What in everyday life is an obvious truth, namely, that in some sense or another, people want money— is basically unthinkable in economic terms. Herein lies the starting point for the main argument of this book. If desire for money in itself is rejected by economic thought, then an idea of money as on object of desire is a point of departure for an elaboration of a comprehensive alternative to contemporary economics. Conceiving the desire for money not as an pathological aberration (“greed”) but as fundamental economic reality necessitates a radial shift not only in concept of money but also in conceptions of what commodity is, what economic behavior is, and what the economy is. So, what would economics look like if it acknowledged desire for money?
Through the works of Thorstein Veblen, Georg Simmel, Max Weber and Karl Marx, a philosopher Noam Yuran in intellectually engaging manner shows in What Money Wants: An Economy of Desire (Stanford University Press, 2014) how money permeates economic reality, from finance to its spectacular double in our consumer economy of addictive shopping. Rich in colorful and accessible examples, from Charles Dickens (juxtapositing him with Adam Smith) to Reality TV, this outstanding book debunks the mainstream economics perspective and lays out a radically different economic ontology.
Prof. Keith Hart: “When I read this book, I am alternately thrilled and enlightened, confused and frustrated… You just might be reading one of the formative tracts of our time.”
Prof. Arjun Appadurai: “A brilliant book.”