Leander Bindewald, Independent researcher and consultant
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, the advent of so-called cryptocurrencies challenged policymakers and financial regulators to evaluate the legal status of these innovations and other novel forms of payment. This also required them to revisit and explicate their definition of “money” and “currency” in general. The answers remained far from satisfactory for innovators and critical theorists alike. To improve this situation, I employ discursive institutionalism (Schmidt 2008) as an ontology for “money” and “currency” that makes these concepts analytically accessible through the grammar of institutions (Crawford and Ostrom 1995). To demonstrate this, Bank of England publications between 1970 and 2017 were examined for constituent statements about money and currency, and those from the 30 most recent texts were parsed by their ADICO components. The results illustrate a mismatch between the normative weight and (lack of) logic consistency of basic monetary definitions in such authoritative texts. In the case of the Bank of England, this also highlighted a conflict between two of their explicit mandates: safeguarding the public’s trust in Pound Sterling while trying to educate an ever wider audience on monetary matters. In the face of impending financial, societal, and environmental crises, these findings underpin a call for legal reform of basic monetary terminology without which innovation, reform, and diversification towards a more democratic and sustainable financial system seem impossible (Bindewald 2021). (The research here presented was conducted as part of my Ph.D., granted by the University of Lancaster in 2018.) Website: www.criterical.net/grammar
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