In This Review

Money Unmade: Barter and the Fate of Russian Capitalism
Money Unmade: Barter and the Fate of Russian Capitalism
By David Woodruff
Cornell University Press, 1999, 228 pp.

Woodruff takes aim at the notion that the barter swamping normal money relations within Russia is simply monetary policy gone awry. Before one can rightly focus on the battle over monetary policy and who profits from it, first comes the need for "monetary consolidation" -- the process by which the state establishes sovereign control over money and its functions. Russia finds itself in its current pickle not because it is populated with myopic reformers, hidebound local politicians, and crooked businesspeople, but because so little has been done to create the essential relationship between money and the state. In a creative use of political sociology, Woodruff provides a highly original explanation for the rise of barter in Russia's new capitalism -- and an intriguing description of the current political battle lines surrounding it. But his analytical framework offers little basis for determining which approach in this battle is likely to prevail.