Re-Thinking Monetary Exchange: Some Lessons from England

Review of Social Economy, Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 317-338, 2010

Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Richard White

Richard White

Sheffield Hallam University

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This paper critically evaluates the recent shift away from a "thin" reading of monetary exchange, which views money transactions as universally market-like and profit-motivated, towards "thicker" readings of exchange, which identify the permeation of wider economic relations and not-for-profit logics. To do this, an empirical study is reported of what happens when money penetrates informal exchanges between family, friends and neighbours. The research findings lead to a more nuanced reading of monetary exchange being brought to light. The main finding is that the imagery and perception of paid informal transactions may be constructed and interpreted in "thin" terms by participants, even if the core motives and personal relations involved in paid mutual aid remain "thick." Significantly, while such a finding does not constitute a change in behaviour towards "thin" marker readings of economic exchange, it may explain why some people are dissuaded from undertaking paid mutual aid. In this way, while the paper does not reject the social and cultural embeddedness of economic exchange, it does serve to problematize the move towards thicker descriptions.

Keywords: informal economy, community self-help, mutual aid, gift-giving, Leicester

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

White, Richard and Williams, Colin, Re-Thinking Monetary Exchange: Some Lessons from England (2010). Review of Social Economy, Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 317-338, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702977

Richard White

Sheffield Hallam University ( email )

City Campus, Pond Street
Sheffield, S1 1WB
United Kingdom

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

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