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The Empire of ValueA New Foundation for Economics$
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André Orléan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026970

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026970.001.0001

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A New Approach to Value

A New Approach to Value

(p.141) 5 A New Approach to Value
The Empire of Value

André Orléan

The MIT Press

Economic value, despite its mathematical appearance, is a kind of social power arising from the collective belief in a monetary object. By creating a common interest, the desire for money, value brings formerly isolated individuals together. A currency amounts at bottom to a promise of liquidity—hence the importance of confidence and trust in commercial affairs. The phenomenon of credit is examined with reference to Simmel, and the common emotion it presupposes is interpreted in terms of Spinoza's concept of power of the multitude. Durkheim's analysis of shared belief is important for identifying the link with religion. The liberal conception of money is criticized, and further evidence of the connection with religion found in the historical genesis of currencies and so-called monetary miracles. The idea of a fundamental value—of a “true” or “correct” price—no longer has any place in economic theory because it has been detached from price.

Keywords:   collective belief, common emotion, confidence, credit, fundamental value, monetary miracles, power of the multitude, religion

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