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The Social Constructions of Money

  • Ben Spruzen (a1)


As Buchan (1998) so aptly puts it, money is incarnate desire; it is many things to many people. It has served to shape society through the advent of trade in ancient civilizations, or as the catalyst for military campaigns. The purpose of this paper is to examine the physical mechanisms that perpetuate society's reliance on money, and to uncover the social constructions that allow society to value money despite its various forms.

There is no all encompassing rule or set of standards governing the physical form of money. Certainly there are more established and accepted forms of money or currency that have been adopted by various nations, providing symbols of national identity. The most notable the US dollar, the most widely accepted and common benchmark for international currencies. Contrasted with the Indonesian rupiah, which holds little value in the international market, a value reflected in the country's relatively low international standing. Such differences are the result of a bigger system based on international trade and comparative advantage whose boundaries lie beyond the definition of this discussion.



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