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Burning MoneyThe Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld$
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C. Fred Blake

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835323

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835323.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see http://www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 July 2018

Value

Value

Chapter:
(p.198) Chapter 9 Value
Source:
Burning Money
Author(s):

C. Fred Blake

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835323.003.0010

This chapter examines the capacity of paper money to realize different notions of value as a phenomenon of exchange. It first compares burning money with kula and potlatch and considers how paper money differs from “spirit money,” or spirit favors that include forms of “real money.” It then discusses social economy and how it relates to the way value is produced, along with Karl Marx's concept of commodity and money fetish. It suggests that the Chinese custom of burning paper money may be viewed as a fetishization of a protracted historical formation based on agrarian forces and relations of production. It describes the money-burning custom as a sacrificial offering that upheld this agrarian formation by the very people whose sacrifice of labor power made the whole thing possible.

Keywords:   paper money, value, exchange, spirit money, social economy, fetishization, paper-money burning, sacrifice, kula, potlatch

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