Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Polanyi School of Anthropology on Money: An Economist's View

Melitz, Jacques (1970): The Polanyi School of Anthropology on Money: An Economist's View. Published in: American Anthropologist , Vol. 72, No. 5 (1970): pp. 1020-1040.

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Abstract

This paper questions the popular anthropological assumption that all purpose money rules in the West today. Contrary to the followers of Karl Polanyi in anthropology, modern as well as primitive money is special purpose money. It is argued further that serious difficulties and confusions arise from indiscriminate use of the term money to refer both to (1) media of exchange and means of payment and (2) units of account. Lastly, the scholarship and perspicacity of the Polanyist verdicts about economists' views in the area of money is disputed.

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