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Research Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG)

Current Affairs Lecture - The Political Economy of Bitcoin

When:Tu 09-02-2021 14:30 - 16:00


Based on the theoretical understanding of money as a social relation, this talk presents a comprehensive analysis of Bitcoin as a technical and monetary artefact, including its political economy, historical background, underlying ideas, and conditions of possibility. Among other things, it shows why Bitcoin is unable to establish itself as an alternative to the current monetary system as it does not meet elementary requirements of money, despised by the neoliberal ideology that sustains it. That is, despite its declared search for a substitution of world money, for monetary stability against the supposedly ‘inflationary’ state money and for ‘depoliticization’, decentralization and deconcentration of monetary power, what is empirically observed is precisely the opposite: low volume and range of circulation, great instability against state money, transactional (economic, ecological etc.) inefficiency and greater relative concentration of political and economic power among its users. In the end, the non-fulfilment of the radical neoliberal aspirations of Bitcoin shows that the attempt by its creators and enthusiasts of emptying money of its social content, i.e., to ‘neutralize’ it, in capitalism, is not feasible.

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Meeting ID: 898 7750 3416
Passcode: 769943

This lecture will be given by Prof. Edemilson Paraná. Edemilson is an assistant professor at the Department of Social Sciences/Graduate Program in Sociology (acting as deputy director) at the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil, and an assistant professor at the Graduate Program in Comparative Studies on the Americas at the University of Brasília, Brazil. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Departments of Economics and Latin American Studies of the University of Brasília and as a research fellow at The Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA). He has a PhD in Sociology by the University of Brasília, with a visiting researcher period at SOAS/University of London. Has articles and publications in the areas of Economic Sociology, Political Economy and Social Theory, and is also the author of the books ‘Digitalized Finance: financial capitalism and informational revolution’ (Brill, 2019/Haymarket, 2020) and ‘Money and Social Power: a study on Bitcoin’ (Brill, forthcoming).

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This lecture will be moderated by Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn, who is an Assistant Professor of International Political Economy, at the University of Groningen. His research focuses on global and regional governance, international finance, non-state actors, science and technology.

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