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Quasi-World Money and International Reserves

Analytical Gains of Geopolitical Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78560-337-2, eISBN: 978-1-78560-336-5

Publication date: 7 January 2016


The purpose of this paper is to contribute to understanding modern monetary arrangements from a Marxist perspective that takes into account recent developments in the Marxist theory of world money. The paper treats the US dollar as a primus inter pares quasi-world money and challenges the argument of US hegemony by exploring the behavior of major capitalist states and selected developing countries, the BRICS, in so far as their official international reserves are concerned. The findings reveal a clear pattern in the behavior of major capitalist states in terms of the size and form of their reserves with the variations in them implying a hierarchical structure of the corresponding quasi-world moneys. The analysis focuses on developed countries and treats them individually. The merit of this approach, distinctive in the literature on international reserves, is that it reveals the above-mentioned pattern which is blurred when Japan is included. The results imply that current international monetary arrangements reflect and promote multipolarity and competition on the geopolitical scene, the evolution of which is historical.




I am grateful to Costas Lapavitsas for useful comments in previous versions of this paper; Juan Pablo Painceira, Duncan Lindo, and Jo Mitchell for useful discussions and provision of data; Susan Newman, Radhika Desai, and two anonymous referees for their valuable comments on the final manuscript. I was also benefitted by my participation in Research on Money and Finance (RMF) and International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE). I have to add that I am Scholar of the State Scholarships Foundation of Greece.


Labrinidis, G. (2016), "Quasi-World Money and International Reserves", Analytical Gains of Geopolitical Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 30B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-123.



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