By David A. Westbrook
David A. Westbrook argues that we are living in "the urban of gold"--a worldwide, cosmopolitan polity the place politics are performed via markets, and the place worldwide capital markets, no longer states, became the dominant strength in our social existence.
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Additional info for City of Gold: An Apology for Global Capitalism in a Time of Discontent
After considerable efforts on the part of the British government, led intellectually and diplomatically by John Maynard Keynes, and the United States government, led especially by the Treasury Department in the person of Harry Dexter White, two conferences were held, attended by representatives from many countries. The first, held at Atlantic City in the spring of 1944, was mostly technical. The second was held in June of 1944 at the Bretton Woods Hotel, in the shadow of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
Without private property, the shared economic interests of certain groups (which we tend to call special interests, and Madison called factions) could not be used to block the tendency of the state to become tyrannical. 14 Would property be used to increase the number of factions, and so neutralize the power of any one faction, as Madison had suggested? Or would solidarity be used to preclude faction? The answer to this question turned on a still deeper question, which can only be considered a question of faith.
We all know, at some very basic and empirical level, what money is: it is a thing. Money often appears as rectangles of green and white paper, with complex printing, or an assortment of metal disks. We know what money is in ways akin to which a child announces that a black thing with something green around its neck is a dog, that is, her dog, wearing a collar. But this is merely the all-too-human tendency to mistake our particular impressions for general experience. We see the embodiments of money that we use, or what monetary aficionados call specie (coins containing precious metal), really no more than crude fetishes that locate the complexities of money in something tangible, and think we understand the nature of money itself.