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Uncanny exchanges: The possibilities and failures of 'making change' with alternative monetary forms

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1068/d342
Abstract

In most standard accounts, modern money depends on its function as the general equivalent. Equivalence, in turn, rotates around a specific numerological metaphysics, including the concept of zero and the algebraic function. Yet, rarely are the mathematics of equivalence subject to critical scrutiny. In this paper I explore contemporary alternative numerologies of money and finance. The alternatives that I consider are a US local scrip currency and transnational Islamic finance experiments. My data come from fieldwork in Ithaca, New York, and from research among Islamic finance specialists devising new financial products. I am interested in how these alternatives make explicit the moral form of the mathematics of the general equivalent.

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