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2011/2012  KAN-CMF_F34  What is Money? – The Philosophy of Money, Prices and Finance

English Title
What is Money? – The Philosophy of Money, Prices and Finance

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course Period Spring
Changes in course schedule may occur Tuesday 12.35-15.10, week 6,8-16
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy
Course Coordinator
  • Ole Bjerg - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy
Secretary Karina Ravn Nielsen/ Lucie Alexanian - electives.lpf@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Philosophy and philosophy of science
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Financial and management accounting
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
The main purpose of the course is to enable students to reflect philosophically, sociologically and historically about the nature and functioning of money. This includes expanding their economic imagination, i.e. to transcend mainstream thinking about money in their approach to economic and financial problems.
What is Money? – The Philosophy of Money, Prices and Finance:
Assessment Home Assignment
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship Internal examiners
Exam Period May/June
Aids Open Book, Written and Electronic Aid is permitted
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below

Group essay - 1-3 students, self-chosen theme. Length of essay: 10 pages for one student, 5 pages additional for each extra student, i.e. 15 pages for 2 students.
Course Content

The most difficult things to think about are often the ones that are closest to us and most taken for granted. This principle applies very much to the issue of money. We use money every day and money is a key component in many of our interactions with other people as well as in our perceptions of the things surrounding us. Nevertheless, the fundamental nature and functioning of money remains for the most part taken for granted. This is the case even in many disciplines in economics. The purpose of this course is to enable students to question and reflect upon our taken for granted ideas about money.

The course present a number of different perspectives on the understanding of money and the analysis of phenomenon related to money. These perspectives are presented in the form of sociological and philosophical theories as well as in the form of empirical analysis.


These are some of the themes to be addressed in the course:


Money in Financial Markets

How can we approach financial markets as objects of philosophical and sociological study? Which kinds of knowledge are involved in financial trading? What is the philosophical background of the notion of market efficiency? What is the relation between philosophical and financial speculation?

From Capitalism to Financialism

What are the societal implications, when economic organisation comes to revolve around financial markets? What is the historical background for the emergence of financial capitalism?


What is a price? How do prices emerge? What is the relation between value and price?

Money and Gambling

What is the difference between gambling and other forms of economic interaction? What happens to money in gambling?

Money and Art

How has questions of money been dealt with in the world of art? What happens to money, when they become piece of an art work? How does money function in the constitution of an object as a piece of art?

Alternative Currencies

How is money created in our contemporary system of currency? What are the alternatives to this system? How do local currencies function?

Teaching Methods
The course is a combination of different forms of teaching: Traditional lecturing, case based teaching and student exercises.

The course literature includes excerpts from the following works:


Bjerg, O. (2011). Poker - The Parody of Capitalism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Goodchild, P. (2007): Theology of Money. Canterbury Press Norwich

Greco, T. (2001): Money - understanding and creating alternatives to legal tender. Chelsea Green

Greta R. Kippner (2005), “The Financialization of the American Economy”, Socio-Economic Review, 3, 173-.

Lawrence E. Mitchell (2009), “The Morals of the Marketplace: A Cautionary Essay for Our Time”, Stanford Law & Policy Review, 20, 171-.

MacKenzie, D. (2006). An Engine, Not a Camera. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2008.

Robert B. Reich (2007), “Supercapitalism”, New York: Random House,

Samuelson, P. A. (1965). Proof that properly anticipated prices fluctuate randomly. Management Review, 6.

Simmel, G.: The Philosophy of Money.

Zaloom, C. (2006). Out of the pits: Traders and technology from Chicago to London. University of Chicago Press.

Zelizer, Viviana. The Social Meaning of Money. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.