The Social Meaning of Money in Java

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In the Javanese community, there is a contradiction between the perception of and the practical use of money. Normatively, the Javanese community agrees that money is not only an economical tool, i.e. a tool of payment and unit of accounting, but also that it is a tool to compensate for many social obligations. To prevent deviant behavior such as hunger for money or greediness, the use of money should be based on social and religious norms. Nevertheless, there is a contradiction in doing so because money is not only utilized to satisfy economic needs, but is also utilized to free from many social obligations and sanctions. Through monetary compensation it is possible for individuals to neglect many social obligations. This, however, leads to social inequality because only the rich can free themselves from social obligations and sanctions. As a result, the use of nomey is no longer based on social norms, but on pragmatic needs. Money in Java has a dual reality. Rupiahs can be utilized for good and bad purposes. In short, money ceases to be a "tool of objectivation" because it is used to replace social relationships.