SOAS University of London

Prof. Costas Lapavitsas Inaugural Lecture: Money, The Invisible Bind

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Costas Lapavitsas
Professor Costas Lapavitsas

Date: 3 December 2015Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 3 December 2015Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Open Inaugural Lecture

Money is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious of economic phenomena. It has a deeply contradictory nature the analysis of which calls for much more than economics. Thus dollars, euros and pounds are commonplace things carried in people’s pockets, but also highly complex relations registered in the books of financial institutions. They are able to bind individuals utterly foreign to each other, and equally able to split asunder entire families.

Money is also the most political of economic phenomena. This invisible glue that holds together contemporary economic, social and familial life is produced largely through the economic operations of private banks. And yet, its acceptability depends entirely on the fiat of the state. Modern money rests on the central bank and its policies, and thus comprises an element of the national identity. What would being British be without the pound?

This domestic political force can subdue entire nations when it moves to the world market. The dollar is the backbone of US imperial power. The euro has become the unspoken arbiter of hierarchy among the nations of the European Union, tying entire nations to the fiction of “European-ness”. Could contemporary societies transcend the invisible bind?

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Professor Costas Lapavitsas Inaugural Lecture: Money, The Invisible Bind

Costas Lapavitsas has taught economics at SOAS since 1990 and has done research on the political economy of money and finance, the Japanese economy, the history of economic thought, economic history, and the contemporary world economy. Since 2010 his research interests have focused on the Eurozone crisis and the work he has produced, including with a group of researchers at Research on Money and Finance at SOAS, has had considerable impact on the European debate and policy making. His longer-term research interests, however, have been on the financialisation of capitalism, its characteristic trends, variable forms and manifold implications for contemporary society. His work on financialisation has become standard reference in the literature. Finally, during 2015 he was elected as a Member of Parliament in Greece.

Costas Lapavitsas has published widely in the academic field, and writes frequently for the international and the Greek press. His most recent books include:

‘Against the Troika’, with H. Flassbeck, Verso 2015
‘Profiting Without Producing’, Verso, 2013.
‘Crisis in the Eurozone’, Verso, 2012, together with several RMF researchers.

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