• Christine A. Desan


2022, Paper: "Reading Benjamin Geva is reading the design of our economy. That phenomenon turns on the practice that Adam Smith called ‘‘the propensity in human nature . . . to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” Following Smith, many commentators approach exchange as a natural fact, an organizing principle. According to their models, the market is an auction, a multi-lateral bazaar in which agents trade all commodities against all commodities.1 But in every modern economy (and many not-so-modern ones), exchange turns on payment. And payment cannot be so easily assumed. Rather, the law of payments dredges the channels for money, creates flows and bottlenecks in compensation, allows settlement or thwarts it. In other words, the law of payments organizes the organizing principle of exchange."