New Money

How Payment Became Social Media

Lana Swartz

View Inside Price: $28.00


June 23, 2020
272 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
20 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300233223
Hardcover

A new vision of money as a communication technology that creates and sustains invisible—often exclusive—communities

One of the basic structures of everyday life, money is at its core a communication media. Payment systems—cash, card, app, or Bitcoin—are informational and symbolic tools that integrate us into, or exclude us from, the society that surrounds us. Examining the social politics of financial technologies, Lana Swartz reveals what’s at stake when we pay.
 
This accessible and insightful analysis comes at a moment of disruption: from “fin-tech” startups to cryptocurrency schemes, a variety of technologies are poised to unseat traditional financial infrastructures. Swartz explains these changes, traces their longer histories, and demonstrates their consequences. Getting paid and paying determines whether or not you can put food on the table. She shows just how important these invisible systems are. The data that payment produces is uniquely revelatory—and newly valuable. New forms of money create new forms of identity, new forms of community, and new forms of power.

Lana Swartz is assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. She is the coeditor of Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Stuff.

"Our daily transactions—cash, credit, points, or promises—commit us to communities, identities, and politics on the most powerful social media platform of all: the payment system. Money talks, and Swartz's book reveals its conversations, declarations, commands, and lies."—Finn Brunton, author of Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency

“New Money is an insightful, well-researched, and well-written history of the nature and uses of money. Swartz shows the profound effect the Fintech revolution will have on society and each one of us.” —Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, VISA, Inc.