[OPE-L:1883] RE: electronic money

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 16:24:03 -0700

[ show plain text ]

Chai-on writes:

If money is simply a non-commodity, and is able to be substituted with =
an electronic unit, the money can only function as the means of =
exchange. In sofar as the means of exchange is concerned, it need not =
have any intrinsic value. But it requires that every agent in the =
exchange should be neither in a debit nor in a credit. One cannot keep =
on accumulating the monetary units. Since the monetary units are =
naught, it is stupid enough to accumulate the naught units in exchange =
for one's own labour products.


1. Money is not 'SIMPLY a non-commodity', it is a key category of capitalism.
(For my approach, the sole autonomous manifestation of the value-form.) Less
abstractly it is defined by the unity of its well known functions including
universal equivalent and store of value (as well as means of exchange). What is
under discussion here is what, if anything, is the systemically necessary
connection between money and commodity (given commodity-money had an
uncontroversial historical role in the evolution of capitalist money).

2. The electronic signals in my various bank accounts act perfectly adequately
as stores of value. I fully expect to be able to use them to purchase
commodities at some future date. This confidence is not undermined by the use of
electronic media - it depends on my trust in the banks, supported by insurance,
(self)-regulation, various legal provisions, etc, etc., and very little on the
banks' deposits with the Bank of England, and not at all on the Bank's stock of
bullion. So, I guess I am not stupid in accumulating monetary units for future
purchases - which could in principle involve investment in equity, or even
down-payment on my very own capitalist firm, should I come over all

3. I don't think I understand the point about every transactor being in balance
... ? I am sometimes in credit, sometimes in debt (and sometimes within the
terms of my implicit contract with the bank, and sometimes outside it) with each
individual institution, and overall. I can accumulate as much as I want in any
account, and if I exceed formal credit limits and/or any banks' tolerance of my
little idiosyncracies, they will simply refuse to allow further electronic
monetary units to be taken from my account in order to be credited to someone

In comradeship