We review here recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its
achievements, shortcomings and prospects, while referring back to the discipline‘s founders a
century ago. We take our departure from the work of Marcel Mauss and Karl Polanyi, both of
whom combined openness to ethnographic research with a vision of world history as a whole.
Since the 1960s, anthropologists have tended to restrict themselves to niche fields and
marginal debates. From the 1980s the anthropological study of money and ethnographies of
finance especially have taken off. Despite taking on new objects and directions,
anthropologists still find it difficult to connect their situated analyses with global processes
and world history. We propose some conceptual and empirical directions for research that
would seek to overcome these limitations by integrating ethnography more closely with
human history, while stressing the importance of money in shaping world society and in
attempts to reform it.