Skip to content

Mondex, Gambling, and the Fear of Money*

Abstract: Treating money as simultaneously the most rationalized and perhaps most mundane form of exchange, this essay draws upon the critical theory of Horkheimer, Adorno, and Benjamin in order to address two contemporary monetary phenomena: the effort by banks around the globe to develop a replacement for cash in the form of electronically loadable credit chips, known as the Mondex project, and the proliferation in Canada of state-sponsored gambling as the manna, or perhaps mantra, of economic salvation. I read the exchange of money as infused with the residues of sacrificial exchange; the Mondex project and gambling, through the control and manipulation of money each respectively effects, are thus understood as attempts to alleviate fear and anxiety in the face of contingency and unpredictability. Following Horkheimer and Adorno’s thesis that an irrationality that was never wholly purged has returned to possess the rational, I argue that the effort to control and manipulate exchange — concretized in money — has vengefully emerged as the monetary control of individuals.

His total assets were quickly converted to New Yen, a fat sheaf of the old paper currency that circulated endlessly through the closed circuit of the world’s black markets like the seashells of the Trobriand islanders. It was difficult to transact legitimate business with cash in the Sprawl; in Japan, it was already illegal. (Gibson, Neuromancer: 6)

No teller service on Saturdays.1

William Gibson’s dystopic science fiction novels do not describe but rather presuppose a world in which political authority has already been fully assumed by multinational corporations and conglomerates. Typically drawn from the marginal and the outcast, Gibson’s characters endeavor to live their lives off-grid, without leaving data traces and without thereby incurring unwanted attention from the authorities and enemies. Mona, for example, one of the main characters in Mona Lisa Overdrive, “had never been assigned an S-I-N when she was born, a Single Identification Number, so she’d grown up outside of most official systems” (56).2 From the beginning, she is, in effect, SIN-less, even as her past is marked by that oldest sin of the exchange of money for flesh. One of the few ways to avoid detection in this world where almost all human action is digitally translated and recorded somewhere is to use cash; in Gibson’s future society money — in the virtually untraceable form of cash — offers the possibility of a temporary escape from electronic control and surveillance.

Because Gibson’s narratives take place in a near-future, as opposed to a comfortably distant one, they present chilling and convincing confirmations of present tendencies. Actual anxieties over money will not be alleviated in the world-to-come, but rather affirmed and intensified in new forms. The index of this transformation of numismatic insecurity can be discerned in the rapidly narrowing gap between our present and the installation of a totally cash-free society. In what I refer to in general terms as the Mondex project, the dream of a society without cash has already been set in motion practically. Banks around the globe are currently in the throes of developing a replacement for money in the form of electronically loadable credit chips. In place of an exchange of bills and coins, everyday economic transactions can now be conducted with a (s)wipe of a “smart” card, with the appropriate assignment of debits and credits to electronic accounts. We all know that the disappearance of money is one of the best magic tricks; try as we might, we can never really figure out where it all goes or fathom the rate at which it vanishes. Through labour and a bit of luck, however, we do expect that prosperity will return to us sooner or later. But the kind of erasure of money with which the Mondex project confronts us is a total one. Money as we know it, bills and coins that you can feel and touch, loose change that jingles in your pocket and fills up your change jar, is actually on the verge of performing a final vanishing act.

Mondex is the name of a British company that developed an alternative to cash in the form of a smart card in 1993, and began franchising its system around the world. In Canada Mondex is driven by a consortium consisting of almost every major financial institution in the country, led by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Pilot projects where entire communities are encouraged to use the smart card have been conducted in Swindon, UK (just outside of London) and Guelph, Ontario; another expanded and refined trial rollout of the card has been operating in Sherbrooke, Québec, since August 1999 (Mondex Canada). MasterCard has recently purchased a 51% stake in Mondex International, which potentially augurs for the adoption of the Mondex cashless system as a global standard.

The smart card looks like a credit card, but contains a microchip onto which money can be downloaded from a bank account, typically via a telephone featuring a card reader. Retail purchases are made by swiping the card through a reader at point of sale, with the amount of the purchase being deducted from the card. Using a thin unit that looks like a calculator, money can be transferred between individuals. In addition to digital cash, the card stores three key pieces of information: an unique, sixteen digit identification number, the bank account holder’s name, and a record of the last ten transactions conducted.

The proponents of Mondex cite a number of advantages of using the smart card instead of cash. Consumers can have ready access to their money anywhere there is a phone or a “Mondex compatible device.” The card can be frozen with a PIN number, which increases the chances of return should the card be lost. With no cash on the premises, holdups and employee theft are reduced, if not eliminated, at the retailer level. For banks, the considerable (notably labour) costs associated with storing, handling, and counting money are likewise substantially decreased. In what might be considered as another harbinger of a future on the cusp of realization, banks have begun to function without cash on Saturdays, as I recently and frustratingly discovered while attempting to obtain laundry change.

It is in the purchase tracking capabilities at the merchant and bank levels, however, where the most important social and political implications of the Mondex project lie. Because the cashless system is entirely electronic, every use of cash by an individual can be recorded.3 While the enormous quantities of data generated in this system potentially present logistical problems for banks and merchants, this data can be utilized nonetheless to target and finely tune marketing strategies based on the records of individual shopping choices. No longer beholden to the still relatively contingent whims and impulses of actual consumers, marketing initiatives can reach unprecedented levels of sophistication and behaviour prediction beyond current degrees of manipulation and control. In this scenario, P.J. Lilley, a social activist and researcher in Guelph, rightly points out that “personal information becomes a currency” (The Mondex Connection, Section 2), an exclusive currency whose rights of use are already wholly appropriated by capital without even the pretence of a fair exchange. In addition to the possibility of an extension of social control and surveillance, the Mondex project introduces a new, hand-held tool for individuals to monitor and control their spending habits, and thus, themselves; this internalization of control reaffirms Max Weber’s insistence on the importance of methodical, rationalized self-control for the development of modern capitalism (Protestant Ethic).

But what is the cost of the transmutation of cold, hard cash into digital dollars and cents that Mondex effects? How might we begin to tabulate the social and political balance sheet of this radical change in the way in which we understand and use money to secure our daily bread and our indulgences? Georg Simmel argues that the money economy underpins the blasé and reserved attitudes characteristic of the particularly urban individual psyche (“Metropolis and Mental Life”: 409-424). Although money dramatically extends and expands the nexus of possible social relationships through the multiplication of exchange, these innumerable relationships are highly abstract and fleeting. Constantly barraged with the range of anonymous social interactions that money effects, the individual cannot help but adopt an almost defensive attitude of detachment and disinterestedness in order to preserve some semblance of individuality. What happens, then, when the actual tokens of money exchange themselves disappear? What resistances, if any, to the liquidation of cash can be discerned in the social whole?

Theodor Adorno constantly reminds us that the project of critique under current conditions must always be aimed, as best as it can be, towards dialectically deciphering the historical and material mediations of its object, as well as of its own method. In other words, the phenomenon under investigation must never be considered in isolation, but rather illuminated in its complex connections to the social whole; this requires careful attention to the social and political dynamics and the historical configurations and tendencies that impinge upon and condition the phenomenon. When we think of ancient practices of including coins for use in the afterlife with the bodies of the dead, or the use of coins to consult the wisdom of the I Ching (or Book of Change), or the putative absolution of sin through the purchase of indulgences in medieval Christianity, not to mention the almost universal representation of monarchs and legendary national figures on currency, we find that money appears to mediate the exchange between this world of flesh and blood and the world of the radically unknown and ungraspable, or the divine, if you prefer.4 For those who have cause for trepidation, every bank machine withdrawal and credit card purchase operates as a prayer to the money gods and computer systems, beseeching them to shine upon us and consecrate our transaction with a holy authorization number or the granting of boons in the form of fresh, crisp bills. Even those who objectively should have no reason to worry in these matters fret nonetheless when faced with an inexplicable rejection of the transaction or card, or the message from on high that “system is down.” We abandon ourselves to the whims of fate every time we choose to reject rational thought in favor of the indisputable judgment of heads or tails as final arbiters of our decisions. Some of us are even driven obsessively to ensure the bills in our wallet or purse are aligned heads up and facing the same way, as if to do otherwise invites the same kind of retribution as walking under a ladder. As these examples attempt to demonstrate, money — that most rationalized medium of exchange — seems never to have divested itself of a connection to irrational superstition and fear.

This connection between money and fear can be further elaborated by drawing upon Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s thesis in the Dialectic of Enlightenment that the beginnings of a dominating, instrumental reason are already locatable in myth and the earliest sacrificial rites. Here the link between sacrifice and exchange is explicit:

If exchange is the secular form of sacrifice, the latter already appears as the magical pattern of rational exchange, a device of men by which the gods may be mastered: the gods are overthrown by the very system by which they are honored (49).5

All human sacrifices, when systematically executed, deceive the god to whom they are made: they subject him to the primacy of human ends, and dissolve his power (50).

Confronted with its own primal fear in the face of the unknown forces of nature, the subject sets in motion a cunning deception of the gods through sacrifice, in the interest of its own self-preservation and alleviation of its existential anxiety. Thinking dialectically and materially, the logic of sacrifice takes the abstract form of an instrumentalized reason, and the concrete form of totems and talismans. I want to suggest further that this sacrificial logic is also concretized and memorialized in money, understood as a constant, totemic reminder of the price the subject has to pay for its putative liberation from the domination of nature. For Horkheimer and Adorno, this primal fear and anxiety has never been fully eradicated, but merely subdued in the form of a self-repression that sets loose repression and domination as organizing principles of society.

In this light, Mondex is but the latest expression of a denigration of and a flight from materiality, rooted in what Adorno would call a fear of the object. The hyper-abstraction of money that is digital cash seeks to accomplish the rational dream of an exchange without remainder — without loose change, as it were. Moreover, the erasure of coins, bills, and, with the official inauguration of the Euro, even the particularities of national currencies, further confirms the compulsion to repress, indeed eliminate, all forms of objective heterogeneity. Mondex illustrates the remarkable intensity of this drive to dominate through abstraction; even the actual, concrete forms of money are not safe from this logic of repression.6 With every Mondex transaction, the individual performs the rites of his or her own self-sacrifice, providing fodder for the increasing refinement of social control and manipulation and, of course, serving the interest of the accumulation of an overbearing capital. The shreds of autonomous subjectivity and individuality that remain in contemporary society are reduced to the contours of a virtual marketing profile, stored in a database for easy retrieval when necessary.

There has been precious little resistance to the intrusion of electronic surveillance into that most mundane practice of the exchange of money for goods and services or to the potential invasion of privacy which the Mondex project, through its purchase tracking capabilities, makes possible. While various individuals, organizations, and journalists have drawn attention to the privacy issues at stake with the introduction of digital money, their concerns have thus far had minimal impact.7 Apart from problems of technical logistics and corporate positioning, it seems that the main obstacle to Mondex has been consumer apathy and indifference; indeed, the Guelph trial project was terminated three months ahead of schedule for precisely this reason, and further because of the withdrawal of three key financial participants.8 This apathy is not surprising, given that the desire to replace cash with digital smart cards has not arisen as a response to pressing consumer demand, but rather is driven by corporate imperatives, most especially the potential windfall in service fees attached to card use. Refusing to be deterred by something as indicative as customer disinterest in using the product, Mondex Canada has continually refined and ‘improved’ the smart card throughout the duration of its second, more successful pilot project in Sherbrooke. Like all technological innovations that purport to concern themselves with the welfare of customers, Mondex seduces with the sexiness of all things digital along with the ideological rhetoric of convenience and consumer choice. Although Joanne De Laurentiis, President and CEO of Mondex Canada Association, in a recent press release on the Sherbrooke project could refer to the smart card as an “as innovative payment option,” the identification cards for the entire student populations of nearby Bishop’s University and Champlain College come with the money chip already automatically embedded; in such fashion, this particular target population is ‘encouraged’ to use the card.9 Moreover, is ‘convenience’ anything other than a code word for successful time management? Practices and things become ‘convenient’ only because they permit individuals to efficiently manage and discipline their time. With digital money, the qualified free exercise of choice and the supposed convenience of not having to carry around burdensome cash and coins contribute to the strengthening of the ability of corporations to shape the way we go out about our daily business.

While rational critique might still allow us to understand the Mondex project as the consummation of a fear of all that escapes control, there are other reactions that are grounded in a pure fear of Mondex; among the radical fringes of Christian fundamentalism, this palpable fear takes the form of an irrational superstition symbiotically fused with milennial anxiety. These analyses draw their principal inspiration from the following passage of the Book of Revelation:

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given mark in their right hand, or in their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Revelation 13:16).

The prophecy is translated and updated to read: “This technology undoubtedly will lead to a universal system of totalitarian enslavement under a computerized global economic network of electronic bondage. In this soon coming CASHLESS ELECTRONIC DEBIT system, no on will be able to BUY OR SELL anything anywhere without the New World Order global biochip “MARK” in their right hands or foreheads.”10 As etymological support for this particular biblical prophecy, Chris Beard, in an exemplary deconstructive exercise, reads ‘Mondex’ as a compound of the words “monetary,” meaning ‘pertaining to money,’ and “dexter,” meaning ‘belonging to or located on the right hand’ (“The Cashless Society is Here”). Along these lines one might also note that one possible anagram of ‘Mondex’ is Demon-X, referring without doubt to the Anti-Christ, and that in French monde x can be interpreted as meaning “the end of the world.” Finally, and perhaps most poignantly, punching the letters M-O-N-D-E-X on a telephone number pad returns the numbers 666339. While one might scoff at the hysterical doomsday tone of these interpretations and the science fiction scenario of humans as bar codes, one would do well to remember two things: the implantation of identification chips in pets is already a reality, and ‘biometric identification’ (translation – ‘digital fingerprinting’) is the latest weapon in the phony war against welfare fraud in Canada and the United States.11

The Mondex project is not alone as a contemporary expression of the relation between money, fear, and sacrifice. In what might be considered as the other side of a coin that has lost its sides, Mondex in the Canadian context has been accompanied by the proliferation of state-sponsored gambling as the manna, or perhaps mantra, of economic salvation. While the coincidence of these two phenomena may be purely accidental, gambling can be read, I think, as a practice that both solidifies the reign of money over individuals and offers a measure of resistance to money’s power. The gambler’s vain attempt to play dice with his or her own fate through the medium of money inevitably brings the punishment of the contingent to bear, even as every win at the tables or slot machines represents a minor victory or control over one’s own destiny.

State-sponsored gambling in Canada can at least be dated from the establishment of a national lottery in support of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.12 Throughout the 1990s, Canadian provincial governments, especially those in Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, have increasingly turned to lotteries, video lottery terminals, and casinos as outright sources of revenue to fund increasingly meagre social welfare programmes. The state’s participation in the gambling or ‘gaming’ industry (as its proponents, through a semantic legerdemain, prefer to call it) insidiously intensifies the monetary control of individuals in a fashion similar to Mondex. As a form of freely-chosen, self-imposed taxation, gambling, with its false promise of financial freedom, bolsters government coffers from the pockets of those least able to contribute. Rather than providing the security of an adequate income to the poor and the marginalized through the already double-edged, disciplinary array of social welfare bureaucracies, the state converts its historical promise of income support to the immeasurably distant, future promise of winning the lottery.

While the state’s recent involvement in games of chance has turned gambling into a mass phenomenon, the middle and upper classes have always had their own games to play. As Walter Benjamin suggests, the modern stock market is yet another example of the bourgeoisie’s appropriation and institutionalization of aristocratic vices. Alongside Hausmann’s plans for a reconstruction of the city landscape according to a ‘new aesthetic of the technical,’

Paris experiences a flowering of speculation. Playing the stock exchange displaces the game of chance in the forms that had come down from feudal society. To the phantasmagorias of space to which the flâneur abandons himself, correspond the phantasmagorias of time indulged in by the gambler. Gambling converts time into a narcotic. Lafargue declares gaming an imitation in miniature of the mysteries of economic prosperity (“Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century”: 159).

The current obsession with investments, Registered Retirement Savings Plans, and stock portfolios among those with money has driven the stock market to new and dizzying heights.13 Implicitly acknowledging the decline of the welfare state, the moneyed classes have intensified their own quest for the holy grail of financial security. Ted Fishman rightly observes that “[m]uch of the boom in American investment abroad derives from national and personal anxieties; reading the economic tea leaves, many of us believe that emerging economies threaten our jobs, our lifestyles, our prestige” (“The Joys of Global Investment”: 37). The stock market seemingly offers more secure stakes; like all games of chance, however, the play is rigged from the very moment the money is converted into a stock certificate. The manipulation of investors and government financial regulations, at least in the American context, amply demonstrates that even here the odds are stacked against the players.14 While George Gilder can claim, contra Weber, that the capitalist spirit has never been about rational calculation, but rather, depends on irrational risk, he refuses to understand that at the end of the line certain pockets bulge at the same time as others become threadbare.15 The Bre-X fiasco, where investors worldwide chased after an actual pot of gold apparently lying in the middle of the jungles of Borneo, only to discover one day that the rainbow and, of course, their money, had disappeared, or rather, been smoothly transferred into someone else’s accounts, is but the latest and most poignant example of the futility of taking on the house.

If state-sponsored gambling and playing the stock market at least offer the semblance of a connection with others, either through the self-consolation that the money will eventually help the less fortunate or through the reliance on actual brokers, the new phenomenon of internet gambling and stock trading removes even these traces of sociality. Gambling, like money itself, moves into the realm of the virtual and the hyper-abstract; alone in front of a computer, the internet gambler places virtual bets with virtual money at virtual casinos, typically ‘located’ off-shore in order to escape the burden of state regulation. Unlike at an actual casino or covenience store or exchange floor, there will be no witnesses to the obsessive-compulsive betting or trading, nor the gratifying kaching-kaching of coins dropping into one’s lap like pennies from heaven. Instead, one must be content with the numbing tallies of digits on a computer screen in the comfort of one’s abode. Internet gambling and stock trading effortlessly bring games of chance into the physical interior of one’s living space, and thus attain new heights in the reinforcement of a dehumanizing isolation masquerading as freedom and convenience.

Money, gambling, and superstition have always formed an unholy trinity. The gambler arms him- or herself with lucky talismans, blessed objects, or insider knowledge in the hopes of buying into a piece of prosperity. As Alexis Ivanovich, the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler rhetorically asks, “Is it really impossible to touch gambling without immediately becoming infected with superstition?” (31) The gambler constantly challenges fate by trying to conjure up the smiling face of fortune. Gambling retains an intimate connection to destiny:

I was certain and indeed determined, as I have been for a long time, that I would not leave Roulettenberg the same man as I arrived there; some radical and decisive change in my destiny will inevitably take place. It must and will (28).

The roulette tables serve as the site of Alexis’ confrontation with forces beyond his ken and, in a parallel with Dostoyevsky’s own life, ultimately as the altar of his monetary self-sacrifice. Gambling incites a primal urge, driven by fear, to control the vagaries of nature at the same time as it mocks the individual’s conceit that this effort could possibly succeed:

I felt a kind of irresistible delight in snatching up and raking in the banknotes which grew into a pile in front of me. It really seemed that it was fate that urged me on…. I really was suddenly overcome by a terrible craving for risk. Perhaps the soul passing through such a wide range of sensations is not satisfied but only exacerbated by them, and demands more and more of them, growing more and more powerful, until it reaches final exhaustion (132).

The control and entrapment of the individual effected by gambling cannot be the last word. Although the individual executes the terms of his or her own sacrifice, there is always the possibility, remote and fantastic as it is, that one might actually win deliverance. But deliverance from what? It is here that Benjamin’s connection between labour and gambling is highly instructive. Benjamin is concerned above all with the deadening of the experience of time in the repetitive cycle of betting, hoping, and losing. This experience of temporality parallels that of the worker in front of the machine in industrial capitalism:

…[the work of the unskilled] certainly does not lack the futility, the emptiness, the inability to complete something which is inherent in the activity of a wage slave in a factory. Gambling even contains the workman’s gesture that is produced by the automatic operation, for there can be no game without the quick movement of the hand by which the stake is put down or a card is picked up. The jolt in the movement of the machine is like the so-called coup [bet] in a game of chance. The manipulation of the worker at the machine has no connection with the preceding operation for the very reason that it is its exact repetition. Since each operation at the machine is just as screened off from the preceding operation as a coup in a game of chance is from the one that preceded it, the drudgery of the labourer is, in its own way, a counterpart to the drudgery of the gambler. The work of both is equally devoid of substance (“On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”: 177).16

If gambling and labour can be understood to share the same logic of dead repetition, then the sought-after, unpredictable moment of winning the jackpot has its counterpart in the utopian moment of permanent release from labour. Indeed, freedom from work is almost always the first thing one thinks of when, as Lotto 649 advertisements exhort us to do, we ‘imagine the freedom’ that an unimaginable amount of money can bring. The second moment of lottery fantasies, however, when we put together our shopping list of extravagant items we will be able to afford, undermines our newly-won liberty, delivering us over as it does to a merely more upscale commodity fetishism. In this light, gambling offers the individual an appearance of escape from the power of money, and a long shot at the dream of winning in the brutal confrontation with fate. Even as the individual recognizes that the odds are stacked against him or her, the compulsion to risk it all expresses the longing for an epiphanic deliverance from the ubiquitousness of social domination, especially the domination of labour. That the life of the chronic gambler reduces to incessant self-sacrifice on the altar of the money-gods attests to the cruelty of a fate reproduced in rigged games of chance.

The Mondex project and contemporary, state-organized gambling are the latest exemplars of attempts to alleviate fear and anxiety in the face of contingency and unpredictability. One might even go so far as to contend that gambling, with its promise of financial salvation, is the inverse, vaguely utopic image that resists the increasing control of individuals that Mondex effects. That gambling and its own form of enslavement to superstition and obsession become widespread in roughly the same historical conjuncture as the Mondex project attests to the narrowed possibilities of progressive social change. Adorno, in such texts as “The Stars Down to Earth” and “Theses Against Occultism,” is clear that the persistence of superstition at the peak of the modern era is irrational, anachronistic, and a symptom of the erosion of the autonomous individual:

The tendency to occultism is a symptom of regression in consciousness. This has lost the power to think the unconditional and to endure the conditional. Instead of defining both, in their unity and difference, by conceptual labour, it mixes them indiscriminately (Minima Moralia, 238).

While “superstition is largely a residue of animalistic magical practices by which ancient humanity tried to influence or control the course of events” (“Stars Down to Earth,” 37), its practice is utterly inutile in the context of a modern society in which the rational possibility of individual and collective freedom objectively, if faintly, continues to exist. Like Horkheimer and Adorno’s thesis that an irrationality that was never wholly purged has returned to possess the rational, the effort to control and manipulate exchange — concretized in money — has vengefully emerged as the monetary control of individuals.


* This essay is a revised version of a conference paper delivered at Strategies of Critique 13: Superstition, York University, Toronto, Canada, March 1999. The author gratefully acknowledges the useful and insightful comments provided by the anonymous reviewers, many of which have been incorporated with profit. back to text

1. Observed on a white board in a Toronto branch of the Toronto Dominion Bank on April 24, 1999. While many bank branches in Canadian urban centres are open on Saturdays, many, if not most, no longer offer teller service on this specific day. Customers cannot obtain actual cash from a bank branch (this is what Automatic Teller Machines are for, as I was told), but they can consult with ‘financial advisors’ to negotiate personal or student loans, mortgages, or update investment portfolios. Reality, already full enough of contradictions, now features an additional one: banks at which you cannot obtain money. back to text

2. Of course, in Canada all citizens are entitled, if not practically required, to possess a SIN, or Social Insurance Number, issued by the federal government. Principally intended to facilitate access to social program benefits and to keep track of income tax payments, the SIN is increasingly demanded by banks and even landlords for credit check purposes. back to text

3. In Los Angeles on March 12, 1997, Janet Crane, President and CEO of Mondex International, told reporter Niall McKay that “[t]he Mondex card system is fully auditable. There is an electronic record of the time, date, amount, and participants of each transaction.” As reported on Privacy: Mondo Zero?, a web site under the auspices of Electronic Frontier Canada featuring a collection of early news articles about Mondex. See

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Gambler/Bobok/A Nasty Story. trans. by Jessie Coulson. London: Penguin Books, 1966. back to text

Electronic Frontier Canada. home page.

Ferguson, Ron, and James Daw. “RT Capital allegations rock Bay St.,” in The Toronto Star, June 30, 2000. Originally at

Fishman, Ted C. “The Joys of Global Investment – Shipping home the fruits of misery,” in Harper’s. Vol. 294, No. 1761, February 1997. 35-42. back to text

—, “Up in Smoke – The suckers bring the money; Wall Street supplies the matches,” in Harper’s. Vol. 297, No. 1783, December 1998. 37-46.

Freud, Sigmund. “Character and Anal Eroticism,” in Freud, Character and Culture. Philip Rieff, ed. New York: Collier Books, 1963.

Gibson, William. Mona Lisa Overdrive. New York: Bantam Books, 1989. back to text

—, Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984. back to text

Gilder, George. Wealth and Poverty. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Goux, Jean-Joseph. “General Economics and Postmodern Capitalism,” trans. by Kathryn Ascheim and Rhonda Garelick. in Yale French Studies. No. 78, On Bataille. ed. by Allan Stoeckl, 1990.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. trans. by John Cumming. New York: Continuum Books, 1995.

Irigaray, Luce. “Women, the Sacred, Money,” in Irigaray, Sexes and Genealogies. trans by Gillian C. Gill. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, 75-88.

Jameson, Fredric. Late Marxism – Adorno, or, the Persistence of the Dialectic. New York: Verso, 1990.

Lilley, P.J. The Mondex Connection. c.December 1996.

Marx, Karl. Capital – Vol. I. New York: International Publishers, 1984.

Mondex Canada. Mondex Canada Official Web Page.

Privacy International.

Simmel, Georg. “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” in Kurt Wolff, ed. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. New York: Free Press, 1950, 409-424. back to text

—, The Philosophy of Money. trans. by Tom Bottomore and David Frisby. London: Routledge, 1990.

Tuck, Simon. “Cashing out,” in National Post. October 7, 1999.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. trans. by Talcott Parsons. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958. back to text

About the Author: Michael K. Palamarek is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought and in the Graduate Diploma in German and European Studies Programme, both at York University, Toronto, Canada. His work focuses on the interconnections between language and labour in contemporary critical theory, especially that of the early Frankfurt School and Mikhail Bakhtin. He is one of the founding editors of j_spot: the journal of social and political thought. For further information, please consult his web page at

Published inIssue 1.3Issues
© 2000, Journal of Mundane Behavior. Permission to link to this site is granted. All copyright permission and reproduction requests beyond "fair use" must be approved jointly by Journal of Mundane Behavior and the individual author, and should be directed to the managing editor.