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At 17:19 +0100 22-04-2000, Fred B. Moseley wrote:
>P.S. Riccardo, please send me the references to the Schumpeter passages
>that you mentioned. Thanks.
This is Schumpeter's on money, and I agree with this position entirely:
"I am taking for granted that theoretical metallism is untenable, i.e. that
it is not true that as a matter of pure logic, money essentially consists
in, or must be backed by, a commodity or several commodities whose exchange
value as cmmodities are the logical basis of their value as money. THE
ERROR INVOLVED CONSISTS IN A CONFUSION BETWEEN THE HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF
MONEY - which in very many cases, although perhaps not universally, may
INDEED be found in the fact that some some commodities, being particularly
salable, come to be used as a medium of exchange - AND ITS NATURE OR LOGIC
- WHICH IS ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT OF THE COMMODITY CHARACTER OF ITS MATERIAL.
This type of error occurs very frequently in all fields of social analysis,
especially in its early stages: it requires considerable analytic
experience to perceive that primitive forms of social institutions may be
more complex than modern ones and that they may hide, rather than reveal,
History of Economic Analysis, p. 289-290
But this of course is a recurring them of JAS (I could found other similar
passages in most of his more famous writings).
Note, this position is different from the PostKeynesian's one who rather
prefer to see the historical origin of money in non-commodity money.
I take the last phrase as particularly enlighting, and putting forward a
position repeatedly held by Marx himself.
Interested readers should absolutely consult his (posthumous and
incomplete) Treatise on Money, published partially in German in 1970 as
Das Wesen des Geldes. It has been translated in Italian, and afterwards
there has also been a translation in Italian of other three chapters of
this Treatise which were found in the Harvard Archives. So, I was lucky
enough to read this material.
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