[OPE-L:300] Re: An odd fact brough to light by Duncan Foley's pos

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Fri, 20 Oct 1995 14:02:29 -0700

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Vis a vis money being a tax prepayment certificate:

This is an important factor, and one reason why we have
to discuss the nature of the state in an economic sense
before it is possible to systematically deal with modern
money. In saying that money is a tax pre-payment certificate,
one is only half way there. Money in the sense of state
issued notes, is the only form of tax that is allowed by
the modern state, tax in kind has effectively vanished.

Thus rather than representing a debt owed by the state,
it becomes the only way of discharging debts owed by the
subjects to the crown. It thus has an enforced circulation.
People who have to pay taxes are forced to produce commodities
or sell their labour to obtain the means to pay taxes. In this
form, the introduction of monetary taxes in west Africa by
the imperial powers was an important factor in accelerating
the penetration of commodity production and wage labour.
Similarly, if one has a private debt and offers to settle it
in state money, the creditor has no legal basis for refusing,
so that where state power is well established, state money
has an advantage in private debts also.

But these factors raise the question of how taxes are possible
in the first place. How is the state able to claim part of the
surplus product?

It also does not answer the question of what determines how much
value is represented by a Dmark or Franc?