Futuribles Journal n° 422

Économie, emploi - Institutions

Towards the Foresight Study of Money


The economic crisis of 2007-08, which arose out of the subprime mortgage scandal in the USA and which the developed nations are still struggling to overcome ten years later, caused a real crisis of confidence in banks and financial institutions. This question of trust in the institutions that govern the financial system is still critical today. And yet, as Thierry Gaudin reminds us here, money developed historically to ensure the functioning of trade and individuals’ confidence in it, and thus enable societies to develop economically. At least, that was the prevailing reality until money became an objective instrument of power — in the hands of the banks, but also at the core of national government policy and international political action. This historical re-reading of the role of money and the institutions responsible for its management raises questions about the ultimate purpose of the financial community: is it to play a role in economic development, to serve the interests of the powerful, or simply to enrich the financiers? And, given recent technological developments (credit cards, payment on line or by phone etc.), what are the prospects now for the monetary instrument and for the ends — or the people — it serves? Does it still inspire confidence at a time when we are seeing recurrent fears of a new major crisis?

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