Greece and the Sociology of Money

The sociology of money provides an illuminating discussion about the connections between uncertainty, trust, and stability; a trio that is particularly relevant as we think about Greece and its current battle¬†with the Euro zone. For Georg Simmel, considered one of the founders of sociology, money has important implications for society. To become a base for economic exchange, money requires a “civilized social order” with stable social relationships that provide protection of value.

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Emerging Markets: an arbitrary term?

I was in and out of various lectures for work, quietly listening to long talks given by various economists and researchers who have been widely published – experts in the field. While sitting there, I became irked by the constant use of the phrase ’emerging markets.’ Perhaps the coffee break needed to come sooner, but the more it was used, the more I felt it was completely arbitrary. It covered too many economies; too many nuanced markets and structures.

The term covers the newly industrialized economies as well as the BRICS* countries which have large, important markets. Brazil is the dominant economy of Latin America. China holds over $1 trillion of US public debt (third only to the Social Security Trust and the Fed). The phrase has been a part of my economics education practically since day one. However the countries grouped within that term have never graduated from being ’emerging’ to, well, fully emerged even as their markets and economies have developed and improved. Why not?

What exactly do they have to do to become ’emerged’? Is this a Western bias? The more I thought about, the more irked I became.
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