Habermasian Lifeworld & Durkheimian Anomie: Legitimizing Currency

24 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2015

See all articles by Joseph Walton

Joseph Walton

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), College of Humanities & Sciences, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Students

Date Written: December 7, 2015


In this paper I consider the tension between Habermasian System and Lifeworld using as a proxy currency and monetary systems. Ancient and historic currency systems have been displaced in recent centuries by Systemic central banks and nationalized currencies. For the last several decades there is a concurrent global movement toward denationalized currency systems – complementary currencies – which are reclaiming the Lifeworld aspects of commerce. More so, in just the last few years, a particular denationalized currency which spans the globe has arisen in the form of cryptocurrency (contemporarily known as Bitcoins).

I argue in this paper that the emergence of complementary currency systems and a global denationalized currency all of which central banker systems have viewed with skepticism but which have rapidly gained traction among individual users is a significant manifestation of Jürgen Habermas’s Lifeworld resisting the System.

Furthermore, I predict complementary currency systems will be displaced by a single global denationalized currency. While current complementary currencies are intended to be hyper-local, the quintessence they provide could be scaled. A global denationalized currency like cryptocurrency can provide the homogeneity and Lifeworld characteristics needed for widespread adoption and ultimately displacement of central bank currencies.

Finally, I suggest central bank currency systems have subtly fostered Durkheim’s Anomie to which complementary currencies have appeal as an antidote. This is an area in which only limited academic reflection has occurred.

For future study I posit the ultimate currency could be a global one based on inputs or outputs of: energy, carbon, time, water or some other inherently human or life representation. These are fundamentally present-life values and do not take into account teaching and education which is needed as well.

Keywords: currency, monetary, policy, fiat, denationalized, community currency, central bank, complementary currency, Habermas, Lifeworld, System, Anomie, Durkheim, Hayek, community development, local domestic product

Suggested Citation

Walton, Joseph, Habermasian Lifeworld & Durkheimian Anomie: Legitimizing Currency (December 7, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2708301 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2708301

Joseph Walton (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), College of Humanities & Sciences, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Students ( email )

United States

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