Paleo-Futures of Cashless Payments

Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo, Leonidas Efthymiou

    Research output: Working paper

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    In this paper we seek to add to our understanding of elements that are likely to determine the future of cash as well as cashless payment systems. Our analysis begins in medieval Europe while examining how legal tender and fiat money was imposed on people during the primitive accumulation era (Marx, [1887] 2015), which marks the transition to a market economy. Paper money played a central role in the transformation of socio-economic relations as part of the imposition of wage labour upon self-producing, self-sufficient and self-provisioning populations, encompassing a set of forces that permanently reproduce accumulation and capital’s existence (Bonefeld, 2001; De Angelis, 2001; Perelman, 2001). Following this broader conception of primitive accumulation, we trace its practices in Fordism and post-Fordism to explain how the emergence of a cashless/checkless economy results not only from technological change and a drive for cost efficiency within financial institutions, but also results from economic restructuring, labour de-skilling and general changes in the social and cultural landscape. We content that market forces as well as government policy have contributed to the diffusion and adoption of cashless means of payment, within an intensifying automation and mobilisation of daily life where digital money is likely to outpace cash, resembling the way cash was imposed on self-producers in the primitive accumulation era.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusIn preparation - 2021


    • primitive accumulation
    • money
    • Power
    • cash
    • automation
    • Digitisation


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