Knotty Financiers: A Comparative Take on Finance, Value, and Inequality

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This article argues for a larger comparative vision in the contemporary studies of finance, one that draws on financial practices observed in and theories developed from both capitalist and non-capitalist contexts. Much present-day ethnographic work on finance, due to specific analytic framing devices, has largely not considered why and how finance also occurs in non-capitalist contexts. In turn, the article compares Inka knot-record accounting to the accounting that occurs in present-day, private-equity led leveraged buyouts to show that people coercively use the same tools of abstraction in radically different cultural contexts. Moreover, this realization allows for better theorization of finance’s emergence and role in a given society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101205
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Finance
  • Comparison
  • Private equity
  • Inka

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