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Fear and FortuneSpirit Worlds and Emerging Economies in the Mongolian Gold Rush$
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Mette M. High

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501707544

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501707544.001.0001

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Polluted Money

Polluted Money

(p.77) 4 Polluted Money
Fear and Fortune

Mette M. High

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies local understandings of wealth, specifically the relationship between pastoral wealth and gold money. The dangers surrounding mining are transferred onto the money object itself upon its sale to resident gold traders. As a vector of pollution, money circulates as a material objectification of potential calamity. When using dirty money notes associated with the mines, people face a local redenomination and de facto lower purchasing power when spreading their money. Although the gold rush has enriched ninjas, the cash value of their money is intimately tied to its materiality in local moral understandings of value. The chapter thus shows how the booming mining economy has given rise to fears of circulating misfortune, irrespective of people's own ties to the mines.

Keywords:   pastoral wealth, gold money, dirty money, purchasing power, gold rush, value, mining economy

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