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The Veblenian Predator and Financial Crises: Money, Fraud, and a World of Illusion


  • John Henry


An issue raised regarding recent fraudulent activities in the financial sector of the economy is whether fraud is systemic, thus part and parcel of observed financial instability, or of a less important, ancillary nature that can be controlled through effective regulation. Examining the issue from the perspective of a monetary production economy, with particular reference to Veblenian predation, assists in positioning the issue to allow closer analysis of fraud and its place within the economic order. Recent work undertaken by anthropologists reinforces our understanding of money, predation, and fraudulent behavior. This paper concludes that while fraud is not necessary for monetary profit creation — indeed, fraud cannot generate profits in the aggregate — the evolution of capitalism, with its growing emphasis on monetary gain, increasingly systematizes fraud as a normal function.

Suggested Citation

  • John Henry, 2012. "The Veblenian Predator and Financial Crises: Money, Fraud, and a World of Illusion," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(4), pages 989-1006.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:46:y:2012:i:4:p:989-1006
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624460408

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Mesly & David W. Shanafelt & Nicolas Huck, 2020. "Dysfunctional markets: A spray of prey perspective," Working Papers of BETA 2020-34, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    2. Olivier Mesly & David W. Shanafelt & Nicolas Huck, 2020. "From wheel of fortune to wheel of misfortune: Financial crises, cycles and consumer predation," Working Papers of BETA 2020-35, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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