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Can a financial bubble burst if no one hears the pop?

Transparency, debt, and the control of price in the Kathmandu land market

Andrew Haxby

-risk loans or investing their depositors’ money directly into development schemes, 3 effectively tying up their members’ finances in a speculative market. When the bubble finally collapsed, many of these cooperatives collapsed with it, their members

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Jonathan R. Zatlin

Stephen F. Frowen and Robert Pringle, eds., Inside the Bundesbank (St. Martins Press: New York, 1998)

Peter A. Johnson, The Government of Money: Monetarism in Germany and the United States (Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1998)

Karl Kaltenthaler, Germany and the Politics of Europe’s Money (Duke University Press: Durham and London 1998)

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Yang Liu, Thomas Malaby, and Daniel Miller

Scholarship has frequently struggled with several pairs of dichotomies as it has sought to understand the digital: real vs. virtual, authentic vs. mediated, openness (freedom) vs. closure (control), and community vs. network. In order to make conceptual headway without falling into these traps, we turn in this article to the concept of indexicality. We urge an account of the digital that sees it as a resource for social action, one with the capacity to reduce and abstract as well as to differentiate and proliferate, recognizing both of these as potential projects that social actors may undertake. We offer the operation of money as an instructive analogy for how we may identify both the abstracting and the specifying dimensions of the digital.

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Payment

Forms and Functions of Value Transfer in Contemporary Society

Bill Maurer

Renewed anthropological attention to money and finance is welcome. However, recent attention to the ghosts in the financial machine neglects the infrastructures of payment that make finance possible. Following professionals and policymakers into the clearance and settlement of payments - the means of value transfer - affords insight into an industry hotly contested by new entrants and by a few critics who find in its business model a defiance of market logic. The tolls and fees of private payment infrastructures pose challenges to critical analyses of capitalism as well as to the public interest in payment, even as they are essential to the forms and functions of value transfer. Everyday exchanges are tolled, large-scale transfers are not: the article suggests that payment is a pressing political concern, as well as an analytical one.

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Remembering the Leu

Encounters with Money and Memory in Post-communist, Accession-era Romania

Alyssa Grossman

This article approaches money as the object of a particular type of remembrance work occurring in present-day, post-communist Bucharest. Since the 1989 revolution, the Romanian leu has changed numerous times in appearance and value. Piecing together observations from over a decade of fieldwork in Bucharest, I evaluate everyday behaviours and conversations surrounding these changes, and examine how the leu has been implicated in subjective, highly charged encounters closely bound to the workings of memory. The leu's fluctuating terminology, along with its material and imagerial variations over time have triggered poignant associations and recollections that often remain unspoken, embedded in unseen realms of the mind. By emphasising the leu's role as an everyday artefact and its connections to processes of 'communicative' memory, I point to the present-day climate in Bucharest as one where perceptions of the leu's multiple forms and manifestations reveal strong ambivalences towards current accession-era values, as well as deep uncertainties about Romania's 'European' future.

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Gresham's Law, Conceptual Semantics, and Semiotics of Authoritarianism

Do “Bad” Concepts Drive Out “Good” Ones?

Kirill Postoutenko

The aim of this article is to explore to what extent the rule of economics commonly known as Gresham's law (“bad money drives out good money”) can be extrapolated to verbal language (“bad concepts drive out good concepts”). Consequently, the goal of this article is twofold. First, for Gresham's law to be applied simultaneously to money and language, its unfortunate (“good”/“bad”) and obscure (“drives out”) wording should be clarified. Second, one should identify the contexts in which the validity of the law could be assessed best, and run a very preliminary test. For this purpose, the circulation of the adjective (“hard”, “strong”, or “stable” in Russian) in the word combination (“hard currency”) in use in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s was scrutinized.

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Offshore Desires

Mobility, Liquidity and History in Shakespeare’s Mediterranean

Rui Carvalho Homem

‘crusadoes’, 9 the importance of mobility and money in the imaginative processing of the Mediterranean by an English playwright whose work has generated a global academic industry. Such factors will largely be taken for granted in the following pages, and

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Stretching Money to Pay the Bills

Temporal Modalities and Relational Practices of ‘Getting By’ in the Greek Economic Crisis

Andreas Streinzer

, spend time to save money, save money to make it on time and worry about where they are heading in time. Based on ethnographic fieldwork between February 2014 and July 2015, this article uses the case of Kalypso and her extended family to analyse the ways

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From Cutting to Fading

A Relational Perspective on Marriage Exchange and Sociality in Rural Gambia

Tone Sommerfelt

Based on 21 months of field research on the northern bank of the Gambia River, this study deals with ceremonial exchange and sociality among rural Wolof speakers. In exploring the procurement and distribution of bridal trousseaus, I examine the process of exchange that shapes and limits these potentially endless affinal networks and analyze the social forms that arise from these complex sets of transfers. It is argued that redistributions of objects and money do not establish definite boundaries around units based on categorical exclusion and inclusion, but rather gradual distinctions of social proximity. In effect, I question the appropriateness of the concept of the 'cutting' of networks in this West African setting, proposing instead that 'fading' paints a clearer picture of the particular ways in which affinal networks are limited and relationships are rendered recognizable.

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When Time is Money

Contested Rationalities of Time in the Theory and Practice of Work

Barbara Adam

At the beginning of the twenty-first century work has attained a new local and global quality. Localised and individualised efficiency deals are established where previously standards would have been set nationally and bargained for collectively. At the same time, work is negotiated in the context of a global labour market and global competition: the world, not nations, is the market where labour is traded and the fate of much future work sealed. Electronic communication, low transport costs and deregulated, unrestricted trade dissolved many of the boundaries that used to delimit the competition for work on the one hand, the negotiations over conditions on the other. Since the leading industrial nations have committed themselves to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the rules set out by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it is difficult for any nation to extricate itself from the logic of the competitive global market. ‘At a world level’, as Hans-Peter Martin and Harald Schumann (1997: 7) point out, ‘more than 40,000 transnational corporations of varying shapes and sizes play off their own employees (as well as different nation states) against one another.’ There are always workers somewhere else able and willing to do the job cheaper than North Americans or North/West Europeans.