The Future of Futures

The Future of Futures

The Time of Money in Financing and Society

Elena Esposito

This book reconstructs the dynamics of economics, beginning explicitly with the role and the relevance of time: money uses the future in order to generate present wealth. Financial markets sell and buy risk, thereby binding the future. Elena Esposito explains that complex risk management techniques of structured finance produce new and uncontrolled risks because they use a simplified idea of the future, failing to account for how the future reacts to attempts at controlling it. During the recent financial crisis, the future had already been used (through securitizations, derivatives and other tools) to the extent that we had many futures, but no open future available.

Chapter 4: Money

Elena Esposito

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, financial economics and regulation, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Reassurance against risk, first of all, relies on money. Money has no inherent use; nevertheless, it has the strange feature of providing reassurance against uncertainty for any and every person. Whether metal or paper, money has no utility. So, why has it become so useful? The reflection of economists has not offered a true theory of money (section 1), especially because it never really clarified its function or the source of its value, nor did it even clarify the true meaning of value. Does wealth lie in the goods themselves (in which case, money is only an abstract entity, a ‘veil’ superimposed on authentic values), or does money create wealth, bestowing value on things? We need to clarify what money is needed for – that is, what its function is (section 2). Economics usually points out too many functions (measure of value, means of payment, means of exchange), without clearly distinguishing the main function and how it is connected with others. One can think that money serves to gain time, to delay the moment when one must decide how to use one’s resources. This becomes important when the future is uncertain. With money, we can afford to wait in order to collect additional information and observe others. When the time comes, we shall be able to pay for what we need, or make the most convenient transactions. Money works because we all accept and want it. Indeed, we always want more of it. Money expresses the connection between everyone and everyone...

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