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I think it was Adam Smith who said that money is a matter of belief. Smith was no apologist for commerce. In tandem with Hume he was trying to analyse human behaviour.

I’d say these men got it about right and money is indeed a question of faith - faith in agreements, faith that they will stand up, faith that just by handing a person some paper or plastic you’ll be able to walk away with the goods.

Incredible really such a thing is even possible. But that’s belief for you: less a question of what’s true and more about what works. Things worked for a while there but then the bankers lost it and began to undermine their own sophistry.

Yes it would be helpful to see some retribution. Although, these cycles have a habit of repeating down the generations suggesting deeper strains are at play. Hume and Smith were radical here and instructive. Perhaps now would be a good time to revisit them.

the philosophy of money



commentary • 28.06.12