Blood and Money: War, Slavery, and the State
“David McNally’s new book makes an important contribution to the growing critical literature on such basic components of contemporary capitalism as markets and money. His historical perspective makes the contribution especially insightful.” — Richard D. Wolff
In most accounts of the origins of money, we are offered pleasant tales in which it arises to the mutual benefit of all parties as a result of barter. In this groundbreaking study, David McNally reveals the true story of money’s origins and development as one of violence and human bondage. Money’s emergence and its transformation are shown to be intimately connected to the buying and selling of slaves and the waging of war. Blood and Money demonstrates the ways that money has “internalized” its violent origins, making clear that it has become a concentrated force of social power and domination. Where Adam Smith observed that monetary wealth represents “command over labor,” this paradigm-shifting book amends his view to define money as comprising the command over persons and their bodies.
David McNally is the Cullen Distinguished Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston and director of the Center for the Study of Capitalism. He is the author of Global Slump, Monsters of the Market and Blood and Money.