[OPE-L:1318] Re: Gold, The Universal Equivalent & Rent

Paul_Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 07:18:50 -0800

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2. Must the money commodity or the universal equivalent
be produced by a sector that produces rent or is a
natural monopoly? History seems to say that this must
be the case. Logic?

To be a good money commodity, something should
be durable, have a high value density, and
have a relatively stable value.

Durablility essentially rules out highly valuable
vegetable products like saffron. Stability of value
rules out most manufactured durables, since the
progress of the arts tends to depress their values.

We are then left with mineral products, and ones
which are systematically hard to extract to ensure
their high value density. This implies elements
which are comparatively rare. Durability favours
unreactive elements - silver, gold, platinum,
rhubidium etc, and stable isotopes. Plutonium
has a high value density, but is hard to handle.

The natural processes which concentrate such
elements are random and produce a spectrum of
ores of different concentrations. This implies
the preconditions for rent of mines.