[OPE-L:1881] Re: Definitions of value

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 15:27:04 -0700

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Now it became clear that your conception of money is simply about an =
instrument of calculation. Money itself also needs the instrument of =
calculation, however. And the monetary transaction itself requires the =
book-keeping of it. Your conception of money is far from the asset form
of money, isn't it? =20

Yes it is far from an asset conception.

Have you looked at Polanyi's account of the use of the Sheckle in
Babylonian trade? He shows that it functioned there as a unit of
account and standard of value, but there were no sheckle coins, it
was just a measure of weight of barley.

It is significant that this occured in Babylon, which, with its
sexagissimal number system had a system of calculation which, like
the modern Indian derived system, was of a purely symbolic rather
than operational character.

Money as precious metal coinage arose in Lydia, about the
7th century BC, and its tokenisation of gold, adapted it to
calculation using reckoning tables. The European number system,
what we now call the Roman number system, was a notation for
transcribing the state of reckoning tables and abbacuses, but
was ill suited to purely symbolic calculation. The view that
money was pre-eminently gold coin, is in my view a heritage of
Graeco Roman culture which combined an operational number system
with a decentralised economy based on private propietors and
lacking any general system of social accounting.