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Money and Modern Life

by: Josef Mechure

Money and Modern Life SOC 110

Marketplace > University of Washington > Sociology > SOC 110 > Money and Modern Life
Josef Mechure
GPA 3.3
Survey Sociology

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How money is incorporated in our society. How money is used in exchange for trust and obligation. How money is given a value to barter.
Survey Sociology
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Josef Mechure on Thursday February 12, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 110 at University of Washington taught by Wender in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 73 views. For similar materials see Survey Sociology in Sociology at University of Washington.


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Date Created: 02/12/15
212 Money and Modern Life 0 How has money transformed modern social structures and social relations Georg Simmel quotMoney in Modern Culturequot pp 243255 in Simmel on Culture Selected Writings eds David Frisby and Mike Featherstone London Sage 1997 Today39s Exoticizing the Familiar 0 quotDo you know how much I paid for thisquot 0 quotThat s pricelessquot Papers Due 220 0 The why and how of the rst paper Money and its implications in Society 0 Trading time for money 0 Putting dollar value on your time 0 Putting a dollar value from your rst to your last breathe o What is it worth 0 The dollar value of college education Quanti able college transaction Can you put a price tag on it o Translating quality into quantity Taking the in nite riches of things and reducing it to a number 0 ln premodern society personal identity was closely bound to a speci c time and place Less freedom but very predictable Subjective personal identity depended closely on local objective conditions 0 In modern society personal identity is disconnected from a speci c time and place More freedom but less predictable Thus modern subjective identity becomes more independent of local conditions Simmel39s thesis money plays a fundamental role in this modernizing process 0 Why Because money dissolves the natural organic connection between people and property 0 The sense of who we are is determined by the community we are in Barter Economy no xed exchange medium Direct exchange of one thing for another People must transact directly and locally 0 Based on trust and equalsimilar understanding of value 0 Local and independent on trust 0 Money economy xed exchange medium interposed between people and property People can transact indirectly with distant strangers 0 Anonymous 0 Money leads to more impersonal social relations because exchange becomes an abstract anonymous process 0 Money both separates and connects people ownership at a distance but with total anonymity Money reduces the need for trust and diminishes obligation 0 Money as an abstract medium of exchange 0 Trust and obligation go down with the use of money 0 A new kind of freedom and independence arise social relations become expressible wholly in terms of money 0 But this comes at a very high price impersonality and alienation 0 Possible to be alienated from a group or society 0 Possible to even be alienated from yourself Working at a low paying job with no intrinsic value Taking your time and selling it for money Are there parts of your life that are not for sale 0 Money can39t by happiness love What happens to alienation when we put a dollar value on something Ultimate forms of alienation Prostitution love is turned into a market commodity Slavery buy and sell people into a market commodity Where everything can be turned into a market transaction 0 The two con icting streams of modern society increasing interdependence of strangers but with decreasing mutua obligation We owe each other nothing beyond basic civility and thus are free to pursue our selfinterest quotBut how often does this very freedom mean a vapidity of life and a loosening of its substancequot 248 Vapid at dead 0 Money transforms the nature of value WHAT something is worth is reduced to HOW MUCH it is worth 0 Money thus allows us to assign everything a quantitative value and thus destroys the uniqueness of things What is the monetary value of time Of life 0 The very medium that enables us to get whatever we simultaneously devaues these things 0 The quotblas attitudequot bored unimpressed insensitive weary and disgusted The quotwhateverquot attitude that is indifferent toward everything 0 Money becomes an end itself rather than a means to an end


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