The romantic potential of money: when credit becomes a gift

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    Abstract

    Money and monetary loans are rarely considered to be particularly romantic. Yet, despite the negative connotations surrounding moneylending, monetary loans do sometimes play the role of romanticized gifts. In this chapter, we show how microloans, small monetary loans to disadvantaged borrowers, obtain a uniquely romantic character and come to be framed as perfect gifts for the poor. Inspired by Simmel’s work (1990), we argue that the romanticization of microloans is tied to the romantic quality of money, credit, and capital. Microloans have indeed been popularized as romanticized gifts of microcredit, wherein credit is construed as opportunity-creating capital. We illustrate and elaborate on these arguments with insights obtained through prolonged investigation of online microlending platforms which enable lenders around the world to provide credit to poor entrepreneurs.

    In addition to outlining the romantic portrayals of microlending, we reflect on the role money and credit “romance” play in the financialization of development aid and humanitarianism and the spirit of capitalism more broadly.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGifts, Romance, and Consumer Culture
    EditorsYuko Minowa, Russell W. Belk
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherRoutledge
    Chapter10
    Pages173-183
    Number of pages11
    Edition1
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315144658, 9781351385053 (PDF)
    ISBN (Print)9781138500709
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Interpretive Marketing Research

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