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Money: What Is It? How Should It Function?

From:Fr 01-11-2019
Until:Sa 02-11-2019
Where:Het Kasteel (Melkweg 1, Groningen), room 1.04

This conference brings together experts on the ontology, economics, ethics and politics of money to develop novel answers to questions such as these.

Speakers: Lennart Ackermans (Erasmus), Simon Boeke (Leiden), Eyja Brynjarsdóttir (University of Iceland), David Dick (Calgary), Mark Garron (York, Canada), Francesco Guala (Milan), Frank Hindriks (Groningen), Uskali Mäki (Helsinki), Garl David Mildenberger (St Gallen), Benjamin Neeser (Geneva), Asya Passinsky (Dartmouth) and Craig Warmke (Northern Illinois).

View full conference programme of The Money Workshop

Money used to be a simple thing in practice: a set of coins and notes. It was of course more complicated in theory, and scholars throughout history have discussed what it is that makes those coins and notes into money: certain natural properties (that are inherent in gold or silver) or certain social properties (being generally accepted and used or being backed by the state). While these discussions continue, over the last few decades money has also become more complicated in practice. Besides the old coins and notes, we now have electronic money of various sorts, including a large array of digital currencies such as Bitcoin. This is a good time to take the age-old philosophical discussions to a new and more complex level. Some of the puzzles that new forms of money raise are:

  • How can money have a virtual existence?
  • Can the institution of money function without state support and if so how?
  • Is it possible to develop a unified theory of commodity, fiat and electronic money?

The ontological issues here often lie close to normative issues and debates. For example:

  • Is there a moral right to choose whatever currency one wants?
  • Will new forms of money eventually violate the public’s trust in stability and justice?

Organizing institutions: the Financial Ethics Research Group of the University of Gothenburg; the Department of Financial Economics of the Faculty of Economics and Business; and the Centre for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) of the University of Groningen.

Organizing committee: Frank Hindriks, Joakim Sandberg, Marit de Jong