Two Concepts of Money: Theory of Consciousness and Social Practice

Goldsmiths, University of London

Goldsmiths, University of London New Cross London SE14 6NW
Room: RHB 137a, Richard Hoggart Building
18 Dec 2019 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Speaker: Alfredo Pereira Jr. – São Paulo State University-Brasil



Title: Two Concepts of Money: Theory of Consciousness and Social Practice



The Projective Theory of Consciousness (Velmans, 1990; Pereira Jr., 2018) holds that cultural objects, such as money, are affectively laden projections of representations elaborated by the nervous system of persons, in a historical context. The classic concept of money (Money 1), discussed, among others, by Marx and Keynes, approaches money as a unit of transaction with material and intellectual property, backed on gold or other property-convertible commodity, which can be freely accumulated by physical and legal persons, as long as they obey a system of regulatory laws and pay the appropriate taxes to the sovereign state. From the 1960s, with the existentialist, libertarian and consumerist movements, a new concept of money emerged, as the basic income that enables people to develop their potential. The operationalization of this new concept becomes possible with contemporary information technology, by means of digital currencies that can be designated exclusively for specific social purposes, not for accumulation. From these two concepts, I make a practical proposal (see, in Portuguese language, two preprints: Pereira Jr., 2019; Pereira Jr. and Sousa, 2019) for countries facing a fiscal crisis impeding investment for human development: alongside the currently existing sovereign currency (Money 1), the issuance of state digital money (Money 2), intended to provide income for socially relevant activities that do not fall within the scope of the capitalist accumulation process. This currency forms a parallel state budget that be converted to the sovereign currency (Money 1) only upon the payment of taxes. In developed countries, one can also consider the creation of public banks aimed at financing social interest activities, as discussed by Brown (2019). The creation of this type of bank was recently the subject of a law approved in California (USA). With these initiatives, the people would have an alternative source of resources to finance their small scale entrepreneurial activities and sustain their quality of life, even in a global context of economic recession and state over-indebtedness, without putting pressure on the state budget (Money 1) and without generating inflation, because the social digital currency (Money 2) surplus is withdrawn from circulation upon payment of taxes.

Everyone is welcome and there is NO need to book/RSVP.

Brief Bio:

Alfredo Pereira Jr is Professor of Philosophy of Science at São Paulo State University (UNESP; 1988-present). Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at MIT (1996-98) and Visiting Researcher at the Universities of Zurich (2012), Copenhagen (2012) and Pavia (2015). He has published 200 papers and chapters, organized three books on consciousness (Springer, Routledge and Cambridge U.P.), and several discussion groups (including Nature Networks groups, 2007-2010).