Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World Without Redemption
Mark C. Taylor
Professor, Department of Religion at Columbia University
November 15, 2008
In Confidence Games, Mark C. Taylor posits that money and markets do not exist in a vacuum but grow in a profoundly cultural medium, reflecting and in turn shaping their world. Bringing John Calvin, G. W. F. Hegel, and Adam Smith to Wall Street by way of Las Vegas, Taylor first explores the historical and psychological origins of money, the importance of religious beliefs and practices for the emergence of markets, and the unexpected role of religion and art in the classical understanding of economics. He then moves to an account of economic developments during the past four decades, exploring the dawn of our new information age, the growing virtuality of money and markets, and the complexity of the networks by which monetary value is now negotiated. Returning full circle to a version of the market first proposed by Adam Smith, Confidence Games closes with a plea for a conception of life that embraces uncertainty and insecurity as signs of the openness and possibility of the future.
Mark C. Taylor is professor in and Chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. His numerous books include The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture, Mystic Bones, and After God, all published by the Unviersity of Chicago Press.