東文研シンポジウム(Monies for ordinary people: neither precious nor national)のご案内(10月15、16日)

Workshop ‘Monies for ordinary people: neither precious nor national’
15th and 16th October, 2009,
At the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo

The aims of the workshop
Scholars have often abused the word, barter, in coming across the exchange with the third item, such as grains, cloths, shells, beads and so on, between two parties whose wants and processes don’t coincides. The abuse of barter has concealed various economic activities, which were actually done in terms of monetary unit, by ordinary people. The inappropriate usage of the concept, barter, was in tandem with a myth of money as a unified account. However, a single money coincided with a nation is not a natural result of evolution of market activities but an artificial product of history. The establishment of the Political Economics with the presumption of single money made a retrospect that what appeared to be nothing but currency for business circuits should have been currency. Thus, no monetary instrument outside precious metal currencies could have citizenship as currency.
Counting in terms of conceptual monetary unit can be in infinity, while no supply of currency can be in infinity. The business circuit consisting of governments and big merchants who depended on large-sum paper instruments tended to matter the former and overlook the importance of the latter. The point is that the supply of currencies with a set of denominations should have met with variety of demands for currencies according to layers of the market. However, actual markets are too dynamic for any arbitrage to converge. Temporalities and spatial differences of the demand often made currencies take diversified origins depending on situation. Heterogeneous combinations, such as cacao beans and Mexican Peso, or glass beads and the Maria Theresa dollar, formed complementary relationship to mediate a wide range of transactions. Thus, before the establishment of state-homogenised monetary system, though money of account appeared to fungible, currencies in actual markets were no fungible at all. It is only though non-precious-metal monies that we can access economic behaviour of the majority of humans.
Comparative studies global-wide in history easily reveal that, with less legal protects, money could have been self-organized among local traders of small size. It also means that inevitably money becomes multiple in their nature. It is not only different meaning of money by social cluster but also actual circulation of currency to suffice various demands that made monies behave differently layer by layer in each society. Some society created local currency based on anonymous trade; while some formed local credit community mainly consisted of named transactions. Restoring monies for ordinary people in history will make clear that monies and social relationships had been in mutual dependency, rather than in substitution between anonymity and personality.
Monies in history, also, reveal the peculiarity of state-homogenised monetary system for which most of us, now, take granted. Fungible money appears to be so convenient that students tend to take it an evolutionary result from ‘reducing transaction costs’. However, increased compatibility made money more vulnerable against over and/or unnecessary spending. It is dangerous, especially for ordinary people with less reserve, to depend their lives on too fungible asset. That is why, in order to keep proportionate expenses, designating monetary usages or earmarking by each individual became highlighted under modern states with unified money. A transparent monetary system brought each household where it might run along the precipice with no fence.

Timetable (tentative)
Day One (15 Oct)
KURODA, Akinobu, U of Tokyo, De-teleologise monetary history from the viewpoints of multiplicity and complementarity
Jan Lucassen, International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam), How to pay a worker? Historical practices, especially in Europe and Asia

Karin Pallaver, U of Bologna, Different monies for different market layers: the monetary system of East African caravan trade (19th century)
Arturo Giraldez, U of Pacific, Cacao beans as currency in Mexico

Ryuto Shimada, Seinan Gakuin U, Porcelain token and Chinese society in Siam during the nineteenth century
George Souza, U of Texas, Cowries and Commerce: Mozambique, the Portuguese, and Afro-Asian-American exchanges in the emerging Global economy

Day Two (16 Oct)
Constantina Katsari, U of Leicester, Small change in the Roman Empire
KAKINUMA, Yohei, Waseda U, Hemp and silk as money in the Eastern Han period
Alan Stahl, Princeton U, Paying the crew on Venetian galleys; different ranks, different coins

George Selgin, U of Georgia, The People's Money: British Trade Tokens, 1787-1797
Craig Muldrew, U of Cambridge, Money and industrial wages in eighteenth England

General Discussion

登録日時:Tue Aug 25 09:08:00 2009
登録者 :研究支援担当
掲載期間:20090825 - 20091016
当日期間:20091015 - 20091016