Financial value: Economic, moral, political, global

Horacio Ortiz


Based on participant observation, this paper analyzes the professional everyday of employees of the financial industry. For them, giving financial value to a social activity means determining technically the monetary revenue that can be obtained from it. But it also means including it in a hierarchy of access to credit, according to liberal moral and political considerations found in financial regulation and financial theory, aiming to create efficient markets where individual investors would meet, leading to an optimal allocation of global monetary resources. Thus, this case shows that everyday practice in the financial industry challenges the opposition, found in Weber and in neo-liberalism, between an economic value (in the singular) and moral and political values (in the plural). Following Mauss and current trends in the anthropology of money, the paper concludes that the concept of value should not be an analytic tool, but is part of the object we study, as one of the ways in which the people observed make sense of their own practice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau3.1.005