Monetary Authorities: Market Knowledge and Imperial Government in the Colonial Philippines, 1892 - 1942
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This dissertation argues that, from the twilight of the Spanish colonial era through the entire official American colonial insular period, the history of authority over money in the colonial Philippines reveals the emerging dominance of an authority based on knowledge of the market rather than an authority grounded strictly in sovereign power. The dominance of knowledge-based authority, especially through the first half of the twentieth century, was brought about by two specific historical changes: the positioning of the modern state as steward of the development of social life through capital and the increased intervention of the economic expert. Through close readings of multilingual archives relating to monetary, banking, and financial policies, my dissertation tracks how the legitimacy of imperial government became heavily dependent upon the colonial state's capacity to manage and stabilize the monetary and financial system for the economic and social benefit of its subjects. Thus, despite the United States' growing global economic hegemony, the American colonial state in the Philippines increasingly found itself beholden to the authority of the economic expert, an authority based on its access to the seemingly natural laws of the market that both the state and the common public found illegible. Moreover, the authority of experts and their comprehension of the natural laws of the market were inextricably bound to conceptions of naturalized racial orders and hierarchies. Experts, specifically, were constantly attempting to domesticate and stabilize, through policies and institutions, antagonistic conditions of disorder and resistance expressed by the racialized living labor of colonial subjects. Consequently, racial capacities to manage money informed the supposedly universal criteria through which American colonial officials measured the potential of Filipino political authority and self-government. This universal criteria, however, was eventually appropriated by Philippine economic experts in order to challenge the utility of imperial administration and augment demands for both an autonomous monetary system and a politically independent Philippine nation-state.
- History