Monetary Institutionalisms in the French-Speaking World, Lyon, June 2016

Monetary ideas in the French-speaking world were substantially renewed by research in the 1970s and 1980s and through the convergence of several strands of thought. Marxist, Keynesian and Circuitist approaches gave rise to work that was strong on theory and increasingly multidisciplinary. Some of that work made a lasting mark: Marchands, salariat et capitalisme (Benetti and Cartelier, 1980), La violence de la monnaie (Aglietta and Orléan, 1982), Nomismata (Servet, 1984) and Monnaie privée et pouvoir des princes (Boyer-Xambeu, Deleplace and Gillard, 1986). This work by economists, in converging around a conception of money as an institution and glancing against historical, anthropological and philosophical approaches, prompted the interest of a research community that was not satisfied with neoclassical micro- and macroeconomics, even in renewed and extended form.

Several directions were taken subsequently. The analytical power of Simmel was rediscovered (A propos de “Philosophie de l’argent” de Georg Simmel, Grenier et al., 1993; Simmel et les normes sociales, Baldner and Gillard (eds), 1996). Trust became the subject of much research (La construction sociale de la confiance, Bernoux and Servet (eds), 1997; La confiance en question, Laufer and Orillard (eds), 2000), as did sovereignty in its relation to money and finance (Régimes économiques de l’ordre politique, Théret, 1992).

The early 1990s thus gave rise to multi-author, interdisciplinary work that then powered a series of seminar cycles from 1993 on. These spawned a succession of multi-author works on new institutional approaches to money: Souveraineté, légitimité, confiance (Aglietta and Orléan (eds), 1995), La monnaie souveraine (Aglietta and Orléan (eds), 1998), La monnaie dévoilée par ses crises (Théret (ed.), 2007), La monnaie contre l’Etat ? La souveraineté monétaire en question (Théret (ed.), forthcoming). The series continues today with the tension between the singular and plural character of money (Blanc and Théret (eds), 2013–2015). Around this central framework for the construction of monetary institutionalisms in the French-speaking world other work has been done that is fed by and feeds into it (e.g. L’argent des anthropologues, la monnaie des économistes, Ould Ahmed et al. (eds), 2008).

This colloquium is to review this series of works, to identify the fruitful pathways that new researchers have chosen to follow and also the dead-ends and the directions untraveled. The colloquium is also an opportunity to question scholars and practitioners about their intellectual backgrounds, to prompt work in terms of the history of ideas on this monetary institutionalism and mobilise thinking on the fringes of this dynamic: What connections should (not) be made with other monetary heterodoxies? Where might French-speaking monetary institutional approaches fit within the international concert of monetary heterodoxies – Post Keynesian, Circuitist, Neo-Chartalist, Neo-Marxist, Gesellian Neo-Proudhonist, Latin-American structuralist – and within the approaches to economics and money proposed by political economy, and economic anthropology and sociology? This question relates just as much to the theoretical principles that might divide these various approaches as to their common points of reference. Are there incompatible postulates, concepts and methods that have led to divergence and that cannot be reduced or, on the contrary, do they share common foundations?