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Money Games: Currencies and Power in the Contemporary World Economy

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A well-known cliché has it that “money makes the world go round” Certainly, monetary arrangements, specifically exchange-rate mechanisms, can serve to show the degree to which markets and states intersect to direct the workings of the world economy. It is common to assume that the singular model over recent decades has been a neoliberal one based on independent floating exchange rates. I challenge this assumption by showing that a number of different combinations of money and power have operated in the recent past, creating a number of distinctive “money games”. Only one of these, the globalist/transnational, is facing a particularly severe crisis. The others, what I term the classic/territorial, integrative/shared, and imperialist/substitute provide available alternatives. The recent history, geographical features, and future prospects of the various money games are the main concerns of the essay. The analysis welcomes the recent financial crisis as providing an opportunity to further pluralize political-economic visions beyond the perceived dominant one-size-fits-all neoliberal ideology of the globalist regime.

Keywords: exchange rates; money games; power

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, UCLA, Los Angeles CA, USA;, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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