Install Theme

Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.

Sociological Images

Inspiring sociological imaginations everywhere.
May 8 '14

Money as a social construction.

We all know that, on some basic level, money is purely symbolic.  It only works because everyone collectively agrees to participate in the fantasy that a dollar bill is worth a dollar, whatever that is.  Moreover, most of our money these days is purely electronic, represented by ones and zeros and real only in the most abstract sense possible.

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post offered another way of thinking about money as a social construction: how much it costs to make it.  None of our coins are actually worth what they cost, and pennies and nickels are worth quite a bit less.

The excess cost of producing pennies and nickels means a budget deficit for the Treasury. In 2013, producing the coins cost the government $105 million dollars above and beyond the coins’ value.

Interestingly, moves to eliminate pennies have been successfully opposed by the zinc industry for years, illustrating another sociological phenomenon: the power of corporations to shape government decisions.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

  1. paradoxicaleffect reblogged this from socimages
  2. alttruist reblogged this from socimages
  3. pbno-j reblogged this from socimages
  4. coreomajoris reblogged this from schemingreader
  5. schemingreader reblogged this from socimages
  6. workerbeing reblogged this from lazy-native
  7. lazy-native reblogged this from socimages
  8. anthrochristianramsey reblogged this from socimages
  9. treeetunnels reblogged this from madmaudlingoes
  10. sweet-baby-blade-foot reblogged this from madmaudlingoes
  11. madmaudlingoes reblogged this from everbright-mourning
  12. handsmadeofemptyspaces reblogged this from tinyjoint
  13. ixche-l reblogged this from tinyjoint
  14. foreverneverended reblogged this from aintnopartylikealizparty
  15. natr99 reblogged this from socimages
  16. abandonthefort reblogged this from intellectualhedonist
  17. intellectualhedonist reblogged this from socimages
  18. apeacefullove reblogged this from thesocietypages-blog
  19. mexicita reblogged this from heychamone
  20. thesocietypages-blog reblogged this from socimages
  21. heychamone reblogged this from socimages
  22. manyfacepalms reblogged this from socimages
  23. ziemniakprinzessin reblogged this from socimages
  24. matwrightmusic reblogged this from socimages