How can a partial, revisable utopia of ‘decent society’ be used as a yardstick for assessing today’s impersonal forms of social integration? In economic life — this essay’s focus — Polanyi’s hopes that the ‘economic system’ might cease ‘to lay down the law to society’ is a start. Recently, financial firms sold commodified promises and obligations on the allure of democratizing credit and providing financial ‘choice’ to millions. Yet these ‘civilities’ exploited people’s hopes for a dignified life. Any new, partial utopia (as Keynes’s was too — to remove the egregious, humiliating features of ‘the society in which we live’) is yet to be devised. Maria Markus’s concept is useful to ask whether the instrumental-ism of macro-economic concepts is a distortion of the institutions of money or intrinsic to them. Could solidaristic compromises through civil society minimize disrespectful relationships embedded in money to create decent institutions?