“The Monetarization of Everything: Gifted Credit, Commercial Exchange, and the Transition to Capitalism in the United States”
Michael Merrill, Empire State College
“The Monetarization of Everything” is concerned with alternative forms of economic exchange and the pace and pattern of the transition to capitalism in the United States. “Capitalism” is defined as an economic system in which money is also a factor of production and therefore a source of value—i.e., a system in which money is capital. Prior to capitalism’s diffusion, the dominant means of exchange in the US was gifted credit. Nineteenth-century trend estimates of both the “gift economy” thus fostered and its monetary rival are offered, and the structural differences between them are compared with descriptive social account matrices.
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