Rousseauvian Money

52 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019

Date Written: May 15, 2018


I show that the intimate functional links among states, monies, and financial systems, ubiquitous across history and geography as they are, are not accidental. I do so by analytically 'deriving' first the polity, then money and finance, from a temporally extended implicit covenant that is both grounded in and facilitative of ongoing joint agency among persons. This lends to state and money alike their shared normative and, once formally systematized, legal character. I indicate throughout how this shared genesis, function, and normative character keep state, money, and ultimately finance practically ‘joined at the hip,’ and manifest how polity and economy, indeed our political and productive selves, are thus joined as well. To recognize and to ‘own’ this, I conclude, is in a sense finally to own our own selves.

Keywords: Capital, Collective Action, Collective Agency, Credit, Currency, Economy, Exchange, Exchange Economy, Finance, Financial System, General Will, Joint Agency, Money, Monies, Polity, Production, Republic, Republicanism, Rousseau

Suggested Citation

Hockett, Robert C., Rousseauvian Money (May 15, 2018). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 18-48, Available at SSRN: or

Robert C. Hockett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

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