Stefan Eich

VF_Eich

Ph.D. candidate in Political Theory, Yale University

Junior Visiting Fellow
(July – December 2014)

Project:

Moments of Monetary Politics

My project aims to recover an understanding of money as a political institution. I do so by developing a narrative of five moments of monetary politics and their reflections in political philosophy that range from ancient Athens to the present by way of the British suspension period of 1797–1821, the democratic challenges of the interwar years, and the disjuncture between monetary politics and political theory since the 1970s.

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Paper Money and German Romanticism

In February 1797 Britain suspended the convertibility of its currency into gold and thereby introduced fiat paper money to finance its war against revolutionary France. This British embrace of fiat money left a lasting mark on the political and philosophical imagination of a whole generation of post-Kantian thinkers in the German lands. Whether radical Kantians, Young Romantics, or Anglophile Hanoverians, in the 1790s German philosophers began to be interested in the politics of money. By creatively updating the classical metaphorical link between coins and words for an age of paper money, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Adam Müller, and others were able to grasp the poetic nature of modern fiat money as a circulating sign sustained by the modern state and the collective imagination of its citizens.
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Introduction
Dimensions of Modernity: The Enlightenment and its Contested Legacies

The 34th Junior Fellows’ Conference, held in December of 2014, engaged with the Enlightenment and the contested legacies of modernity. Papers took two different routes into this topic. One group of papers returned to the threshold of modernity in the eighteenth century and sought to rethink the history of eighteenth century debates. A second group …
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