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Ole Bjerg

Interview with Ole Bjerg: “We Need to Put Things Back to Normal”

2018. Vol. 19. No. 4. P. 172–181 [issue contents]

An interview with Ole Bjerg, an Associate professor at Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (Copenhagen Business School), was conducted in May 2018 during his visit in Moscow. Prof. Bjerg has visited HSE and presented a Russian translation of his book Making Money: The Philosophy of Crisis Capitalism [Bjerg 2014]. An interview was taken by Elena Gudova, a junior researcher at the Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology, Higher School of Economics.
During his presentation Ole Bjerg focused on the issue of introducing e-krona into Swedish monetary system and making money “full-fat” again. The initiative should give power in money emission back to Central Bank and put it under more transparency and control—we’ve been living in a world where commercial banks simply create money for too long. Bjerg suggests that interest toward money and finance is growing both in academia and among ordinary citizens in many countries. After the economic crisis of 2008–2009 it has become obvious that much of what is going on in the society is deeply connected to money, and the level of critical reflection has substantially increased. Bjerg applies Žižek’s (and Lacanian at the very beginning) lens of “the imaginary—the symbolic—the real” to different aspects of money and related phenomenon. Although the choice of theoretical approach might be unexpected, this is quite the way it should be. Theory is always a question of preference, and Žižek gives money analysis intrigue and surprise, while with Foucault “it’s always the butler.” The political reasons for financial crisis deal with the fact that central banks may favor the interests of financial sector prior to the general public. A systemic problem is debt, which is both a reason and an outcome of the money-making.
According to Bjerg, debt is not only a powerful discipline instrument, but an obstacle for social change and development as well, as indebted individuals become more risk-averse with their life decisions. Still Bjerg concludes that the society should have money, but good money, normal money. Once people start publically talking about money problem, or maybe even ironize about it in different forms of art, it becomes a different sort of motivation and action, and normalization of money is possible.

Citation: (2018) Interview with Ole Bjerg: “We Need to Put Things Back to Normal” [Interview with Ole Bjerg: “We Need to Put Things Back to Normal”]. Economic Sociology, vol. 19, no 4 (in Russian)
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