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Lecture explores the philosophy of money

Tue, 4 Dec 2012

The current economic crisis is the result of an historical shift in attitudes towards money, according to an academic at the University of East Anglia.

A lecture on Thursday given by Dr Davide Rizza will look at the difference between the functional and psychological attitudes towards money and how they have changed in modern history.

The event is the last in a series of public lectures and debates organised by the School of Philosophy that have explored whether philosophy could help economists untangle the world’s financial crisis.

The functional attitude identifies money as a method of regulating exchange, but since at least the 18th century this has been superseded by the psychological attitude, which sees money as an expression of creative power, something Dr Rizza says is problematic.

“Because it could be used to promote different activities, from the financing of revolutions to the supporting of economic growth, money has often been endowed with remarkable qualities, which, however, did not stop decline and financial crises,” said Dr Rizza.

“We can understand the current financial crisis, its predictability and its striking similarity to earlier crises, if we look at it as a result of an historical shift from money as an expression of value to money as an expression of creative power. When growth comes to be seen as a consequence of this power's expansion, the belief that needs and prosperity can be reduced to a manipulation of money is easily established. If manipulation, in turn, must be as unconstrained as possible to reveal its power, one also finds a natural argument in favour of deregulation.”

Dr Rizza’s lecture, ‘What money can do for you: insights from the philosophy of money’ takes place on Thursday December 6 at 6.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2, UEA, Norwich. The event is free to attend and all are welcome.

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