It is true that impersonal abstraction is indispensable to economic integration and that our world is becoming more abstract, not less. We depend on the use of quantification to make social calculations of money, time and energy, for example; and few of us would rather be ruled by powerful personalities than by impersonal law justly administered. The idea that the communications revolution contains some potentially redeeming features rests on one overwhelming fact: that large amounts of information concerning the persons involved in economic transactions at any distance can now be processed cheaply, thereby making possible the repersonalization of complex economic life. I cannot imagine a future civilization in which calculation of the value of many transactions would not be a central part of everyday life. Rather than be overwhelmed by money as an external object of unknown provenance, however, people may come to express themselves subjectively through it. Money would then be seen not as the preserve of either states or anonymous markets, but as the ongoing invention of people seeking to measure the consequences of some of their interactions.
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