From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Apr 14 2005 - 09:41:52 EDT
Have you ever been struck by the Eurocentric nature of Marx's metallist treatment of money? It takes as given that money must be made of a precious metal. In doing this it ignores the history of money in China. There money had frequently been made entirely of base metals such as bronze and iron, and by the Song period one thousand years ago, even this had been in large measure replaced by printed paper currency. Given a large state with a professional salaried civil service it was quite feasible for the government to ensure that its money circulated by virtue of accepting it for tax payments. According to von Glahn chartalism, the principle that the value of money is determined by the monetary authority irrespective of the use value of the substance employed as money, was a fundamental tenet of classical Chinese monetary analysis. See von Glahn, Fountain of Fortune, pp. 23-47. This would make it seem that the predominance of metallist doctrines in Europe is a reflection of the long period of European barbarism and disunity between the fall of the Carolingian empire and the establishment of the EU. During this warring states period in Europe, states were small, and for much of the time lacked professional salaried civil services. There tax collecting apparatus was poor and they were not able to so effectively enforce the circulation of national coinage unless it was backed by gold that could be used in internal European trade between the petty states. This local and temporary historical phenomena is universalised in metallist doctrines.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Apr 17 2005 - 00:00:02 EDT