Money and Society

Foto von Mirza Babic auf Unsplash

Societies have developed money as a computational unit in order to denote common value. But money is not just an economic means of payment. It is also a form of symbolic communication with which societal relationships are negotiated: What is worth how much to whom? Who can give something up, who gets a little more? Does our money still correspond to the things we as a society collectively value? When money is discussed and allocated, views, opinions, and values become evident.

However, though money affects every single person, it remains a black box for many. The practices and contexts underlying the distribution and flow of money as well as interest and inflation are often insufficiently explained. Knowledge about money (or the lack thereof) is an example of the general uncoupling within public perception of economic structures from the developments of civil society and culture. Economic relationships are often seen as something separated from society. This is particularly significant given the current transition from cash to digital money which is part of a profound renegotiation of the power dynamic between the public and private sectors. Society is at a historic crossroads. It can choose to enable or to hinder changes toward a more socially just and ecologically sustainable economic system. But this transition is seldom discussed in public.

The Research Group “Money and Society” aims to change this and to link economic aspects with cultural ones. Just as the material form of money affects all sectors of society – from multinational corporations to pocket money, from art to the stock exchange – the understanding of digital money, too, is significant for all scientific disciplines, from physics and data science to philosophy and law, and political science and pedagogy. In the coming years, the Research Group plans to scientifically intensify this understanding and to engage in constructive dialogue with the public and with political institutions. Their goal is to develop a concept of a form of money suitable for organising a socially and ecologically just society.


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