Money versus system integration concepts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter looks beyond the invisible hand metaphor to related debates on whether social and system integration is an automatic result. Some analysts of Smith suggest that no automatic link can be found; by the mid-twentieth century, sociology explored prospects for harmony by stressing possible tensions between the two levels of integration (e.g. “system and lifeworld” tensions). However, my concern is that neither concept (invisible hand or integration) incorporates money as a social relation. The result is that major systemic conflicts over the production of money are neglected; conflicts that, evidence shows, compromise the chances of social integration as well. Such omissions of social level conflicts over money’s value (or its stability and so on) that play their own role, although affected by the relative control over money by private banks or by nation-states, limit analysis. Macro concepts are weakened if money is assumed as a mere addition, given that its order or disorder can produce tendencies to inflation or savage deflation. These tendencies can overwhelm any other harmony achieved at social and system levels (households, labour markets and production of goods and services) to the point where dangers of disintegration and depression are apparent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociology of the invisible hand
EditorsAdriana Mica, Katarzyna M. Wyrzykowska, Rafał Wiśniewski, Iwona Zielińska
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783631710432, 9783653067729, 9783631710449
ISBN (Print)9783631672327
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Social Sciences, Philosophy and History of Ideas
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Print)2196-0151


  • social integration
  • system integration
  • theories of money
  • banking sectors
  • money's disorders


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