Currencies, National Images and National Identities: Public Relations for and against Currencies – Historical Experiences from Germany, the Case of the Euro and the Role of Rating Agencies


  • Michael Kunczik Institute of Communications, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz


Euro, Currencies, National Identity, Public Relations, Rating Agencies


My thesis is that, in the “age of markets” in Europe the Euro is of central importance for creating (or destroying already established) structures of European identity (at least in parts of Europe – with Great Britain taking a very remote position). I emphasize the theoretical aspects (Aftalion´s Psychological Theory of Exchange Rates; Simmel: Philosophie des Geldes) to emphasize the importance of PR. I concentrate on historical cases – mainly German experiences – e.g. the campaign against the Rubel; the ideas of Ivy Lee; the PR-campaigns of the Nazi-government to fight inflation. The introduction of the German Mark (“die Deutsche Mark”), which became a central aspect of German national identity, and the campaign to give up this currency (“harte Währung”) in order to introduce the “weak” Euro. In this context I discuss campaigns against the Euro (“only idiots want the Euro”). In the final remarks I refer to the role of rating agencies and trust in currencies and countries. It is my thesis that the analysts of the rating agencies live in a “world of literary images” and are acting in a completely irresponsible way (but even more incompetent are the politicians accepting the ratings without knowing anything about the problem of commensuration).