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whether in Ladakh merchants either stopped accepting “real” money orbegan accepting “forged” money. The difference between a banknote that works and a banknote that does not work is not in either the qualities of the banknote itself, nor in the fact that it is guaranteed by a state bank, but resides primarily in the attitude of the community toward that banknote— will the
person accept the banknote? The reaction of the community toward a banknote is not self-evident; it must be taken on trust, and thistrust is only justiﬁed once the banknote is passed on. Thus, the whole insti-tution of money depends on trusting in the other.In this chapter I develop and explore a Meadian conception of value,namely that the value of money and also of goods depends largely on theattitude of the other. This is done through an analysis of tourists buying sou- venirs in Ladakh from shopkeepers whom they do not trust. Speciﬁcally, Iexamine the representations that tourists have developed in order to masterthis problematic interaction, and argue that central to these representationsis the problem of determining who to trust, and who not to trust.
THE SOCIAL ORIGINS OF VALUE
Simmel (1900/1978) begins
The Philosophy of Money
by looking at thenature of value. Value, he argues, does not arise through either utility ordesire. Nonhuman animals may desire food, or use twigs to make a nest,but these things, Simmel states, do not have value for the animals con-cerned. He also disagrees with the economists who deﬁne the value of money in terms of the value of the material that comprises it, the cost of its production, or its rarity. For Simmel, to understand the value of money,one has to look beyond money itself and toward the matrix of socialexchange relations in which money is embedded. Value, for Simmel,arises through exchangeability, and money is used to measure thisexchangeability. However, the exchangeability of money can never becompletely guaranteed. One can never be sure beforehand that the next person one meets will accept the exchangeability of a certain money. Thisis why, Simmel (p. 179) asserts, money requires an “element of social-psy-chological quasi religious faith.”The history of money, as presented by Simmel (1900/1978), is a move-ment toward the increasing abstraction of money away from being a com-modity toward becoming a pure measure of credit, a “token.” That is tosay, money, as it becomes over the historical timeframe more abstract,decreasingly guarantees its own value, for example by being gold, andincreasingly has its value guaranteed by a third party, like a state bank or acommunity.
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