Anthony Giddens in his novel “The Consequences of Modernity” brings up connecting points proving that the world today is still in a modern era. Giddens breaks the world up into time periods and the most recent being the modern era, many sociologists argue the contrary, that this era is it’s own new stage in human history. Giddens talks about language, power, technology, money, etc. Giddens stresses that money has such an important impact on our society, an impact more complex than things like language or power.
Giddens is trying to answer the long debated question, “what is money?”. Referencing Leon Walras’ simple explanation to this question that “money does not exist” Giddens expands on and tries to improve this point. This point though, has already been improved in the eyes of Giddens by Keyne’s writings which emphasize that money being identified with a debt. Giddens decides to improve this idea even more and very interestingly states “money is a means of time-space distanciation, Money provides for the enactment of transactions between agents separated in time and space.” It is tough to define this phrase, especially because the word distanciation has no meaning in any dictionary. Giddens here is saying that money is our way of possessing things. Money guarantees property of a particular item to an owner. People are comfortable leaving their house for a couple of days because they know it is their house, they only know it is their house though because they paid for it and no one else did. If the house just simply had a sign on it claiming reign to your house you may not want to leave it for very long, it’s easy for someone to just come replace your sign.
Money is our way of feeling possession of things without actually possessing that “thing” at the moment. Money is also a way of exchange, a measure of power, a type of debt, and the list goes on. This concept of money has been going on way before the modern era, but Giddens is concerned with how money in the modern era is different than it was in any pre-modern civilizations. Giddens goes on to reference Parsons and his idea’s of how money in the modern era has changed. The most evident example almost everyone can relate too is how money now circulates, without “money” ever actually being present. Money can now be looked at, in the words of Parsons, as “information lodged in a computer printout.” Parsons views money as a circulating medium. Giddens does not necessarily agree with this statement and believes that money cannot be defined so simply. Money cannot be looked at as a circulating medium because it is not constantly circulating, it is being exchanged at instantaneous moments between two people representing a new form of ownership.
The concept of money has changed greatly from era to era but it has not been greatly changed since the modern era started. Technology has been advanced so our ways of using money have been made more complex and have differed, but our concept of money representing possessions has stayed the same.