming the deep dysfunctions of the money and banking system that were dramatically revealed by their near collapse in 2008.”
  • “With its explosive combination of philosophy, economics, and Lacanian psychoanalysis, Bjerg’s book provides an absolutely indispensable guide through the labyrinth of economics. It makes us fully aware of the crazy world we live in. It is a kind of theoretical equivalent of a science fiction film in which we discover that aliens are already among us and are controlling us.”
  • “One of the most compelling and cohesive accounts of modern economics and finance … far more compelling than anything dealing with economics that touches the bestseller lists”
  • “A very interesting, illuminating and useful analysis of money and finance, their limitations, and their ideology … a very interesting, and also a very readable book, that is sure to benefit economists and non-economists alike”
  • “Thick with Heidegger and Žižek … a stimulating exploration of a neglected area, the ‘philosophy of money.’”

Blog

  • Abandoning the Euro Could Help Save Europe

    First published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.

    No European sovereign, no real budget; no budget, no viable economic policy. As long as Europe does not break out of this dilemma, the Eurozone will remain mired in the vicious circle of stagnation, resentment, and conflicting responsibilities. If a budgetary federalism is out of reach, it is crucial that we can adjust exchange rates in order to give dynamism to growth and employment. And this requires leaving the currency union.

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  • The Ignored Lessons of the Financial Crisis

    "If I told you eight years ago that America would reverse the great recession, reboot the auto industry, and unleash the greatest stretch of job creation in our history ... you might have said our sights were set a little too high." Thus boasted the former US president Barack Obama in his farewell address. But is the financial crisis really behind us? Has the strategy implemented to save the banks not, on the contrary, created the conditions for the next conflagration? Cédric Durandwrites.

    An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the February 2017 Le Monde diplomatique. Translated by David Broder.

    Figure 1: GDP growth in the advanced economies

    Happy anniversary! On 2 April 2007, New Century Financial Corporation entered into liquidation. The collapse of this US real estate investment company — the second biggest provider of the now-infamous subprime mortgages — fired the starting gun on a financial crisis bigger than any the world had seen since 1929. Ten years on, capitalism is still yet to recover from this major shock. Growth is sluggish, under-employment endemic and the extreme monetary policies implement by central banks are reaching their limits.

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  • What is a 'Nobel Prize-winning economist'? Philip Mirowski investigates

    The title of 'Nobel Prize-winning economist' is frequently used to impart a sense of gravitas, authority and scientific expertise. However, the status of the prize - created and funded by the Swedish Central Bank, rather than the Nobel Foundation itself - has long been a matter of controversy. 

    In the following interview with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Philip Mirowski argues that the history of the prize is inseperable from the rise of neoliberal economics, which it continues to legitimise as the one true eonomic 'science' in the eyes of the mass media and political institutions. 

    Philip Mirowski's book, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, is available direcly through the Verso website, with a 60% discount and free postage and ebook included.