Abstract and Keywords
The analysis of money was impaired by the disciplinary separation of economics and sociology following the Methodenstreit. Sociology abnegated responsibility for its study to economics, which treated it as a relatively unimportant “neutral veil” over the operation of the “real” economy. Weber worked to overcome the disciplinary balkanization, but ironically this has led to a neglect of his contributions to the analysis of money’s role in capitalism. For example, The Religion of China opens with an account of the underdeveloped monetary system and its inhibitory impact on the development of capitalism. Money is an essential element in the instrumental rationality in modern Western capitalism’s vast impersonal markets and rational capital accounting of profitability in the enterprise. Money prices which enable rational calculation can only be established when money is a “weapon in the struggle for economic existence” and not merely a “neutral” economic medium of exchange. Consequently, administered prices in command and socialist economies inhibit rationality and efficiency.
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