The Fictitious Commodification of Money and the Euro Experiment

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This paper examines money, the least theorized of Polanyi’s fictitious commodities, whose value to human’s livelihood warrants extensive regulatory oversight in the price-setting mechanism. In doing so, it contributes to the scholarship that explores the variegated nature of countermovements which can be engendered by unforseen agents deploying various means, often market-based. In light of extensive central bank intervention in the economy, Polanyi’s claim about the fictitious character of money deserves credence. This paper
argues that the non-conventional policy instrument of quantitative easing in the Eurozone serves the function of protecting society from the commodity fiction of money. The ECB’s lender of last resort function is a quintessential counter-measure akin to those extended to labour and land. Yet, despite its protective disposition, the ECB‘s involvement in managing the currency does not engender a double movement, it rather faces political limits in engendering indiscriminate macro-economic stabilization across an increasingly polarized monetary union.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29
Number of pages42
JournalCulture, Practice & Europeanization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Polanyi
  • European Central Bank
  • Monetary Policy
  • Countermovements
  • Fictitious Commodities


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