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Hospitality versus Exchange: The Limits of Monetary Economies


  • Stephanie Bell
  • John Henry


This paper attempts to specify theoretically the origins of money. Rather than the exchange-based view of neoclassical economists where money is seen as a transaction cost-reducing instrument (and where exchange itself is asserted to be a universal phenomenon), we argue that money is a social relationship, specifically a debt relationship, that emerges with propertied, class society. "Primitive" (pre-class) society could not generate money, as the rule of hospitality, universally practiced among such organizations, precluded debt and the self-interested behavior that is consistent with debt. Adopting the Chartalist position on the matter, we show that money is symptomatic of privilege, of inequality, of economic and political power.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Bell & John Henry, 2001. "Hospitality versus Exchange: The Limits of Monetary Economies," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(2), pages 203-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:59:y:2001:i:2:p:203-226
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760110036166

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Parguez, A. & Seccareccia, M., 1999. "A Credit Theory of Money: The Monetary Circuit Approach," Working Papers 9902e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    2. Knapp, Georg Friedrich, 1924. "The State Theory of Money," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number knapp1924.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alla Semenova & L. Randall Wray, 2015. "The Rise of Money and Class Society: The Contributions of John F. Henry," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_832, Levy Economics Institute.
    2. Stephanie Bell & John Henry & L Randall Wray, 2004. "A Chartalist Critique of John Locke's Theory of Property, Accumulation, and Money: or, is it Moral to Trade Your Nuts for Gold?," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(1), pages 51-65.
    3. Todorova, Zdravka, 2014. "From Monetary Theory of Production to Culture-Nature Life Process:Feminist-Institutional Elaborations of Social Provisioning," MPRA Paper 54681, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Chartalism; Debt; Exchange; Hospitality; Money; Property;


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